Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson's confident screen presence helped to make her a major screen talent in the late 2010s, with starring roles in such critically and box office hits as "Selma" (2014), "Creed" (2015), "Thor: Ragnarok" (2017) and "Sorry to Bother You" (2018). Born Tessa Lynn Thompson on October 3, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, she hailed from a musical family - her father was Marc Anthony Thompson, founder of the neo-soul collective Chocolate Genius, Inc., and her maternal grandfather was rumba bandleader and television host Bobby Ramos - and divided her childhood between Los Angeles and New York City. She began acting as a student at Santa Monica High School, and focused on a degree in cultural anthropology at Santa Monica College while continuing to perform on stages across Los Angeles. These included a 2005 performance in "Romeo and Juliet" for the Boston Court Theatre in Pasadena that earned an NAACP theater nomination. That same year, Thompson made her screen acting debut in an episode of the CBS crime drama "Cold Case," which was soon followed by series regular work in the second season of "Veronica Mars" (UPN/CW, 2004-07) as Jackie Cook, a potential love interest for Percy Daggs III's crime-solving Wallace Fennell. From there, she worked steadily on television, including recurring roles on "Heroes" (NBC, 2006-2010, 2015) , "Detroit 1-8-7" (ABC, 2010-11) and the Tom Fontana/Barry Levinson period crime series "Copper" (BBC America, 2012-13); feature work during this period included a lead in Tina Mabry's powerful "Mississippi Damned" (2009), with Thompson as a rural Southern girl subjected to terrible abuse, the dance drama "Make It Happen" (2008) and Tyler Perry's adaptation of "For Colored Girls" (2010). She earned her big break as the star of Justin Simien's "Dear White People" (2014), playing a college radio host whose social observations roil the white, conservative students and faculty at a fictitious university. The critical praise afforded to her performance led to more substantive roles, including civil rights activist Diane Nash in Ava DuVernay's "Selma" (2014), as Michael B. Jordan's independent-minded love interest in "Creed" (2015), and as Delos Board member Charlotte Hale on HBO's "Westworld" (2016- ).The following year, Thompson was seen by millions in Marvel Studios' "Thor: Ragnarok" (2017), playing a flinty slave trader who imprisons and later befriends Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder. A box office hit, "Thor" helped to mint Thompson as a star, and she parlayed her fame into starring roles in indie fare like the Western "Little Woods" (2018) and the critically acclaimed satire "Sorry to Bother You" (2018) and mainstream fare like the science fiction thriller "Annihilation" (2018) and "Creed II" (2018).