Moving between dramatic and comedic roles, Lea Thompson has established a career that encompasses film, television, and theatre. She is best known as Michael J Fox’s Mom in BACK TO THE FUTURE I, II, and III; as the title character in the syndicated series CAROLINE IN THE CITY, for which she won TV Guide and People’s Choice Awards; and as Kathryn Kennish in ABC Family’s ground breaking Peabody Award winning series, SWITCHED AT BIRTH.
A native of Minnesota, Thompson began her career as a professional ballet dancer and performed in more than 45 ballets with the Minnesota Dance Theatre. Her first taste of professional theatre was with the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, in “Madeline and the Gypsies” and “The Little Mermaid.” After apprenticing with the Pennsylvania Ballet, she moved to New York at age 20 to pursue an acting career. She was first featured in a supporting role in the motion picture JAWS 3-D with Dennis Quaid, followed by a starring role opposite Tom Cruise in ALL THE RIGHT MOVES. Her film career took off after that with the BTTF films, RED DAWN, and the now infamous HOWARD THE DUCK. She met her future husband when he directed her in the John Hughes’ film, SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. Other memorable films include ARTICLE 99, CASUAL SEX?, DENNIS THE MENACE, THE WIZARD OF LONLELINESS, SPACE CAMP, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, THE LITTLE RASCALS, THE UNKNOWN CYCLIST, FISH DON’T BLINK, EXIT SPEED, MAYOR CUPCAKE (which featured her two daughters as well), SPLINTERHEADS with Thomas Middleditch, THIN ICE with Greg Kinnear, THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH with John Shea, Clint Eastwood’s J. EDGAR, PING PONG SUMMER with Susan Sarandon, LEFT BEHIND as Nicolas Cage's wife, as well as soon to be released STARS ARE ALREADY DEAD and THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT. Lea is currently in production directing and acting in THE YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN, written by and starring her daughters.
Thompson’s television highlights include the Showtime original movie THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT; NBC’s made-for television movies THE UNSPOKEN TRUTH, THE SUBSTITUTE WIFE, GAME OF YOUR LIFE, and the miniseries, A Will OF THEIR OWN with Thomas Gibson; TNT’s original movies, MONTANA and NIGHTBREAKER with Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen, for which she received a CableACE nomination; HBO’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT, and USA’s STEALING CHRISTMAS with Tony Danza. For Lifetime, Thompson starred in STOLEN BABIES with Mary Tyler Moore, THE DEBBIE SMITH STORY/A LIFE INTERRUPTED, LOVE AT THE CHRISTMAS TABLE, and the sequel to the award winning Lifetime anthology FIVE titled, CALL ME CRAZY: A FIVE FILM. Lea was also featured in the Lifetime series, INTIMATE PORTRAITS. Her NBC series CAROLINE IN THE CITY was must-see TV for four years, followed by the Lifetime series FOR THE PEOPLE. She starred in the Hallmark Channel Mystery Film series, JANE DOE, as well as directing two of the films. Also for the Hallmark Channel, she starred in FINAL APPROACH, a miniseries with Dean Cain, and THE CABIN, which filmed in Ireland. Notable television guest spots include FRIENDS, THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW, ED, LAW AND ORDER: SVU, GREEK, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, ROBOT CHICKEN, A TO Z, and a recent cameo on THE MUPPETS. She is currently working on a new Disney animated series called PENN ZERO: PART-TIME HERO. For UP TV, Lea starred in MY MOTHER’S FUTURE HUSBAND. She was a contestant on DANCING WITH THE STARS on ABC, dancing her way through 9 long weeks in season 19 She has been on SWITCHED AT BIRTH for ABC Family, moving into their fifth season, and has directed several episodes as well.
Theatre highlights include “Bus Stop” at the Pasadena Playhouse; Tony Kushner’s “The Illusion” for the Los Angeles Theatre Center; “Long Time Coming” at the Powerhouse Theatre; “Charlie Bacon’s Family” at the John Drew Theatre in East Hampton; and “The Trip Back Down” at the Actors’ Repertory Theatre. Her personal favorite was as Sally Bowles in both the National Tour and the Broadway Studio 54
production of Sam Mendes’ revival of “Cabaret.” Thompson has performed “The Vagina Monologues,” the Los Angeles Reprise Series of “I Love My Wife” with Jason Alexander, and was the title character in “Caroline in Jersey” (no relation to “Caroline in the City”) at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.
Lea can often be seen performing for charity functions around Los Angeles, including cancer research’s What A Pair, the Alzheimer’s Association, the WeSpark Foundation and various mental health organizations, to name a few. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 26 years, film/television director Howard Deutch, their two very talented daughters, Madelyn and Zoey Deutch, and a menagerie of dogs, a cat, a parrot, loads of fish and chickens, and several horses, whew!