Lea Thompson is an American actress and director best known for her starring role as Caroline Duffy in the television sitcom Caroline in the City (1995-2000) and her role as Lorraine Baines McFly, Marty McFly's mother, in the Back to the Future film trilogy.
She also stars as Kathryn Kennish in the family drama television 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 in the 1970's.
After apprenticing with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Lea moved to New York at the age of 20 to pursue an acting career. She was first featured in a supporting role in the motion picture Jaws 3-D, with Dennis Quaid which was followed by a starring role opposite Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves.
Additional film credits include Article 99, Casual Sex?, John Hughes' Some Kind of Wonderful and Dennis the Menace, Red Dawn, The Wizard of Loneliness, Howard the Duck, The Wild Life, Space Camp, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Little Rascals, The Unknown Cyclist, Fish Don't Blink, Come Away Home, California Dreaming, Spy School, Splinterheads, Exit Speed, Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer, Mayor Cupcake (which featured her two daughters as well), The Convincer, The Trouble with the Truth, and Clint Eastwood's Hooper.
Thompson's television credits include the Showtime original movie, The Right to Remain Silent; two NBC made-for television movies, The Unspoken Truth, and The Substitute Wife, and the miniseries, A Will of Their Own, with Thomas Gibson; TNT's original movies, Montana, and Nightbreaker, for which she received a CableACE nomination; an episode of HBO's Tales From the Crypt; USA's Stealing Christmas; and the recently aired ION original film, The Christmas Clause.
Also, for Lifetime, Thompson starred with Mary Tyler Moore in Stolen Babies, and The Debbie Smith Story/A Life Interrupted. Lea's life and accomplishments have been featured in the Lifetime series of Intimate Portraits.
She starred in the NBC series, Caroline in the City and the Lifetime series For the People. She also starred in the Hallmark Channel Mystery Film series Jane Doe, and directed two of the episodes, her first directorial achievements.
Also for the Hallmark Channel, Lea starred in Final Approach, a mini-series with Dean Cain, and also starred in The Cabin which was filmed in Ireland.
Notable television guest spots include Friends, The Larry Sanders Show, Ed, Law and Order: SVU and Greek.
Her theatre work includes 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 Actor's Repertory Theatre.
Undoubtedly, the highlight for Lea was when she performed the role of Sally Bowles in both the National Tour and the Broadway Studio 54 production of Sam Mendes' revival of Cabaret, moving on to a stint back in L.A. of The Vagina Monologues.
She also performed a musical theatre workshop in New York entitled, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, and in the Reprise Series here in Los Angeles with Jason Alexander in I Love My Wife.
Lea played the title character in the debut of Caroline In Jersey (no relation to Caroline in The City) at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.
Lea can often be seen performing for various charity functions around Los Angeles such as What A Pair, the Alzheimer's Association, the WeSpark Foundation, and the Schleroderma Foundation, to name a few.
Thompson lives in Los Angeles with her husband, film director Howard Deutch, their two daughters, Zoey and Madelyn, and a veritable menagerie of dogs, a cat, a parrot, loads of fish and several horses.