Tessa Lynne Thompson (born October 3, 1983) is an American actress and musician.
She played Jackie Cook on the television series Veronica Mars, Sara Freeman in the period crime drama Copper, Nyla Adrose in the film For Colored Girls, civil rights activist Diane Nash in Selma, Samantha White in Dear White People, and Bianca in Creed. She currently stars as Charlotte Hale on the HBO series Westworld.
Thompson made her first TV appearance in a 2005 episode of the CBS series Cold Case in the role of a bootlegging lesbian from the 1930s. In the same year, she rose to fame as she landed on the role of Jackie Cook on the UPN/CW neo-noir drama series Veronica Mars, starring as a series regular for the show’s second season. In 2006, she appeared on the ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.
In 2007, she was a part of the cast on the CW’s short-lived drama Hidden Palms, portraying Nikki Barnes. She worked on guest star roles on Life and Private Practice, and appeared in the fourth season of Heroes.
666 Park Avenue
When a Stranger Calls
In 2010, she had a guest role as the wife of a detective on Detroit 187. In 2012, she had a guest role as Gavin Doran’s daughter, Sasha, on 666 Park Avenue. In 2013, she starred in BBC America’s first original series Copper. In 2016 she had a guest role in three episodes of Westworld.
Thompson’s first feature film appearance was in the 2006 remake of the horror film When a Stranger Calls playing the role of Scarlet. Thompson was next seen opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the dancing film Make it Happen in 2008.
In 2010, Thompson appeared in Tyler Perry’s stage play adaptation For Colored Girls after she directly approached Perry to be cast in the film. In 2014, she starred in Justin Simien’s Sundance winner Dear White People, and played civil rights activist Diane Nash in Ava DuVernay’s Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma. In 2015, she appeared in Ryan Coogler’s Rocky spin-off-sequel film Creed. Also in 2015, she appeared in Nate Ruess short film The Grand Romantic. In April 2016, it was announced that Thompson had been cast in the upcoming superhero film Thor: Ragnarok set for release on November 3, 2017. In May 2016, Thompson was revealed to be portraying Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok.