Lea Thompson is easily best known for starring in the Back to the Future trilogy opposite Michael J. Fox. Who could forget high schooler Marty McFly going back in time and meeting his parents? And his mom, well, hitting on him. Thompson was adorable and hilarious in the franchise, and quickly became an instant Hollywood star of the '80s. For the people who are die-hard Hallmark fans, you'll also recall that in addition to big blockbuster films and TV shows, Thompson has also starred in various movies on the Hallmark Channel including her own mystery series.
She's an '80s icon who can sing, dance, act, direct, and do pretty much anything else you might throw at her. Is there anything not to like about Lea Thompson? It seems like she just gets more and more likable every year.
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The Early Years
Growing up in Minnesota, young Lea Thompson didn't have dreams of becoming an actress, but a ballet dancer. In fact, by the time she was just 14 years old, she was such a gifted dancer she had scholarship offers to major ballet companies all over the country. When she was 20 years old she found herself in New York City where ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov brought her dancing dreams to a halt. Despite the fact that she had been training for years, even apprenticing at the Pennsylvania Ballet, he was not impressed. He told her that she was "too stocky" to join his company, effectively ending her career as a dancer. Though it was devastating at the time, Thompson shifted her focus to acting and credits Baryshnikov for her successful career.
We can thank him too...can you imagine anyone else playing Lorraine in Back to the Future?
Thompson quickly started booking films right and left, including Jaws 3-D, All the Right Moves, Red Dawn and The Wild Life. Within just a few years of launching her acting career, she landed the role of Lorraine Baines-McFly in Back to the Future and became a household name. Spacecamp, Howard the Duck and Some Kind of Wonderful followed, as well as two Back to the Future sequels — Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III. The '90s led to even more film roles in family comedies like Dennis the Menace, The Little Rascals and The Beverly Hillbillies, as well as her own NBC sitcom, Caroline in the City.
Just two years after meeting director Howard Deutch on the set of Some Kind of Wonderful, the couple tied the knot and had two daughters together — Madelyn Deutch and Zoey Deutch. Zoey looks like a young clone of her mother and has her own successful acting career right now...she's easily one of the fastest rising stars in Hollywood. The Deutch family is incredibly close, which is evident in any interview Thompson gives with her daughters. They even frequently make independent films together!
Throughout her career, Thompson has always been busy and marches to the beat of her own drum. Her film repertoire includes a wide variety, from Oscar contenders to action films, Hallmark, and indies — J. Edgar, Exit Speed, Left Behind, Casual Sex, Mayor Cupcake, The Year of Spectacular Men, Little Women, Ping Pong Summer and The Wizard of Loneliness to name a few. She's also kept active in her TV roles starring in the ABC Family series Switched at Birth as well as appearances on The Goldbergs, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero and Tales from the Crypt; she even competed on Dancing with the Stars.
Her ballet days are long behind her, but Thompson has appeared in numerous theater productions over the years, including the Broadway Studio 54 production of Cabaret as well as The Vagina Monologues in Los Angeles. Her career is eclectic, but she likes it that way.
"I really like doing different things—sometimes I think to my detriment," Thompson explained to CableFax.
"When I was a dancer, I did all kinds of styles of dance, so I think that bled over to my whole artistic life. I like doing dramas. I like doing musicals. I feel blessed that I've been able to do that, because sometimes people try to pigeonhole you into one kind of style. So I've been really lucky."
Hallmark and Christmas
Starting in 2005, Thompson appeared in a series of nine Jane Doe mystery films on the Hallmark Channel. Jane Doe followed soccer mom Cathy Davis who is secretly Jane Doe, an agent for the Central Security Agency who solves crime in her spare time. They were one of my all time favorite mystery series on Hallmark so I highly recommend revisiting them.
Throughout her notable career, Thompson has appeared in over 25 TV films, including a few Christmas movies — Stealing Christmas with Tony Danza, The Christmas Clause, and the Lifetime film Love at the Christmas Table.
This year, Hallmark reunited Thompson with her old Back to the Future co-star, Christopher Lloyd, forever beloved as Doc Brown in the trilogy. Coincidentally (or maybe well-played by Hallmark), Next Stop, Christmas follows a young woman who finds herself on a time-traveling train led by a quirky conductor (Lloyd). She relives a past Christmas with her family (Thompson plays her mother) and discovers the meaning of the season. Thompson had fun with the reunion and enjoyed working on a holiday film again for the first time in years.
"I haven't done a Christmas movie in a very long time," she explained to MediaVillage.
"So, it was time! I love the holidays, plus I have so many friends who love [these movies] and just live on them this time of the year. I thought, 'I better do one so they can see me,' because with everything, they haven't seen me in a while."
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