Lea Katherine Thompson (born May 31, 1961) is an American actress, television director, and television producer. She is best known for her role as Lorraine Baines in the Back to the Future trilogy and as the title character in the 1990s NBC sitcom Caroline in the City. Other films she is known for include All the Right Moves, The Beverly Hillbillies, Howard the Duck, Jaws 3-D, Red Dawn, and Some Kind of Wonderful. Since 2011 she has co-starred as Kathryn Kennish in the ABC Family series Switched at Birth.
Thompson was born in Rochester, Minnesota, one of five children of Clifford and Barbara Barry Thompson. Her mother is of Irish descent.
She studied ballet as a girl and danced professionally by the age of 14, winning scholarships to the American Ballet Theatre, the San Francisco Ballet, and the Pennsylvania Ballet. Feeling she was not tall enough to become a prima ballerina, she changed her focus to acting. Moving to New York at age 20, she performed in a number of Burger King advertisements in the 1980s along with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Elisabeth Shue, her eventual co-star in Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III...
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