Skilled in Aikido and stage combat, Susanna Thompson received a Dramatic Award for her role in “A Shayna Maidel” and a Best Actress nomination by the San Diego Critics Circle for her role in “Agnes of God.” On television, she played the roles of Varel, Inmate Jaya, and the Borg Queen on the "Star Trek" series. She also co-starred in the TV series "Once and Again" (as Karen Sammler; 1999-2002), "The Book of Daniel" (as Judith Webster; 2006), and "Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service" (as Army Lt. Col. Hollis Mann; 2006-2007).
On the big screen, Thompson could be seen in the films "Slaughter of the Innocents" (1994), "When a Man Loves a Woman" (1994), "Little Giants" (1994), "Ghosts of Mississippi" (1996), "Random Hearts" (1999), "Dragonfly" (2002), "The Ballad of Jack and Rose" (2005), and "American Pastime" (2007).
Childhood and Family:
Born in San Diego, California, on January 27, 1958, Susanna Thompson earned her bachelor's degree in Drama from San Diego State University, which she attended through a drama scholarship. Her husband is currently a professor at San Diego State University. Thompson, who is skilled in Aikido and stage combat, is also a graduate of the Hoffman Institute's Quadrinity Process (HQP).
“I'm not sure why I do it. There are different elements in my life that led me to this space. I know that when I'm connected, I'm tapping into something in me and giving it back to the world in a really beautiful, honest way. If I'm breaking boundaries or pushing the boundaries of complete honesty, of going deeper with emotion and doing it honestly, I feel that I've connected and given something to this life of mine. Then I also feel that I’m sharing something with someone.” Susanna Thompson (on why decided to become an actor)
Becoming interested in acting while attending a poetry class, Susanna Thompson was encouraged to join a community theater by her fifth grade teacher, Mr. Connie Baucum. She continued acting in high school and worked as a shoe salesperson for Sears and as a hostess in a restaurant after graduation. She attended San Diego State University through a drama scholarship. As part of her undergraduate studies, Thompson appeared in Dogg's “Hamlet” and Cahoot's “Macbeth” under the co-direction of Tony Award-winning playwright Tom Stoppard.
In 1991, Thompson appeared in the pilot episode of CBS’ crime drama series "Silk Stalkings." In 1992 and 1993, she was cast to play Varel, a Romulan officer, and Inmate Jaya, a female Tilonian, on the syndicated sci-fi series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." During this time, she also appeared in the made-for-television movies "A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story" (1992; starring Meredith Baxter), "Calendar Girl, Cop, Killer? The Bambi Bembenek Story" (1992; starring Lindsay Frost), and "Ambush in Waco: In the Line of Duty" (1993; with Tim Daly, William O'Leary, and Neal McDonough) and was spotted as a guest in two episodes of ABC’s legal drama "Civil Wars," an episode of "Bodies of Evidence" and Fox's Peabody, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning science fiction television series starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, "The X Files."
In 1994, Thompson appeared in James Glickenhaus' thriller "Slaughter of the Innocents," Luis Mandoki's romantic drama "When a Man Loves a Woman" (starring Andy Garcia, Meg Ryan, and Philip Seymour Hoffman), and Duwayne Dunham's family comedy "Little Giants" (starring Rick Moranis and Ed O'Neill). She also guest starred in an episode of NBC’s legal drama "L.A. Law" and appeared in the TV movies "In the Line of Duty: The Price of Vengeance," "MacShayne: The Final Roll of the Dice" (starring Kenny Rogers in the title role), "Alien Nation: Dark Horizon," and "A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story," a biopic based on the life of the Olympic figure skater.
Thompson subsequently guest-starred in two episodes of ABC's Emmy Award-winning police drama "NYPD Blue" as well as in an episode of CBS' multi-Emmy Award winning western/dramatic series starring Jane Seymour, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman." She then appeared in the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" spin-off, "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," as Lenara Kahn. For the episode “Rejoined” (October 30, 1995) of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," Thompson drew controversy when she participated in same-sex kisses.
Susanna next acted in the made-for-television movies "America's Dream" (1996; with Danny Glover and Wesley Snipes), "Bermuda Triangle" (1996; alongside Naomi Watts), "In the Line of Duty: Blaze of Glory" (1997; opposite Lori Loughlin and Bruce Campbell), and "The Lake" (1998; with Yasmine Bleeth and Haley Joel Osment). Additionally, she guest starred in the short-lived ABC science-fiction series starring Debra Messing, "Prey," the crime drama starring Ice-T, Costas Mandylor, Frank John Hughes, and Mia Korf, "Players," CBS' police procedural drama starring David Caruso, "Michael Hayes," and CBS’ medical drama "Chicago Hope."
From 1999 to 2000, Susanna played the antagonist Borg Queen on UPN's "Star Trek: Voyager." She got the role only because Alice Krige, who played the role in the movie “Star Trek: First Contact” (1996), refused to reprise her role. For the final episode, Krige returned to play the Borg Queen because Thompson was not available since she was shooting the ABC drama series "Once and Again" (1999-2002), in which she co-starred as Billy Campbell's uptight ex-wife Karen. On the big screen, she could be seen alongside Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, and James Woods, in the Rob Reiner-directed drama film "Ghosts of Mississippi" (1996) and Sydney Pollack's film adaptation of Warren Adler's 1984 novel, "Random Hearts" (1999; starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas).
After a guest spot in an episode of the short-lived Fox fantasy series "Roar" and the CBS anthology series "The Twilight Zone," as well as a co-starring role opposite Tom Skerritt in the Western drama TV movie "High Noon" (2000), Thompson co-starred with Kevin Costner in Tom Shadyac's box office flop "Dragonfly" (2002).
Talking about her favorite scene in “Dragonfly” (2002), Thompson said, "My favorite scene was cut from the movie, but it's this beautiful stethoscope scene where Joe and Emily are both lying in bed listening to the baby's heartbeat. It's just beautifully sensual in a beautifully full pregnant state, aesthetically feminine and loving, with two people totally connected. I also loved the scene when he's trying to convince her not to go. It established the fiery part of who she is, so committed to living this life that she's chosen.
In 2005, Thompson co-starred in the unaired pilot "Still Life," with Bryce Johnson, Jensen Ackles, Morena Baccarin, and David Keith, played Dr. Kate Ewing on the NBC medical drama "Medical Investigation," and guest-starred in an episode of ABC’s comedy series starring John Stamos, "Jake in Progress." She also appeared in the films "The Ballad of Jack and Rose," a family drama by Rebecca Miller starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Camilla Belle, and "Hello," a 19-minute short comedy by John Helde in which she starred with Eric Stoltz.
From 2006 to 2007, Thompson played Army Lt. Col. Hollis Mann on the CBS Emmy-nominated police procedural drama series "Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service" and co-starred in the short-lived, controversial NBC drama series "The Book of Daniel" (2006). About offending people on “The Book of Daniel,” Thompson commented, “I just personally believe that there's a bigger audience out there than the extremes and I think that the offending is where the dialogue starts, where at least you can have halfway-decent conversations about what's going on.”
Thompson also guest-starred in a 2006 episode of CBS’ cop/crime drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and CBS’ FBI drama "Without a Trace." In 2007, she appeared alongside Gary Cole in Desmond Nakano's dramatic film set in the Topaz War Relocation Center, "American Pastime," and in the miniseries "The Gathering," a thriller featuring Peter Gallagher, Peter Fonda, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Jenna Boyd.
Thompson also displays her talent on the stage. She received a Dramalogue Award for her role of Luisa in "A Shayna Maidel" and was nominated for Best Actress by the San Diego Critics Circle for her role of Agnes in "Agnes of God."
Dramatic: "A Shayna Maidel"