Thompson won the Tony in 1972 for her performance in Twigs. Among her many other Broadway credits are Juno, The Death of Bessie Smith, Saturday Sunday Monday, and Any Given Day.
Her career began Off-Broadway where she appeared in the original reading of Dylan Thomas' Under Milkwood. Thompson's other Off-Broadway credits include Moliere's The Misanthrope, Chekov's Ivanov, Beckett's Happy Days, and Paul ZIndel's The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon-Marigolds.
Regionally and internationally, she was seen in such works as Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, as well as Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes in London, opposite Elizabeth Taylor.
Thompson won an Emmy and received three additional nominations for her portrayal of the matriarch on the drama Family. She received additional Emmy nominations for performances in the miniseries Lincoln and Indictment: The McMartin Trial, and adaptations of the stage plays The Entertainer and Our Town, as well as the sitcom Cheers.
Thompson is survived by her husband, her brother and a daughter.