Martin Thompson was born in Virginia, although only lived there for six weeks; his father was in the Navy, so the family moved often. His mother was a Peabody trained lyric soprano, who came from a family of singers and musicians. He spent a good part of his formative years in California, Florida and North Carolina, returning to Virginia to continue his education at high school. He later studied at East Carolina University, where he was awarded a BA in Theatre. He studied for two years at HB Studios in New York under Uta Hagen and Hal Holden.He has two children; a son, Steven and a daughter, Kathleen.