Early lifeBy the age of 7, she was singing and playing the guitar on stage. When she and her family moved out west to San Jose, she appeared on the Hometown Hayride TV program. During World War II, she worked at a defense plant. She married when she was 17, and had a daughter at 20, but the marriage failed and she and her husband split up after three years. To keep supporting herself after her divorce, she returned to the nightclub scene in California. In San Jose, she won a talent contest, thus catching the attention of bandleader and radio/TV host Dude Martin. Martin invited Thompson to sing with his band, and that led to their marriage. They recorded duets together, including "If You Want Some Lovin'", which helped her get a solo contract from Mercury Records in 1950.Recording careerWithin only a year, she had divorced Martin to marry Hank Penny, a comedian and singer. Penny and Thompson hosted a TV show in Los Angeles together before eventually moving to Las Vegas. Thompson recorded separately and also with her husband for Decca Records. However, none of their songs ever gained any real success. In 1960, Thompson signed on with Hickory Records. In 1961, "Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)" became a No. 5 hit on the pop charts, and she followed this up successfully with "Norman," which reached No. 3. Both of these hit singles were written by songwriter John D. Loudermilk. They both sold over one million copies, and were awarded with gold discs.In 1962, "Have a Good Time" was a Top 40 hit and in 1963, "Willie Can" was a minor hit. Her early 1960s' hits made Thompson, then in her mid-thirties, a favorite among the teenage crowd and briefly a rival to the much younger Connie Francis and Brenda Lee. Two additional hits, also written by Loudermilk, were "James (Hold the Ladder Steady)" and "Paper Tiger."Later career"Paper Tiger" in 1965 was her last Top 30 hit. In the late 1960s, she went back to country music and released the album This Is Sue Thompson Country in 1969. In 1971 she worked with country music singer Don Gibson on some albums, and they had minor hits with "I Think They Call It Love," "Good Old Fashioned Country Love," and "Oh, How Love Changes." She recorded further solo singles for the country charts, like "Big Mable Murphy," which made the Top 50 in 1975 and "Never Naughty Rosie," her last chart single in 1976. She also performed mainly at the Las Vegas casinos and at clubs in Hollywood, like the Palomino Club. In the 1990s, she settled in Las Vegas, and continues to periodically perform.