Atias was born in Haifa, Israel, to parents of Moroccan Jewish descent. She appeared on the youth television programme Out of Focus at age 15, although her plan to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces was frustrated by a diagnosis of meningitis at age 17. She pursued modelling, instead, in Germany and then Italy, where she was discovered and became a model for Roberto Cavalli.
In Italy, she was nominated by the City of Milan to be the official spokeswoman leading the campaigns against graffiti and animal cruelty for 2005–06 in the city. Following her success abroad, Atias was cast in the Israeli "Strauss" commercial and chosen to lead the "Renuar" campaign
Atias first appeared on television when she was 15, starring in the Israeli youth programme Out of Focus. By the age of 17, she went to Germany to launch her modelling career which then led her to Italy, where she was discovered by Roberto Cavalli who selected her to be his home model.She also modelled for D&G, and for BBG jewellers. Later, she was the hostess of a popular television talk programme in Italy. After establishing herself as a model, she was encouraged to pursue a career in acting.She won roles in films in English, Italian, Hebrew and Spanish and was nominated for Best Actress at Festival Sguardo al Femminile for her role in Days of Love.
Her work in these films led to her being cast in the Italian feature Gas in which she played a provocative drug addict tasked with seducing a gay drug addict. She followed that up with the romantic comedy Oggi Sposi, directed by Luca Luncini and Mother of Tears, the third and the final installment of Dario Argento's supernatural horror trilogy The Three Mothers. Mother of Tears premièred at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival and the Rome Film Festival.
In 2008, she was cast in the role of the illegal immigrant 'Inez' in the drama series Crash, based on Paul Haggis's Oscar-winning film. After one season, she became the female lead opposite Dennis Hopper. Working with Haggis led to her being cast in his film The Next Three Days.
In 2011, Atias worked with Cynthia Mort on the television project Radical, playing to role of 'Ana' which Mort had written specifically for her. She was cast in the critically acclaimed Israeli television series Allenby in 2012, where she played 'Mika,' an ex-orthodox Jewish girl who avoids her childhood secret while living a complex nightlife. She also served as a producer and worked to adapt it into a United States series. She was cast in the new FX series Tyrant by the creators of the successful television series Homeland by creator and fellow Israeli, Gideon Raff.
Her work on the film The Next Three Days led to Third Person, a project that Atias pitched and helped develop with Paul Haggis. She was chosen to play to role of 'Monika,' an Albanian gypsy. To prepare for the role, she lived in Italy for four months and immersed herself in the gypsy lifestyle, living without the basics of running water or electricity. She studied with Michael Margota at the Italian Actor's Studio to perfect the Italian and Albanian accents. She also served as a co-producer and a co-consultant for the script. The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
Atias participated in the Artists for Justice and Peace volunteer mission with Sean Penn following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, in which she assisted the evacuation of refugees to Florida. During her second trip to Haiti, she took part in a workshop at Cine Institute in Jacmel. She is a goodwill ambassador for IsraAid.
In May 2010, she worked with Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) and hosted and organized a charity event at Cannes Film Festival. In November 2010, she hosted and organized a charity event for APJ in New York, with proceeds going to the first free high school for the children of the slums of Haiti.
Year Film/television series/video game Role Director Note
2009 Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 – Uprising Commander Vera Belova Video Game
2005 Days of Love Menachem Golan Giuseppe De Santis, Leopoldo Savona Pre-Production, (English/Hebrew Theatrical Versions) Israel
Mercy Yaniv Hamodai Buzz Productions, Israel
Supper Club Italian Sitcom, Rai Uno
Gas Monica Luciano Melchionna Italy
2006 The Roses of the Desert Aisha Mario Monicelli
Kavod Haim Buzaglo Israel
2007 The Mother of Tears Mater Lachrymarum Dario Argento
2009 Oggi sposi Alopa Luca Luncini Italy
Land of The Lost Pakuni Woman Brad Silberling
2010 The Next Three Days Erit Paul Haggis
2012 Crazy Eyes Ex Adam Sherman
2013 The Third Person Monika Paul Haggis
2014 Tyrant Leila Al-Fayeed Gideon Raff
Kdam Eurovision (2005) – First Channel, Israel
Deal or No Deal
Game programme (13 total), (2005) – Channel 10, Israel
"Cinderella" Biographical documentary of Moran Atias, prime time (2004) – Channel 10, Israel
(2008) – Crash, a Starz network series, recurring cast (2009) – Crash, a Starz network series, series two regular cast (2010) – CSI: NY, guest star (2011) – Rules of Engagement episode "Anniversary Chicken", guest star (Sophia) (2011) – White Collar (Christie)
Italian television programmes as sidekick
"Carramba Che Fortuna" – RaiUno, Italy (2000)
"Superconvenscion" – RaiDue, Italy (2000–01)
"Italiani" – Canale 5, Italy (2001)
"Matricole & Meteore" – Italia 1, Italy (2003)
"I Raccomandati" – RaiUno, Italy (2003–04)
"Natalino Balasso Show" – Italia 1, Italy (2004–05)
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m) is an American actress. She is known for her role as Teresa Lisbon in the television series The Mentalist (2008–present), as well as previous roles in the films Encino Man (1992), Empire Records (1995), The Craft (1996), End of Days (1999), Supernova and Vertical Limit (2000), and the television series Prison Break (2005–2006)
Tunney was born in Chicago, Illinois to a car salesman father, and a bartender mother.Tunney is Irish American; her father was born in Straide, County Mayo, Ireland, while her maternal grandparents were from Clare Island. Tunney grew up in Orland Park, a southwest suburb of Chicago. She was raised Roman Catholic, attended Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park and the Chicago Academy for the Arts in Chicago, and resided in Palos Heights, also in the Chicago area. She is a cousin of Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney.
At the age of 19, Tunney moved to Los Angeles, California and obtained several recurring television roles on Class of '96, Law & Order, Dream On, and Life Goes On. She gave her breakthrough performance as a suicidal teenager in Empire Records and attracted further attention by playing a witch in The Craft.
In 1997, Tunney starred in (her husband at the time) Bob Gosse's Niagara, Niagara with Henry Thomas in a performance which garnered her the Best Actress award Volpi Cup at the 1997 Venice International Film Festival. Tunney also was featured opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1999 supernatural action film End of Days.
She starred in the pilot episode of House as a kindergarten teacher who collapses before her class and descends into aphasia; she was credited as a "special guest star". She portrayed Veronica Donovan on the first season of Prison Break, credited third after two main characters, and left the show after the premiere episode of the second season. She had a minor role in the film August released on July 11, 2008. Tunney is currently starring opposite Simon Baker in the CBS drama series The Mentalist, playing Teresa Lisbon.
Tunney married producer and director Bob Gosse on October 4, 1997 they divorced in 2006. In 2009, Tunney was engaged to Australian writer and director Andrew Dominik but they called off their engagement by August 2010. Tunney became engaged to interior designer Nicky Marmet on December 25, 2012 while on vacation in Rio de Janeiro.
On June 28, 2006, Tunney won the fifth table of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown's eighth season, finishing ahead of Christopher Meloni, Macy Gray, Joy Behar, and Andy Dick, moving on to the final cut. The finale aired on July 5, 2006, where she competed against Jason Alexander, Michael Ian Black, Ida Siconolfi, and Keegan-Michael Key. Tunney came in second, behind Alexander. She played for The Children's Health Fund, which received $200,000 for her efforts. In August 2006, Tunney played in the World Series of Poker after having her entrance fee covered by the online cardroom PokerRoom.com.
Film and television Year Title Role Notes
1992 Encino Man Ella
1992 Perry Mason: The Case of Reckless Romeo Sandra Turner TV movie
1993 JFK: Reckless Youth Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy TV movie
1993 Cutters Deborah TV series
1994 Law & Order Jill Templeton Episode: "Mayhem"
1995 Empire Records Debra
1996 The Craft Sarah Bailey
1996 Riders of the Purple Sage Elizabeth 'Bess' Erne, Oldring's Masked Rider/Daughter
1997 Julian Po Sarah
1997 Niagara, Niagara Marcy
1998 Montana Kitty
1998 Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Families Melvina 'Malka' Csizmadi
1999 End of Days Christine York
2000 Vertical Limit Annie Garrett
2000 Supernova Danika Lund
2001 Investigating Sex Zoe
2002 The Secret Lives of Dentists Laura
2002 Cherish Zoe
2003 Abby Singer Herself (Cameo)
2003 The In-Laws Angela Harris
2003 The Twilight Zone Edie Durant Episode: "Developing"
2004 Paparazzi Abby Laramie
2004 House Rebecca Adler Pilot episode
2004 Shadow of Fear Wynn French
2005 The Zodiac Laura Parish
2005 Runaway Carly
2005–2006 Prison Break Veronica Donovan Season 1, and the season 2 episode "Manhunt"
2006 Hollywoodland Leonore Lemmon
2006 The Darwin Awards Zoe
2006 Open Window[ Izzy
2008 August Melanie
2008 The Burning Plain Laura
2008 The Two Mr. Kissels Nancy Kissel
2008–present The Mentalist Teresa Lisbon TV series
2009 Passenger Side Theresa
2012 See Girl Run Emmie
2014 My All American Gloria Steinmark
Awards and nominations
Year Nominated work Award Category Result
1997 The Craft MTV Movie Awards Best Fight (shared with Fairuza Balk) Won
1997 Niagara, Niagara Volpi Cup Best Actress Won
1999 Niagara, Niagara Independent Spirit Awards Best Female Lead Nominated
2001 Vertical Limit Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actress – Action Nominated
2006 Open Window Boston Film Festival Festival Prize Won
2009 The Mentalist People's Choice Awards Best New Series (shared with Simon Baker, Amanda Righetti, Owain Yeoman and Tim Kang) Won