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