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Robin Tunney (born June 19, 1972) is an American actress. She is known for her role as Teresa Lisbon on the television series The Mentalist (2008–2015), and her portrayal of Veronica Donovan on the first two seasons of Prison Break (2005–2006).

Robin Tunney
Tunney in 2013
Born (1972-06-19) June 19, 1972 (age 47)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Years active1992–present
Bob Gosse
(m. 1995; div. 2006)
Partner(s)Nicky Marmet

Tunney made her film debut in the 1992 comedy Encino Man. She came to prominence with leading roles in the cult films Empire Records (1995) and The Craft (1996). She received the Volpi Cup for Best Actress, as well as Gotham and Independent Spirit nominations for her performance in Niagara, Niagara (1997). She had leading roles in the action-thriller films End of Days (1999), Supernova and Vertical Limit (both 2000). In 2006, she earned critical acclaim for her portrayal of a victim of sexual assault in the independent drama Open Window.[1] Her other notable film appearances include Cherish, The Secret Lives of Dentists (both 2002), The In-Laws (2003), Hollywoodland (2006), August, The Burning Plain (both 2008), Passenger Side (2009), and Looking Glass (2018).

Early lifeEdit

Tunney was born in Chicago, Illinois, to a car salesman father, Patrick, and a bartender mother, Cathy.[2][3][4] Tunney is Irish American;[5][6] her father was born in Straide, County Mayo, Ireland, while her maternal grandparents were from Clare Island.[7] Tunney grew up in Orland Park, a southwest suburb of Chicago. She was raised Roman Catholic,[6] attended Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park and the Chicago Academy for the Arts in Chicago,[8] and resided in Palos Heights, also in the Chicago area.[9]


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 in Encino Man and followed up as a suicidal girl in Empire Records (with a shaved head) 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 also starred opposite Simon Baker in the CBS drama series The Mentalist, playing Teresa Lisbon.

Personal lifeEdit

Tunney married producer and director Bob Gosse on October 4, 1995;[10] they divorced in 2006. Tunney was engaged to Australian writer and director Andrew Dominik[11] from 2009 to 2010.[12]

Tunney became engaged to interior designer Nicky Marmet on December 25, 2012, while on vacation in Rio de Janeiro.[13] On June 23, 2016, she gave birth to their son Oscar Holly Marmet.[14]

On June 28, 2006, Tunney won her table in the eighth tournament series of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, moving on to the final table. The finale aired on July 5, 2006, where she finished second to Jason Alexander, earning $200,000 for her charity of choice, The Children's Health Fund. In August 2006, Tunney played in the World Series of Poker after having her entrance fee covered by the online cardroom

She is a cousin of Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney.[9]



Year Title Role
1992 Encino Man Ella
1995 Empire Records Debra
1996 The Craft Sarah Bailey
Riders of the Purple Sage Elizabeth 'Bess' Erne
1997 Julian Po Sarah
Niagara, Niagara Marcy
1998 Montana Kitty
Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Families Melvina 'Malka' Csizmadi
1999 End of Days Christine York
2000 Vertical Limit Annie Garrett
Supernova Danika Lund
2001 Investigating Sex Zoe
2002 The Secret Lives of Dentists Laura
Cherish Zoe
2003 Abby Singer Herself (cameo)
The In-Laws Angela Harris
2004 Paparazzi Abby Laramie
Shadow of Fear Wynn French
2005 The Zodiac Laura Parish
Runaway Carly
2006 Hollywoodland Leonore Lemmon
The Darwin Awards Zoe
Open Window Izzy
2008 August Melanie Hanson
The Burning Plain Laura
The Two Mr. Kissels Nancy Kissel
2009 Passenger Side Theresa
2012 See Girl Run Emmie
2015 My All American Gloria Steinmark
2018 Looking Glass Maggie
Monster Party Roxanne Dawson


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Perry Mason: The Case of Reckless Romeo Sandra Turner Television film
1993 JFK: Reckless Youth Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy
Cutters Deborah 5 episodes
1994 Law & Order Jill Templeton Episode: "Mayhem"
2003 The Twilight Zone Edie Durant Episode: "Developing"
2004 House Rebecca Adler Pilot episode
2005–2006 Prison Break Veronica Donovan 23 episodes
2008–2015 The Mentalist Teresa Lisbon 151 episodes
2016 Love SLAA Woman Episode: "The End of the Beginning"
2018 Insatiable Brandylynn Huggens Episode: "Miss Bareback Buckaroo"
2019 The Fix Maya Travis Lead role

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1997 MTV Movie Awards Best Fight (shared with Fairuza Balk) The Craft Won
1997 Volpi Cup Best Actress Niagara, Niagara Won
1999 Independent Spirit Awards Best Female Lead Niagara, Niagara Nominated
2001 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actress – Action Vertical Limit Nominated
2006 Boston Film Festival Festival Prize Open Window Won
2009 People's Choice Awards Best New Series (shared with Simon Baker, Amanda Righetti, Owain Yeoman and Tim Kang)[citation needed] The Mentalist Won
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite Crime Drama TV (shared with Simon Baker, Amanda Righetti, Owain Yeoman and Tim Kang)[citation needed] The Mentalist Nominated
Favorite TV Crime Drama Actress [15] Nominated


  1. ^ John Horn (July 16, 2007). "An open window on a filmmaker's trauma". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  2. ^ "Robin Tunney Biography (1972?-)". Film Reference. Archived from the original on 2012-07-10. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ McGavin, Patrick Z (July 5, 1998). "It's All An Act". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on September 17, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Burgerstein, Jonathan (March 1998). "Fly, Robin Hood, flyperpa". Interview. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ a b Hughes, Scott (1999-12-05). "Robin Tunney's angst-ridden roles". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2010-06-24. ...her compulsion to tackle tough parts range from her Irish-Catholic background... Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ "My Irish dad would pretend to be a gay hairdresser!". Independent. March 19, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  8. ^ "Robin Tunney:Biography". Movies MSN. Archived from the original on 2012-06-03. Retrieved 2010-06-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ a b Crowder, Courtney (2010-09-21). "Palos Heights native wears a smile on CBS' 'Mentalist'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
  10. ^ Weiner, Carey (March 22, 1998). "Up and Coming: Robin Tunney; a young best actress takes the plunge in 'Niagara, Niagara'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ Zuckerman, Suzanne (May 2009). "Actress Robin Tunney on How to Speak Your Mind". Women's Health. Archived from the original on October 5, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ Morrison, Mark (August 2010). "Robin's Green Shades". In Style Magazine. Archived from the original on November 2, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ Eggenberger, Nicole (February 5, 2013). "Exclusive: Robin Tunney, the Mentalist star, engaged to Nicky Marmet". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ "Robin Tunney Welcomes Son Oscar Holly". Archived from the original on 2017-07-18. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ "Favorite Crime Drama TV Actress". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved 11 December 2014.

External linksEdit