Robin Tunney

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Robin Tunney
Tunney in 2013
Born (1972-06-19) June 19, 1972 (age 51)
Years active1991–present
(m. 1997; div. 2006)
PartnerNicky Marmet (2012–present)[1]

Robin Tunney (born June 19, 1972)[2] is an American actress who made her film debut in Encino Man (1992), and later rose to prominence with headline parts in the cult films Empire Records (1995) and The Craft (1996). Her performance in Niagara, Niagara (1997) won her the Volpi Cup for Best Actress. She then had leading roles in End of Days (1999), Supernova, Vertical Limit (both 2000), Cherish, The Secret Lives of Dentists (both 2002) and The In-Laws (2003), and earned wider recognition playing Veronica Donovan on Prison Break (2005–2006) and Teresa Lisbon on The Mentalist (2008–2015).

Tunney's portrayal of a sexual assault victim in Open Window (2006) was praised.[3] Her subsequent film credits included Hollywoodland (2006), August, The Burning Plain (both 2008), Passenger Side (2009), Looking Glass and Monster Party (both 2018). She starred on the short-lived ABC series The Fix in 2019.

Early life[edit]

Tunney was born in Chicago, Illinois, to a car salesman father, Patrick, and a bartender mother, Cathy.[4] Tunney's father was born in Straide, County Mayo, Ireland, and her maternal grandparents were from Clare Island, Ireland.[5] She is a cousin of Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney.

Tunney grew up in Orland Park, a southwest suburb of Chicago. She was raised Irish Catholic,[6] attended Carl Sandburg High School, Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago and the Chicago Academy for the Arts in Chicago,[7] and resided in Palos Heights, also in the Chicago area.[8]


Tunney moved to Los Angeles and was cast in roles in Class of '96, Law & Order, Dream On, and Life Goes On amongst other works. She appeared in the film Empire Records, released in 1995, which polarized critics and audiences.[9] Tunney realized subsequent success in the role of Sarah Bailey in horror-fantasy film The Craft,[10] in which she starred alongside Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True. The movie was a commercial success, earning $55 million against a budget of $15 million.[11][12] She later led the independent film Niagara, Niagara which was released in 1997, and earned critical praise; she won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 1997 Venice International Film Festival.[13][14] She was also featured opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1999 supernatural action film End of Days.[15]

Tunney appeared in the 2004 pilot episode of the medical drama series House as a kindergarten instructor who suffers from an aphasic condition. She subsequently portrayed Veronica Donovan on the first season of Prison Break,[16] which was released in 2005 to critical acclaim.[17] Tunney appeared in 2007's Closing the Ring. In the following year, she began one of her longest roles as Teresa Lisbon on the television series The Mentalist,[18][19] which lasted seven years.[20][21] In 2018, she led the thriller film Looking Glass alongside Nicolas Cage,[22] which was negatively received although her performance earned praise.[22][23] In 2019, she starred in the short-lived legal drama series The Fix.[24][21]

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

Personal life[edit]

Tunney married producer and director Bob Gosse on October 4, 1997;[25] they divorced in 2006. Tunney was engaged to Australian writer and director Andrew Dominik[26] from 2009 to 2010.[27] Tunney became engaged to Nicky Marmet on December 25, 2012, while on vacation in Rio de Janeiro.[28] They have two children.[29][30]



Year Title Role Notes
1992 Encino Man Ella
1995 Empire Records Debra
1996 The Craft Sarah Bailey
1997 Julian Po Sarah
Niagara, Niagara Marcy
1998 Montana Kitty
1999 End of Days Christine York
2000 Supernova Danika Lund
Vertical Limit Annie Garrett
2001 Investigating Sex Zoe
2002 Cherish Zoe Adler
The Secret Lives of Dentists Laura
2003 The In-Laws Angela Harris
Abby Singer Herself Cameo appearance
2004 Paparazzi Abby Laramie
Shadow of Fear Wynn French
2005 The Zodiac Laura Parish
Runaway Carly
2006 Open Window Izzy
Hollywoodland Leonore Lemmon
The Darwin Awards Zoe
2008 August Melanie Hanson
The Burning Plain Laura
2009 Passenger Side Theresa
2012 See Girl Run Emmie
2015 My All-American Gloria Steinmark
2018 Looking Glass Maggie
Monster Party Roxanne Dawson
2020 Horse Girl Agatha Kaine


Year Title Role Notes
1991 CBS Schoolbreak Special Brooke Episode: "But He Loves Me"
Life Goes On Mary Episode: "Corky's Travels"
1992 Perry Mason: The Case of Reckless Romeo Sandra Turner Television film
1993 Class of '96 Linda Miller 5 episodes
Frogs! Hannah Television film
Cutters Deborah Hart 5 episodes
JFK: Reckless Youth Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy Television miniseries
Dream On Marybeth Episode: "Silent Night, Holy Cow Part II"
1994 Law & Order Jill Templeton Episode: "Mayhem"
1996 Riders of the Purple Sage Elizabeth 'Bess' Erne Television film
1998 Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Families Melvina 'Malka' Csizmadia Television film
Naked City: Justice with a Bullet Merri Coffman Television film
2003 The Twilight Zone Edie Durant Episode: "Developing"
2004 House Rebecca Adler Episode: "Pilot"
2005–2006 Prison Break Veronica Donovan 23 episodes
2007 Robot Chicken Madame Razz / Entrapta / Carole Demas / Skin Graft Patient (voice) Episode: "Slaughterhouse on the Prairie"
2008–2015 The Mentalist Teresa Lisbon 151 episodes
2008 The Two Mr. Kissels Nancy Kissel Television film
2016 Love Waverly Episode: "The End of the Beginning"
2018 Insatiable Brandylynn Huggens Episode: "Miss Bareback Buckaroo"
2019 The Fix Maya Travis 10 episodes
2023 Dear Edward Jane Adler 4 episodes

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Notes
1999 "Swingin'" Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
2003 "Breathe In" Frou Frou


Year Production Role Notes
2016 Smokefall Violet MCC Theater

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1997 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Actress The Craft Nominated [citation needed]
MTV Movie Awards Best Fight (shared with Fairuza Balk) Won [31]
Venice Film Festival Best Actress Niagara, Niagara Won [14]
1998 Gotham Awards Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated [32]
1999 Independent Spirit Awards Best Female Lead Nominated [33]
2001 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actress – Action Vertical Limit Nominated [34]
2006 Boston Film Festival Best Actress Open Window Won [citation needed]
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite Crime Drama TV Actress The Mentalist Nominated [35]


  1. ^ Robin Tunney (February 14, 2023). "And everybody said it wouldn't last. Happy Valentines Day Nicky!". Instagram. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  2. ^ United Press International (June 19, 2022). "UPI Almanac for Sunday, June 19, 2022". United Press International. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  3. ^ John Horn (July 16, 2007). "An open window on a filmmaker's trauma". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  4. ^ McGavin, Patrick Z (July 5, 1998). "It's All An Act". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on September 17, 2011.
  5. ^ "My Irish dad would pretend to be a gay hairdresser!". Irish Independent. March 19, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  6. ^ Hughes, Scott (December 5, 1999). "Robin Tunney's angst-ridden roles". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2010. ...her compulsion to tackle tough parts range from her Irish-Catholic background...
  7. ^ "Robin Tunney:Biography". MSN. Archived from the original on June 3, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  8. ^ Crowder, Courtney (September 21, 2010). "Palos Heights native wears a smile on CBS' 'Mentalist'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  9. ^ Petersen, Anne Helen (September 2014). "How "Empire Records" Became The Unlikely Film Of A Generation". BuzzFeed. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  10. ^ "Relax, It's Only Magic: An Oral History Of 'The Craft'". HuffPost. May 20, 2016. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  11. ^ "The Craft". The Numbers. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  12. ^ "The Craft Has the Knack for Scaring Up an Audience". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  13. ^ "Snipes wins best actor at Venice Film Festival". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  14. ^ a b "12th International Film Critics' Week | Venice International Film Critics' Week". April 3, 2018. Archived from the original on April 3, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  15. ^ Petrikin, Chris; Cox, Dan (October 20, 1998). "Beacon drafts Hyams to helm 'End of Days'". Variety. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  16. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (August 29, 2005). "Jailhouse Heroes Are Hard to Find". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  17. ^ Kissell, Rick (September 8, 2005). "Everyone's watching Post-Katrina coverage". Variety. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  18. ^ Bernhard, Lisa (November 28, 2008). "'Mentalist' Is a Hit, but Who Can See Into Its Future?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  19. ^ T. H. R. Staff (February 18, 2015). "'The Mentalist' Star, Creator on Series Finale: "It's a Smorgasbord of Emotions"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  20. ^ Chizuru-chibi (June 27, 2012). "(:RED BLOG:): |INTERVIEW| Bruno Heller: Teresa Lisbon is essential (2010)". Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  21. ^ a b "Robin Tunney talks starring on 'The Fix,' rebooting 'The Craft' and getting fired from Ann Sather". Chicago Tribune. April 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  22. ^ a b Scheck, Frank (February 14, 2018). "'Looking Glass': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  23. ^ "Review: A voyeur, a skeevy motel and Nicolas Cage: 'Looking Glass' aims for Lynchian suspense". Los Angeles Times. February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  24. ^ Channel Guide Magazine (February 28, 2019). "Channel Guide Magazine March 2019 cover featuring Robin Tunney of The Fix ABC". Facebook. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Morrison, Mark (August 2010). "Robin's Green Shades". InStyle. Archived from the original on November 2, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "Robin Tunney Welcomes Son Oscar Holly". People. July 27, 2016. Archived from the original on July 18, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  30. ^ Pasquini, Maria (January 23, 2020). "Robin Tunney Welcomes Daughter Colette Kathleen: She's 'Ready to Take Over the World'". People. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  31. ^ "1997 MTV Movie Awards". MTV. Archived from the original on June 6, 2004. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  32. ^ "Gotham Independent Film Awards". The Gotham Film & Media Institute. Archived from the original on February 21, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  33. ^ ""Affliction" Tops Spirit Award Nominations; "Monster," "Art," and "Sex" Also Nab Numerous Nods". IndieWire. January 8, 1999. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  34. ^ "2001 BLOCKBUSTER Entertainment Awards". Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. Archived from the original on April 10, 2001. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  35. ^ "Nominees & Winners". People's Choice. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2024.

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