Robin Tunney

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Robin Tunney
Tunney in 2013
Born (1972-06-19) June 19, 1972 (age 50)
Years active1991–present
(m. 1997; div. 2006)
PartnerNicky Marmet (2012–present[1])

Robin Tunney (born June 19, 1972)[2] is an American actress. Tunney made her film debut in the comedy Encino Man (1992) and rose to prominence with leading roles in the cult films Empire Records (1995) and The Craft (1996). Her performance in Niagara, Niagara (1997) won her acclaim and the Volpi Cup for Best Actress. She had leading roles in the films End of Days (1999), Supernova and Vertical Limit (both 2000). Tunney earned critical acclaim for playing Veronica Donovan on Prison Break (2005–2006) and Teresa Lisbon on the television series The Mentalist (2008–2015).

Tunney was praised for her portrayal of a victim of sexual assault in the independent drama Open Window (2006).[3] Her subsequent film roles across the 2000s include Cherish and The Secret Lives of Dentists (both 2002), The In-Laws (2003), Hollywoodland (2006), August and The Burning Plain (both 2008), and Passenger Side (2009). She led the thriller film Looking Glass (2018), and starred in the short-lived legal drama series The Fix (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, while her maternal grandparents were from Clare Island.[5] She is a cousin of Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney.[6]

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


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] which she starred in 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 her 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. The year following, she played Teresa Lisbon on the television series The Mentalist,[18][19] a role that she played for 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] and 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
Riders of the Purple Sage Elizabeth 'Bess' Erne
1997 Julian Po Sarah
Niagara, Niagara Marcy Independent film
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 Independent film
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
2020 Horse Girl Agatha Kaine


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Perry Mason: The Case of Reckless Romeo Sandra Turner Television film
1993 JFK: Reckless Youth Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy Television film
Cutters Deborah Recurring role; 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 Main role
2007 Robot Chicken Madame Razz / Entrapta / Carole Demas / Skin Graft Patient (voice) Episode: "Slaughterhouse on the Prairie"
2008–2015 The Mentalist Teresa Lisbon Main role
2016 Love SLAA Woman Episode: "The End of the Beginning"
2018 Insatiable Brandylynn Huggens Episode: "Miss Bareback Buckaroo"
2019 The Fix Maya Travis Main role

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1997 MTV Movie Awards Best Fight (shared with Fairuza Balk) The Craft Won
1997 Volpi Cup Awards Best Actress Niagara, Niagara Won
1998 Gotham Awards Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
1999 Independent Spirit Awards Best Female Lead 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] Nominated
Favorite TV Crime Drama Actress[31] Nominated


  1. ^ Robin Tunney (August 26, 2021). "Happy 40th Nicky. I can't believe how good I've got it". Instagram. Retrieved July 2, 2022.
  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". The 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!". Independent. March 19, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  6. ^ a b 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.
  7. ^ 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...
  8. ^ "Robin Tunney:Biography". Movies MSN. Archived from the original on June 3, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  9. ^ Petersen, Anne Helen. "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". 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. ^ "12th International Film Critics' Week | Venice International Film Critics' Week". 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. ^ Staff, T. H. R. (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. 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". In Style Magazine. 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. ^ "Favorite Crime Drama TV Actress". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved December 11, 2014.

External links[edit]