Robin Tunney
Tunney in 2013
Born (1972-06-19) June 19, 1972 (age 48)
Years active1991–present
(m. 1995; div. 2006)
Partner(s)Nicky Marmet (2012–present)

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 the portrayal of Veronica Donovan on Prison Break (2005–2006).

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 life

Tunney was born in Chicago, Illinois, to a car salesman father, Patrick, and a bartender mother, Cathy.[2][3] Tunney's father was born in Straide, County Mayo, Ireland, while her maternal grandparents were from Clare Island.[4] Tunney grew up in Orland Park, a southwest suburb of Chicago. She was raised Catholic,[5] attended Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago and the Chicago Academy for the Arts in Chicago,[6] and resided in Palos Heights, also in the Chicago area.[7]


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 realized subsequent success in the role of Sarah Bailey in The Craft.

Tunney later accepted a role in Niagara, Niagara, for which she won the 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 was later cast in a guest-star role in the pilot episode of the TV series House as a kindergarten instructor who collapses in the midst of a lesson, resulting in an aphasic condition. She also portrayed Veronica Donovan on the first season of Prison Break. Among Tunney's other accomplishments were roles in The Mentalist, Closing the Ring, as well as The Fix.[8]

Personal life

Tunney married producer and director Bob Gosse on October 4, 1995,[9] and divorced in 2006. Tunney was engaged to Australian writer and director Andrew Dominik[10] from 2009 to 2010.[11]

Tunney became engaged to Nicky Marmet on December 25, 2012, while on vacation in Rio de Janeiro.[12] They have two children.[13][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.[7]



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
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 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
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; 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; 10 episodes

Awards and nominations

This section of a biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful.Find sources: "Robin Tunney" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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 July 10, 2012.
  3. ^ McGavin, Patrick Z (July 5, 1998). "It's All An Act". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on September 17, 2011.
  4. ^ "My Irish dad would pretend to be a gay hairdresser!". Independent. March 19, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  5. ^ 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...
  6. ^ "Robin Tunney:Biography". Movies MSN. Archived from the original on June 3, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Channel Guide Magazine (February 28, 2019). "Channel Guide Magazine March 2019 cover featuring Robin Tunney of The Fix ABC". Facebook. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Morrison, Mark (August 2010). "Robin's Green Shades". In Style Magazine. Archived from the original on November 2, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Robin Tunney Welcomes Son Oscar Holly". People. July 27, 2016. Archived from the original on July 18, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  14. ^ Pasquini, Maria (January 23, 2020). "Robin Tunney Welcomes Daughter Colette Kathleen: She's 'Ready to Take Over the World'". People. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  15. ^ "Favorite Crime Drama TV Actress". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved December 11, 2014.