Teri Polo

Active - 1990 - 2016  |   Born - Jun 1, 1969 in Dover, Delaware, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Comedy Drama, Romance, Thriller

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After toiling for a decade in low-grade films and a host of TV shows, Teri Polo finally earned a helping of recognition, topped off with a dollop of critical appreciation, for her portrayal of Ben Stiller's would-be fiancée in Jay Roach's 2000 autumn blockbuster Meet the Parents. The casting of Polo as the daughter of über-WASP suburban gentry (Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner) capitalized on her Pepsident-blond, all-American looks, and the film's success effectively provided the actress with the exposure that would allow her to move beyond the confines of weeknight television spots.

The daughter of a stereo systems designer and a homemaker, Polo was born in Dover, DE, and raised there in the company of two older brothers. A ballet student from the age of five, she spent most of her childhood and adolescence in a dance studio, but after being rejected by a performing arts school at 17, Polo re-evaluated what she wanted to do with her life; her subsequent win in a Seventeen magazine modeling contest led to her decision to drop out of school and pursue an acting career in New York.

Roles on TV shows ranging from the ABC soap opera Loving to Northern Exposure followed, as did starring work as the object of Ethan Hawke's affections in the thankless, straight-to-video comedy Mystery Date (1991). After moving to Los Angeles in 1995 to better pursue her career, Polo found more work on television, guest-starring on such shows as Felicity and Sports Night. With Meet the Parents in 2000, the actress' years of hard work seemed finally to have paid off, as she enjoyed mention in the national media and a crop of studio offers.

She followed up that big success with Domestic Disturbance and Beyond Borders, but was back on board for the sequel Meet the Fockers in 2004. She was away from screens for three years after that, returning in Full of It, and the short-lived TV series The Wedding Bells. She appeared in The Hole, and in 2010 returned to her career defining role in Little Fockers.

Movie Highlights

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  • Studied ballet for 12 years and attended New York's School of American Ballet.
  • Won a Seventeen magazine modeling contest at age 17.
  • Appeared in the February 2005 issue of Playboy.
  • Met her significant other, Jamie Wollam, on 2004 on the set of a music video for his former band Avion.
  • On a 2009 episode of TV's Celebrity Ghost Stories, she claimed to have had a frightening encounter as an 8-year-old.