Family & Companions
An attractive blonde former dancer who made the move to acting in the late 1980s, Teri Polo has worked consistently in film and television since her debut, but didn't hit it big until her co-starring role in the 2000 blockbuster comedy "Meet the Parents." Beginning her ballet career at age six, Polo headed to NYC in her teens to pursue education and work in dance and ended an actress, counting among her early credits a 1987 stint on the ABC daytime drama "Loving" and a regular role on the CBS drama "TV 101" (1988-89). In 1990 the new actress performed opposite screen legend Burt Lancaster in the NBC miniseries adaptation "Phantom of the Opera," before making her feature debut in "Born to Ride" the following year.
Costarring with Ethan Hawke in the romantic adventure "Mystery Date" (1991) didn't give Polo the career boost she expected, but Polo landed more roles, racking up credits in the features "Passed Away" (1992), "Aspen Extreme" and "The House of the Spirits" (both 1993). With timeless good looks and a graceful poise no doubt developed through her years of ballet, Polo was an asset onscreen in varied roles, including a starring turn against type as an assassin-for-hire in the little-seen independent action movie, "Quick." A regular role on "Northern Exposure" saw her as the wife of new resident physician Dr. Capra (Paul Provenza) in the popular CBS series' lackluster final season.
Alternating television roles with film appearances, Polo returned to the big screen opposite Charlie Sheen in the underrated sci-fi adventure "The Arrival" in 1996, and played a starlet who finds her power under the spell of evil in the NBC TV-movie remake "House of Frankenstein 1997." In 1998, she earned a recurring guest shot on the short-lived Fox drama "Brimstone," and a pivotal role as a woman who battles cancer only to have her adopted daughter taken from her husband upon her death in the TV-movie "A Father for Brittany." The following year she gained notice for her guest turn as a married woman who carries on an affair with hapless college student Ben on The WB's "Felicity," and also began a 1999-2000 recurring role on the critically acclaimed ABC series "Sports Night."
Polo returned to the big screen with her breakthrough performance as the girlfriend of Ben Stiller, who takes her beau home to "Meet the Parents" (2000). The actress anchored the often ridiculous film with her natural, nuanced performance as the well-adjusted Pam Byrnes, and her chemistry with on-screen father-a former CIA agent played by Robert De Niro-helped sell the idea of his hardheaded despot as caring dad. Her featured role in the independent psychodrama "The Unsaid" went unseen by most movieg rs, but audiences-though not critics-enjoyed her alongside scene-chewers John Travolta and Vince Vaughn in "Domestic Disturbance" (2001). In the preachy melodrama "Beyond Borders" (2003), Polo played Charlotte, an international journalist and sister to humanitarian activist Sarah Jordan (Angeline Jolie). Abysmal box office totals and scathing reviews plagued the movie, but Polo's appearance went virtually unnoticed.
Returning to the small screen, she starred as a Hollywood star dating a regular guy (David Sutcliffe) in the ABC sitcom "I'm With Her" (2003-2004) which was reasonably reviewed but failed to catch on with audiences. For her next move, she revived her breakthrough role in the smash hit "Meet the Fockers" (2004), in which her family (Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner) meets Ben Stiller's parents, ably played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand. Just like its predecessor, "Meet the Fockers" was a box office hit amidst wild hype and tepid reviews. Shortly after the film's top-grossing debut, Polo bared all in the Feb 2005 issue of Playboy.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Acted on the ABC daytime drama "Loving"
Was a regular on the CBS drama "TV 101"
Appeared in the NBC miniseries adaptation "Phantom of the Opera"
Made early film appearances in the features "Born to Ride" and "Mystery Date"
Acted in "Passed Away," a comedy feature set at an Irish wake
Featured in the ski slope-set drama "Aspen Extreme"; also had a small role in the period drama "The House of the Spirits"
Had a regular role on "Northern Exposure" (CBS)
Starred as an assassin-for-hire in the little seen action thriller "Quick"
Featured in the sci-fi thriller "The Arrival"
Acted in the TV-movie remake "House of Frankenstein 1997" (NBC)
Co-starred as a woman who loses a battle with cancer only to have her husband lose the rights to their adopted daughter in the TV-movie "A Father for Brittany" (CBS)
Was featured in a recurring guest role on the FOX series "Brimstone"
Had a recurring guest role on "Sports Night" (ABC)
Played a married woman carrying on an affair with college student Ben (Scott Speedman) on episodes of "Felicity" (The WB)
Breakthrough screen role as Ben Stiller's fiancee in "Meet the Parents"
Featured in the independent psychodrama "The Unsaid"
Co-starred with John Travolta and Vince Vaughn in "Domestic Disturbance"
Cast in the short-lived ABC series "I'm with Her"; loosely based on creator Chris Henchy's life with Brooke Shields
Co-starred with Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen in "Beyond Borders"
Reprised role as Ben Stiller's fiancée in "Meet the Fockers," the sequel to "Meet the Parents"
Had a recurring role in "The West Wing" (NBC) as Helen Santos, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits)
Cast in "Full of It" a comedy about habitual liar whose tales suddenly come true
Cast in a recurring role on "Law & Order: Los Angeles" (NBC)
Once again reprised the role of Pamela Byrnes-Focker for the comedy sequel, "Little Fockers"
Played Theresa on "Man Up"
Starred as Stef Foster on "The Fosters"