Teri Marco? Nah, Teri Polo! Apologies off the bat for that joke, but here we are, talking about the star of breakout comedies like Meet the Parents and the series The Fosters. Teri has been in the business for decades, and you’ve probably seen her around in some unlikely places, even today!
Entering the world from Dover, Delaware in June of 1969, Teri felt her call to ballet at an early age, studying intensely from the age of five to eighteen and even making it into elite ballet schools before deciding on a career change to acting after a brief modeling gig in New York City. While her career would start slow with a part in the daytime soap opera Loving in 1987, it would thankfully hit higher highs than the soap circuit, where Hollywood dreams become soggy and beaten down like the spilled wine boxes of their audiences.
Teri Polo was better than that though and moved around quickly to a role in the television mini-series of Phantom of the Opera starring Tywin f*ckin’ Lannister himself, Charles Danse as the Phantom. Teri would star opposite as the lead Christine, falling in love with the mysterious phantom of the opera.
She wouldn’t do anything that would go down as a classic or some high piece of art for the first stretch of the nineties, but that doesn’t mean she was in anything bad. Teri took roles alongside now-legends in their prime and legends at the time, with names like Meryl Streep, Bob Hoskins, and Ethan Hawke just the immediate standouts from a long list. She even got an appearance in the seminal Tales from the Crypt, playing just one of the blind inmates in the episode alongside Isaac Hayes of music and South Park fame.
Her first big break came in the pre-coke Charlie Sheen sci-fi The Arrival, playing the romantic lead opposite Sheen. The movie would be a mild success at the box office and with critics, leading to a sequel that she would wisely opt not to be in. The remainder of her decade would be stacks of aborted pilots or short runs in ongoing shows, with an attempted stay on the supernatural detective show Brimstone and the horror House of Frankenstein.
Teri Polo hit the big time in 2000, moving into the comedy mainstream alongside Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents, and in turn, the two sequels which were… okay comedies. The 2000s relied on dick jokes a little too much for comedy in the early years and it hasn’t made for the best long-lasting humor. Stiller and De Niro had great chemistry though.
The turn of the century was a strange time of figuring things out for Hollywood, and Teri was no exception to that with guest spots in everything from Frasier to Vince Vaughn/Jon Travolta’s film Domestic Disturbance. She would of course make Meet the Fockers to finish out the first half before moving into a recurring spot during The West Wing’s final seasons.
Ending the decade was a bit different for Teri, as she hadn’t quite found a niche for herself throughout her many wanderings. A double header of horror films finished her out in 2009, with The Hole, a minimalist horror directed by Gremlins and The Howling’s Joe Dante being a standout that still holds up well. She would usher in the new decade with the third film of the Fockers trilogy, finally closing the book on a dick joke gone too far.
A failed first season for the Dan Fogler starring Man Up! would lead her to her most longstanding role to date. With ABC/Freeform looking for a new show to fill their “still wholesome family drama” niche after coasting as far as possible off Secret Life of the American Teenager, Teri Polo fit the perfect type to fulfill the mother figure on their newest entry, The Fosters.
What is Teri Polo Doing Now?
Over the last few years, Teri Polo has been keeping busy with a variety of television roles. She currently stars as Stef Adams Foster on the Freeform series Good Trouble, a spinoff of The Fosters, reprising a role she originally played from 2013-2018. Some of her other major TV credits include Vivian Kolchak on NCIS in 2022 and Julia Perkins on the 2021 drama The Big Leap. Polo has also appeared in several TV movies such as Fourth Grade, JL Family Ranch 2, and Deadly Switch. On the film side, she took on roles in 2021’s Four Cousins & a Christmas and The Ravine.
Otherwise, Teri is going through Hollywood much the same as any working actress these days, still showing up in guest spots and independent films. The mid-2010s did seem to find her a spot among the Hallmark romance cast of blonde white women, ensuring steady work if she ever needs to fall back on it.
In her personal life, Teri is a mother of two from two relationships. While she was married to actor Anthony Moore from 1997 to 2005, with the two having one child together, she would divorce from Moore and later enter a relationship with drummer Jamie Wollam, whom she would have a daughter with but eventually separate. In the meantime, Teri has done everything from posing for Playboy to… declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Hey, times get hard. Keep your head up out there.