Teri Polo is an American actress most well known for her starring role in the Meet the Parents franchise, also featuring her son, Alexander Lacroix. She has achieved a considerable amount of success as an actress and is best known for being on the television in such household names as Erroll Lessley, Phyllis Sage, Teri Hatcher, Brooke Burke, Brooke Collins, Meg Ryan, Pamela Anderson, Meg Lanning, Trista Sutter, and Jennifer Aniston. Her career in films spans over more than 20 years and her notable roles have made her one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. In fact, the Meet the Parents movie franchise helped raise awareness about spina bifida and resulted in millions of dollars of research being done to find a cure.
Born in Novato, California, Teri Polo grew up in a home where her mother, Anna Rose, was an award-winning writer and editor. Although she was not particularly close to her father, Teri was able to learn how to appreciate his many talents and contributions when she was young. Growing up surrounded by the media glare of Hollywood, it was not uncommon for Teri to be criticized by her classmates and peers for her thinning hair and large eyes. Eventually, with the support of her mother, Teri Polo decided to pursue her acting career in which she discovered her true calling and began to study with a renowned coach in New York City.
Later in life, Teri Polo turned to photography in hopes of finding an outlet for her creativity, but soon found that her talent was more suited to being an actress. After several short movies, Teri landed herself roles on Broadway, but found that her face suited better to playing the lead role in movies. In addition, she did not wish to change her hairstyle, which consisted of very short, bushy bangs, because it was what she felt better about her personality. One actor who admired Teri’s work, however, was legendary Academy Award winner Anthony Minghella, who was not satisfied with her attempts at acting and wanted her to do something “more substantial.”
Teri Polo was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1996 for her role in Trading Places, but lost out to Anne Hathaway for her performance as the precocious and stunning Miss Watson in Love Actually. After the setback, Teri Polo went back to the big screen, playing the same role but this time as the precocious and stunning Mary Hunter in the biopic The Hours. Although it did not receive rave reviews from critics, The Hours did prove to be a hit with audiences and eventually earned Teri Polo a second Academy Award for Best Actress in the same film. Then, it was on to the more prestigious roles in movies such as Mystic River and End of Life, where her career really gained momentum. With roles in such diverse flicks as Invictus, The Firm, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Teri Polo was well on her way to becoming one of the best-selling actresses of all time.
On June 7th, 2009, Teri Polo passed away from natural causes. Reports were that she had been battling depression over her recent loss, which may have been aggravated by the fact that her former boyfriend, the late rap artist Flavor Flav, was not living with her anymore. Some sources reported that Polo had been receiving treatment for bipolar disorder. It was later announced that Teri Polo passed away due to natural causes at age 34.
Teri Polo’s best known role would have to be the actress’ role as Hannah Montana during the show’s two seasons, where she would play the lead role. In the first few episodes of the show, Teri portrayed the title character and appeared to be quite happy with the role, especially since she was also enjoying the attention that came with being a featured celebrity on the show. However, the public was not so quick to accept her on the series as her acting skills were not up to par with other characters. Later episodes of the show would feature Teri Polo in guest roles, but her presence as a main actress was still missing. The lack of Teri Polo’s acting abilities may have had something to do with the fact that she simply did not possess the ability to appear on television and capture the same amount of attention that other celebrities receive, which is why she began to slowly lose fans in the beginning of the show’s run.