Tea Leoni

Tea Leoni

Oscar nominee for 'Bad Boys'

Background:

“Not to sound like a whore, but I’ve been with...I’ve worked with...some very
attractive men. Nick Cage...Al Pachino...Ben Stiller...and Woody Allen.” Tea
Leoni

American television and movie star Tea Leoni received rave reviews for her roles
in the critically acclaimed sitcom “Flying Blind” (1992-93) and the television
film The Counterfeit Contessa (1994) before reaching the peak of her prominence
in the latter half of the ‘90s. She starred as Nora Wilde in the
highly-successful sitcom “The Naked Truth” (1995-1998) and scored major roles in
the blockbuster features Bad Boys (1995) and Deep Impact (1998). In 2001, the
Blockbuster Entertainment nominee won a Saturn after portraying the wife of
Nicolas Cage in the fantasy The Family Man (2000). Other movie credits include
Flirting With Disaster (1996, with Ben Stiller), Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending
(2002), Spanglish (2004, opposite Adam Sandler) and Fun with Dick and Jane
(2005, with Jim Carrey).

Outside the limelight, the vegan actress, whose actress-grandmother co-formed
what would become the US Fund for UNICEF in 1947 and was its President for 25
years, has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 2001. In 2005, she
visited young Vietnamese at a support center for people who are HIV- positive in
purpose of rising awareness toward AIDS. On more personal note, 5’ 7” tall Leoni
had a short-lived marriage with director Neil Tardio (from 1992 to 1995) before
dating Chris Thompson, the executive producer of “The Naked Truth” (together
from August 1995 until early 1996). She gained a number of publications for
marrying actor David Duchovny of The X-Files fame in May 1997. The couple share
two children, daughter Madelaine (born in 1999) and son Kyd (born in 2002).

“David. The best thing about marriage is David.” Tea Leoni on husband David
Duchovny


Goodness

Childhood and Family:

Tea Leoni was born Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni, on February 25, 1966, in New York,
New York. Her father, Anthony Pantleoni, is of Italian and Polish descent who
once worked as a corporate attorney and her mother, Emily, is a native Texan and
was a professional nutritionist. She has an older brother named Tom (born in
1963). He is an antique store owner.

A New York native, Tea, which means “goodness,” attended Brearly High, a private
school in the Upper East Side New York City, and graduated from a boarding
school called Putney High School in Putney, Vermont, in 1984. She then went to
Sarah Lawrence College to major in Psychology and Anthropology, but dropping out
to tour the world. During that occasion, she flew to Italy to find out her
Italian pedigree, worked as an athletic model in Japan, and was discovered in
the isle of St. Croix, where she took a job as a crew hand of a commercial boat.
The granddaughter of Helenka Adamowska, a silent film actress and Broadway
performer, Tea returned to the USA to become an actress.

In 1992, Tea married commercial director Neil Tardio, but the union ended in
divorce in October, three years later. Two years after the split, she began
dating X-Files heartthrob David Duchovny (born on August 7, 1960), and they got
married on May 6, that same year, at Manhattan’s Grace Church. The pair met at
an audition for “The Tonight Show” in 1992. Tea and David have two children,
daughter Madelaine West Duchovny (born on April 24, 1999) and son Kyd Miller
Duchovny (born on June 15, 2002).


The Family Man

Career:

Tea Leoni developed a love for performing at a young age supported by her
grandmother, actress Helenka Adamowska. Returning to the US after traveling
around the world, she started to try her luck by joining an audition and won a
part in the busted pilot “Angels ’88” (1988), a remake of the 1970s “Charlie’s
Angels” that in fact never aired because of a writers’ strike. A year later,
Leoni landed a part as a surrogate for the Lisa DiNapoli character in the 1984
drama series “Santa Barbara” and, in 1991, she progressed to film acting with a
small role in the Blake Edwards-helmed gender-bending Switch, as Connie the
“Dream Girl.”
She received more notice in the following years with the small role of Racine
1st Base who unintentionally hit Madonna with a baseball in the Tom Hanks
vehicle A League of Their Own (1992), the starring turn of flamboyant blonde
bombshell Alicia in the critically acclaimed but short-lived sitcom “Flying
Blind” (1992-93, earned good reviews for the performance) and the title
character of sharp-witted Brooklynite brushed into New York society and romantic
relation with a lawyer when she is flawed for an Italian countess in the comedy
made-for-TV film The Counterfeit Contessa (1994). Leoni’s fine performance in
the latter brought her critical raves.

Also in 1994, Leoni stood out as Sally, a tough frontier hooker, in movie Wyatt
Earp, directed by Lawrence Kasdan. The Western starred Kevin Costner, Dennis
Quaid and Gene Hackman. But, it was not until the renowned director Michael Bay
cast her in a starring role opposite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the smash
box-office hit Bad Boys (1995) that the actress stepped into blockbuster
territory. With the success of the film, Leoni, who portrayed sexy crime
spectator Julie Mott, also gained popularity. Later that same year, she was
launched to TV stardom as Nora Wilde on the sitcom “The Naked Truth” (ABC,
1995-96; NBC 1996-98). Regardless of a network change, the show was a hit.

During her three-year stint as the tabloid newspaper photographer in The Naked
Truth, Leoni once again displayed her hot appeal in David O Russell’s comedy
Flirting With Disaster (1996), opposite Ben Stiller, and costarred in the
little-seen There’s No Fish Food in Heaven (1998), an indie movie which also
marked her first foray into producing. She also found huge success by the
release of the asteroid blockbuster Deep Impact (1998), where she earned the
Favorite Actress Sci-Fi Blockbuster Entertainment nomination for the starring
role of TV news reporter Jenny Lerner.

Back to filmmaking after taking some time off for motherhood, Leoni lent her
sexy aptitude to the role of Nicolas Cage’s spouse Kate Reynolds in director
Brett Ratner’s holiday fantasy The Family Man (2000). For her efforts, she was
handed a 2001 Saturn for Best Actress and a second Blockbuster Entertainment nod
for Favorite Actress. The following years saw Leoni on such films as the
predictable installment Jurassic Park 3 (2001, opposite Sam Neill and William H.
Marcy, Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending (2002, as Allen’s wife Amanda) and People
I Know (2002), an ill-received drama which cast her along side Al Pacino and Kim
Basinger.

Following another hiatus, Leoni starred in her husband’s film, House of D
(2004), and delivered one of her best performances as Adam Sandler’s skittish,
out-of-control wife Deborah Clasky in the comedy Spanglish (2004), for
director-writer James L. Brooks. The next year, she starred as Jane Harper
(originally played by Jane Fonda) in the impressive remake of Fun with Dick and
Jane (2005), opposite Jim Carrey. Two years later, she is set to play Lauren
Pearson in the John Dahl-helmed comedy You Kill Me (2007). The upcoming film
will also star Ben Kingsley, Luke Wilson, Jayne Eastwood, Aaron Hughes, Dennis
Farina and Lorraine James.


Awards:

Saturn: Best Actress, The Family Man, 2001
 
What happens, matters. Maybe only to us but it matters.More Tea Leoni quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
People don't know this, but early in your career, you don't just glide on to The Tonight Show.More Tea Leoni quotes [10/11/2006 12:10:00]
I was desperate to go back to New York and when 9/11 happened, I feared moving to the bulls-eye and that was very hard because I have a lot of family there and I really had to question what I didn't like about this communityMore Tea Leoni quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I have a fast swing and I can outdrive a lot of the men I play with. Of course, I only play with people from retirement communities. I can hit it 200 yards. I've seen 230.More Tea Leoni quotes [10/11/2006 12:10:00]
But I can tell you that the New York that I see now is not the New York that we grew up in. It's not 1973.More Tea Leoni quotes [10/11/2006 12:10:00]

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