Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni was born in New York, on February 25, 1966. Her father, Anthony Pantaleoni, was a corporate lawyer, and her mother, Emily Patterson, was a dietitian and nutritionist. She is of Italian (from a paternal great-great-grandfather), Polish, English, Scottish, Irish, and German descent. Téa attended but did not complete studies at Sarah Lawrence College. She started out in acting as Lisa DiNapoli in Santa Barbara (1984) in 1989 and followed up with small roles in Switch (1991) and A League of Their Own (1992). In 1992 she starred in the short-lived sitcom Flying Blind (1992). In 1994 she appeared in Wyatt Earp (1994) opposite Kevin Costner and The Counterfeit Contessa (1994) opposite D.W. Moffett. In 1995 she starred opposite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the popular film Bad Boys (1995). She also had a guest appearance on Frasier (1993) that same year. She appeared in many successful films after that, such as Flirting with Disaster (1996), Deep Impact (1998), The Family Man (2000), Spanglish (2004), You Kill Me (2007) and most recently, she starred in the film Ghost Town (2008) opposite Greg Kinnear.