Teresa Wright was born Muriel Teresa Wright in New York City in 1918. Her father was an insurance agent. Her parents divorced when she was young and she grew up with relatives in New Jersey. While in high school, she became interested in acting and spent her summers working in regional theater productions.
Following her high school graduation in 1938, she was hired as an understudy for the Broadway play Our Town. She took over the role when the actress Martha Scott went to Hollywood to appear in the film version of the play.
Wright appeared in 7 Broadway productions through 1992 and received a Drama Desk Award for her performance in Morning's at Seven (1980-1981). Her other starring stage roles include:
- The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1957-1959)
- I Never Sang for My Father (1968)
- Death of a Salesman [Revival] (1975)
- On Borrowed Time (1991-1992)
In 1942, she was again nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress for The Pride of the Yankees, playing opposite Gary Cooper. That same year, she also won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar as Greer Garson's daughter-in-law in Mrs. Miniver. No actor has ever duplicated her feat of receiving an Oscar nomination for each of their first three films.
Wright rebelled against the studio system of the time and was fired by producer Samuel Goldwyn in 1948. Her career stature diminished, Wright continued to struggle with a string of unsuccessful films.
After 1959, she worked mainly in television and on the stage. She was nominated for Emmys in 1957, 1960 and 1989.
Wright married the writer Niven Busch in 1942. They had two children and were divorced in 1952. She then married the playwright Robert Anderson in 1959. They divorced in 1978.
She died of a heart attack New Haven, Connecticut, in 2005. Wright was 86 years old.