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Celli was born in June 1923 as Teresa Levis in Dysart, Pennsylvania. She was one of ten children born to an Italian family. When her father inherited an estate in Italy, the family moved there. Her grandmother, Maria Scagnet, and her great-grandmother, Mme. Duval Celli, both sang opera, and it was from the latter that Teresa took her professional last name.
- International Motion Picture Almanac, 1951, pg. 37
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- Ancestry: Teresa Mara Levis in the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
- Ancestry LifeStory: Teresa Mara Levis