Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York to mother Patricia "Addie" Tomei, an English teacher and father Gary Tomei, a lawyer. Marisa also has a brother, actor Adam Tomei. As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy Brooklyn accent. As a teen, Marisa attended Edward R. Murrow High School and graduated in the class of 1982. She was one year into her college education at Boston University when she dropped out for a co-starring role on the CBS daytime drama "As the World Turns" (1956). Her role on that show paved the way for her entrance into film: in 1984, she made her film debut with a bit part in The Flamingo Kid (1984). Three years later, Marisa became known for her role as Maggie Lawton, Lisa Bonet's college roommate, on the sitcom "A Different World" (1987).
Her real breakthrough came in 1992, when she co-starred as Joe Pesci's hilariously foul-mouthed, scene-stealing girlfriend in My Cousin Vinny (1992), a performance that won her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Later that year, she turned up briefly as a snippy Mabel Normand in director Richard Attenborough's biopic Chaplin (1992), and was soon given her first starring role in Untamed Heart (1993). A subsequent starring role -- and attempted makeover into Audrey Hepburn -- in the romantic comedy Only You (1994) proved only moderately successful.
Marisa's other 1994 role as Michael Keaton's hugely pregnant wife in The Paper (1994) was well-received, although the film as a whole was not. Fortunately for Tomei, she was able to rebound the following year with a solid performance as a troubled single mother in Nick Cassavetes Unhook the Stars (1996) which earned her a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She turned in a similarly strong work in Welcome to Sarajevo (1997), and in 1998 did some of her best work in years as the sexually liberated, unhinged cousin of Natasha Lyonne's Vivian Abramowitz in Tamara Jenkins Slums of Beverly Hills (1998). In recent years, Marisa has co-starred with Mel Gibson in the hugely successful romantic comedy What Women Want (2000) and during the 2002 movie award season, she proved her first Best Supporting Actress Oscar win was no fluke when she received her second nomination in the same category for the critically acclaimed dark drama, In the Bedroom (2001).
Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1991" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 43.
Attended Boston University.
Attended Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, New York.
Sister of actor Adam Tomei.
Has a tattoo of the Egyptian Eye of Ra (protection, good luck abundance) on her right foot.
In 2003, she played the title role in a revival of Oscar Wilde's "Salome" in an Actors Workshop production, directed by Estelle Parsons, on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre; co-stars included Al Pacino, Dianne Wiest, and David Strathairn.
She is of Italian descent
Before the 1993 Oscar ceremony, she told "Entertainment Tonight" (1981) that her biggest fear was that she would trip on the steps on her way to the stage. She did.
Revealed to Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" (1996) that she sometimes travels under an Italian passport. (Oct 2004)
Has the same birthday as Tyra Banks, Lindsay Felton and Jeff Bridges.
No relation to Concetta Tomei.
Born on the same day as Chelsea Noble.
Has dual citizenship between America and Italy. She sometimes travels under the Italian passport.
Her mother was an English teacher at Cavallaro Junior High School in Brooklyn, New York.
Attended Mark Twain JHS for the Gifted & Talented