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' (qv). As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech so as to eliminate her heavy Brooklyn accent. As a teen, Marisa attended 'Edward R. Murrow' (qv) 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)_ (qv). 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)_ (qv). Three years later, Marisa became known for her role as "Maggie Lawton", 'Lisa Bonet' (qv)'s college roommate, on the sitcom _"A Different World" (1987)_ (qv). Her real breakthrough came in 1992, when she co-starred as 'Joe Pesci' (qv)'s hilariously foul-mouthed, scene-stealing girlfriend in _My Cousin Vinny (1992)_ (qv), a performance that won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Later that year, she turned up briefly as a snippy "Mabel Normand" in director 'Richard Attenborough' (qv)'s biopic, _Chaplin (1992)_ (qv), and was soon given her first starring role in _Untamed Heart (1993)_ (qv). A subsequent starring role -- and attempted makeover into 'Audrey Hepburn (I)' (qv) -- in the romantic comedy, _Only You (1994)_ (qv), with 'Robert Downey Jr.' (qv) proved only moderately successful. Marisa's other 1994 role as 'Michael Keaton' (qv)'s hugely pregnant wife in _The Paper (1994)_ (qv) 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' (qv) _Unhook the Stars (1996)_ (qv), which earned her a Screen Actors Guild nomination. Also in 1996, she made a famous guest appearance on the popular sitcom, _"Seinfeld" (1990)_ (qv), as herself. She turned in a similarly strong work in _Welcome to Sarajevo (1997)_ (qv) and, in 1998, did some of her best work in years as a sexually liberated, unhinged woman in _Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)_ (qv). Marisa co-starred with 'Mel Gibson (I)' (qv) in the hugely successful romantic comedy, _What Women Want (2000)_ (qv), and, during the 2002 movie award season, she proved her first Oscar win was no fluke when she was nominated a second time for the critically-acclaimed dark drama, _In the Bedroom (2001)_ (qv). Fresh off her second Oscar nomination, Marisa began acting in more mainstream films, but only a couple of them stuck out. She appeared in the ensemble romantic comedy, _Someone Like You... (2001)_ (qv), with 'Ashley Judd' (qv), 'Hugh Jackman' (qv), and 'Greg Kinnear' (qv), then in _The Guru (2002)_ (qv) and the animated feature, _The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002)_ (qv). She returned to prominence in the hit comedy, _Anger Management (2003)_ (qv), with 'Adam Sandler (I)' (qv), alongside 'Jack Nicholson (I)' (qv) and performed "The Vagina Monologues" onstage in 2004. That same year, she appeared opposite 'Jude Law' (qv) in a remake of _Alfie (2004)_ (qv). Also in 2004, she also made a guest appearance on the animated TV phenomenon, _"The Simpsons" (1989)_ (qv), as "Sara Sloane", a movie star who falls in love with "Ned Flanders". In 2006, she went on to do 4 episodes for _"Rescue Me" (2004)_ (qv). She played "Angie", the ex-wife of "Tommy Calvin" ('Denis Leary' (qv))'s brother, "Johnny" ('Dean Winters' (qv)). The following year, she starred as a sexy bar owner in the comedy, _Wild Hogs (2007)_ (qv), alongside 'John Travolta' (qv), 'Tim Allen (I)' (qv), 'Martin Lawrence (I)' (qv) and 'William H. Macy' (qv). The film was a huge box-office hit, and later that year, at age 42, Marisa took on a provocative role in legendary filmmaker 'Sidney Lumet' (qv)'s melodramatic picture, _Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)_ (qv). Usually modest, Marisa did several nude scenes with her costars, 'Ethan Hawke' (qv) and 'Philip Seymour Hoffman' (qv), including a racy sex scene with Hoffman. After working on _War, Inc. (2008)_ (qv) with 'John Cusack' (qv), Marisa then took on another provocative role as an aging stripper in the highly-acclaimed film, _The Wrestler (2008)_ (qv), opposite 'Mickey Rourke' (qv). Her great performance earned her many awards from numerous film societies for Best Supporting Actress, a third Academy Award nomination, as well as nominations for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. Many critics heralded this performance as a standout in her career.
- I don't prefer much of film over stage... The only thing I prefer is the paycheck.
- Singing really oxygenates your blood. You stretch your lungs and take in much more air into them than before. It's really good for your health.
- I feel like theatre gives me the grounding, and keeps me alive, basically. Film gives me the thrill, and it's like a one night stand. But I do enjoy being around people who love it so much.
- [on marriage and starting her own family] I'm not that big a fan of marriage as an institution and I don't know why women need to have children to be seen as complete human beings.
- [on her role in _The Wrestler (2008)_ (qv)] What didn't appeal to me was, frankly, New Jersey, naked, winter!
- [on 'Gena Rowlands' (qv)] As a young actress I saw her in _Opening Night (1977)_ (qv). She was so larger-than-life, yet her performances are so detailed- no color is left out. She's ferocious, beautiful, elegant, compassionate, funny, sexy. A broad in the best sense of the word - that's what I aspire to be.
- [on pole dancing] It's really physically hard! That pole work is crazy hard; to be really good on that pole and you have to be really strong.
- [on being nude in films] I definitely feel like I didn't want to do that kind of thing when I was younger because I didn't think that it was something a serious actress would do, in a way there is validity to that. It's harder to be taken seriously when you're younger, doing that but I've also come to a point of being able to handle the reaction to it - that probably would have been more difficult when I was younger.
- You can't really be old in L.A., it's kind of like a crime.
- (1996) I think the fantasy of being a movie star is more powerful than the reality. So, for me, even if it's not a great film or a great play I'm doing, to know that you went for it. You had an experience that made you grow artistically and personally. What's really satisfying is knowing that you did a good job.
- (1996) When I was first starting, I went to an agent who told me, 'Listen, you'll be lucky if you do summer stock. Pack it up.' Once in a while I think about him, but I'm happy with myself. So, what does he matter?