Everything You Need to Know about Marisa Tomei

Published on 10/17/2017
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Do we even need to tell you who Oscar winner Marisa Tomei is? She’s starred in countless films and even made appearances on shows like Seinfeld. This is not just her secret weigh loss program, but everything from her big break to marriage preferences. We have gathered all the crucial info on Marisa Tomei including her start and most talked about romances. This Brooklyn native, born December 4, 1964 grew up surrounded by Broadway shows and high-profile actors. So let’s hear what this artistic atmosphere inspired in Marisa Tomei!

Humble Upbringing

With a name like that, you could probably guess she comes from an Italian family. Her loving grandparents helped raise her alongside her parents. Her parents are Gary and Addie Tomei. Gary Tomei’s family came from Calabria, Tuscany and Campania, while her mother’s family was from Tuscany and Sicily. Her father practiced law as a trial attorney, and her mother taught English. Marisa even explored her ancestry on a television show, but we’ll get to that later, along with her take on a weight loss program.

Black And White Headshot

Humble Upbringing

Runs in the Family

Marisa and her brother, Adam, got along famously as children. Even though Adam acts as well, there is no competitiveness between them. The two remain close as they continue to pursue their mutual passion. Since 1994, Adam starred in many movies such as Independence Day, The Truman Show, Lovelace and Fight. Sister Marisa beams with pride when reflecting on Adam’s accomplishments. So did this very talented family breed actors from day one? That’s not quite the case actually.

Marisa And Brother

Runs in the Family

Exploring Higher Education

Despite her interest in acting, Marisa felt unsure if she could achieve a successful acting career in reality . She chose to attend college before making any hasty decisions. Thus, Marisa registered at Boston University. Fortunately for her future fans, she discovered immediately that college was not right for her. After a year, she left school. This allowed her to focus solely on acting. So what was that new journey like?

Young Marisa Floral

Exploring Higher Education

Persevering Through Auditions

Marisa learned about the long and sometimes grueling audition process. Years later when she won an Oscar, she still continued to go through the process. She auditioned for the character Dorothy Boyd in the movie Jerry Maguire but unfortunately did not receive the role. Renee Zellweger went on to play Dorothy, as some may recall. Nonetheless, she persevered which allowed her to dominate the nineties decade.

Young Marisa Red

Young Marisa Red

Taking the Backseat

Before she became the Marisa Tomei we know and love, she struggled a bit in the early part of the nineties. Burnt out, she took the backseat and auditioned for smaller parts. These minor roles included movies like Dirk and Betty, King of the Jungle, The Watcher, Happy Accidents and What Women Want. Tomei continued this pattern until the early years of the 2000s. Even taking a part in Sandler’s Anger Management!

Minor Roles

Taking the Backseat

Combating Controversy

No one eases through Hollywood without some controversy. Tomei butted heads with some of the most powerful people in the business. Saturday Night Live drafted her in to guest host in October 1994. Things turned sour between Tomei and the SNL writers and producers when she asked to pull the sketch she filmed called Good Morning Brooklyn. Tomei feared the skit promoted a negative stereotype of her. Though, since the show is a famously satirical one, many argued that was the point.

SNL

Combating Controversy

Symbolic Tattoo

Did you know this Hollywood sweetheart is inked? On her right foot, Tomei has an ancient Egyptian symbol. The eye of Ra, represents the god’s eye and for the person bearing it, the symbol supposedly protects them and brings luck. Maybe the tattoo is working, considering all of Tomei’s success! So let’s take you back to that first big stroke of luck.

Tattoo

Symbolic Tattoo

Breakout Role

After leaving Boston University, Tomei dedicated all of her time and energy into establishing herself in the entertainment industry. At the young age of twenty, she landed her first part in a film! All of her determination finally paid off. Tomei spoke a few words in the 1984 film, The Flamingo Kid. Despite the small role, this opportunity gave her the chance to decide whether acting was really for her. We all know this spoiler…she loved the world of film! She continued to act in films, but also early on she tried other forms of entertainment. Let’s see where else she lent her talents.

Yearbook Photo

Breakout Role

Time on the Stage

Tomei expanded her horizons far beyond Hollywood blockbusters. She joined the Naked Angels Theater Company back in the 80s to try stage acting. She even won the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut on Stage! Her performance in off-Broadyway’s Daughters won her the honor. While pursuing acting in films and television, Tomei continued working for the theater company, starring in Wait Until Dark, Top Girls and The Realistic Joneses. Not only did she star in plays, tv and film, but she lived with another star!

Theater

Time on the Stage

Famous Roomie

During her time on stage, Tomei also starred in A Different World. Her character, Maggie Lauten, studied at Hillman College, a fictional school with her roommate portrayed by none other than Lisa Bonet! Before Bonet became Denise Huxtable, she actually lived with Tomei during their early years of fame. So Tomei did not have to do much acting then when it came to playing roomies since they lived together at the time.

Roommate Lisa Bonet

Famous Roomie

Academy Award Winner

We all remember cult classic My Cousin Vinny. So we’re sure you remember this was one of Marisa Tomei’s standout roles. In 1992 when she was cast as Mona Lisa Vito many look at this moment as her breakthrough. She won an Academy Award for her role. This marked a sharp turn for Tomei as she transformed from struggling artist to professional award-winning actress. Now with this award to her name, she became even more driven to succeed.

Academy Award

Academy Award Winner

Her Move to Silence

With an Oscar to her name, everyone anticipated big things from Tomei. However, no one suspected her next project would be a silent movie! Rather than starring in another blockbuster, Tomei took the role of Mabel Normand in Chaplin. Robert Downey Jr. played Charlie Chaplin. Tomei was dating him at the time. Even with the surprise choice, Tomei blew away casting directors and fans alike with her dramatic performance. Perhaps this is what helped land her a guest role in a popular television series…

Chaplin

Her Move to Silence

Guest Appearance as Popularity Soars

Tomei made quite the name for herself by 1996. Fans were not the only ones enamored with her. That year, Tomei guest starred twice on the famous sitcom, Seinfeld. She played herself in the episodes. In the show she attracted George Costanza’s attention. After these appearances and opening herself to a wider audience, her fan base grew.

Seinfeld

Guest Appearance as Popularity Soars

Multi-talented Actress

Due to her amazing ability to transform into such a wide range of characters, Tomei is known as one of the most versatile actresses Hollywood has ever seen. This skill helped her land roles in major movies throughout the years. Besides starring in Anger Management and What Women Want, she also acted in Wild Hogs, Parental Guidance, Love the Cooper’s, Crazy Stupid Love and Grown Ups. In the highly acclaimed Marvel movies, Tomei plays Aunt May. These include Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Various Roles

Multi-talented Actress

The Iconic Cassidy

Perhaps her most iconic role was Cassidy in The Wrestler. Cassidy was Mickey Rourke’s love interest and working as a stripper. Playing a stripper meant very different accessories and costume decisions than previous roles. She even appeared topless but with nipple rings. Tomei is firmly against stereotyping strippers. She defended the subculture, calling for understanding as them as individuals.

Cassidy

The Iconic Cassidy

Adapting Aunt May’s Character

We all grew up watching Spiderman or reading the comics, right? Apparently not Marisa Tomei. She boldly auditioned for the part of Aunt May without having a clue about the original character. Although Aunt May was an old and arthritic woman, Marisa’s younger look did not scare away casting directors. Turns out one co-producer spoke out about the choice, claiming they wanted to give Peter Parker an older sister feel with Aunt May in this adaptation. So Tomei in her early 50’s, fit the vision perfectly!

Aunt May

Adapting Aunt May’s Character

Working Alongside Hollywood Legends

Besides receiving countless nominations herself, Tomei has been fortunate to work alongside some big Hollywood stars too. In The Lincoln Lawyer, she stars opposite Matthew McConaughey as his ex-wife. She also worked with another big time Hollywood player, Mel Gibson, when she portrayed the character Lola in What Women Want. She even had a love scene with him.

Lincoln Lawyer

Working Alongside Hollywood Legends

Hollywood Blockbuster

Marisa Tomei got to star in everyone’s favorite Crazy Stupid Love! Not only was the movie hilarious and amazing, but imagine getting to star alongside Steve Carrel, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling! Don’t forget Josh Groban and Kevin Bacon too. What a fun group to work with on set. From dropping out of college to pursue her dreams to working with heartthrob Ryan Gosling, we would definitely say Tomei made it in Hollywood!

Crazy Stupid Love

Hollywood Blockbuster

Uncovering Family Mysteries

Ever wish you could unravel dark secrets in your family’s past? Marisa Tomei got to do just that when she appeared on an episode of NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? in 2012. With questions about her great-grandfather, she flew to Tuscany and Elba to uncover the truth. Her great-grandfather, Francesco Leopoldo Bianchi was murdered in 1910! It sounded like a real life game of Clue for Tomei! Apparently her great-grandfather was shot in a Tuscan bar. She uncovered the reason was that he had owed someone money or was caught having an affair.

Ancestry Show

Uncovering Family Mysteries

Fitness Plan

Everyone is dying to know if Tomei has a secret weight loss program or fitness plan. How does she stay so fit and in shape? Well, it is not an intense weight loss program. In fact, Tomei told Vogue in 2012, that she never does strenuous exercise, but rather, she works out using fun with loved ones as her only goal. She partakes in Tai Chi, yoga and hula hooping classes to maintain her fun goals! Now that’s a healthy way to create a fitness plan.

Juice

Fitness Plan

Gaga for Marisa!

Superstar Lady Gaga can’t get enough of Tomei either! Gaga is so enamored with the star that she has even expressed her wishes that Tomei play her if there is ever a biographical film. Hearing this really pleased Tomei since she adores Gaga and her work. Their mutual crushing over each other and their respective work is too cute!

With Lady Gaga

Gaga for Marisa!

Comedy Nomination

With talents spanning way beyond her silent film role and drama, Tomei has proved herself as a comedy star in numerous films. She was even nominated for the American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress for her part in Slums of Beverly Hills. She played Rita Abromowitz in the comedy hit. Audiences went wild over the air-headed character she portrayed in such a realistic manner!

Slums Of Beverly Hills

Comedy Nomination

Latest Projects

Showing no signs of stopping anytime soon, Marisa has really paved the way for herself in Hollywood. Playing Aunt May in the new Marvel films is not the only thing she has been up to lately. She recently finished filming Behold My Heart. Tomei plays the lead in this film that is set to release in 2018. So when and where can we buy our tickets?

Spiderman

Latest Projects

Reflecting on Accomplishments

It’s always interesting to hear actresses’ favorite roles and most memorable moments. Tomei is extremely grateful for all her success. When reflecting on all of that success she names her guest appearance on Seinfeld as one of her proudest moments. She remembers asking Larry David why she was selected, and he didn’t just pick her for her impressive acting skills. He apparently loved her rhythmic sounding name. Well that’s the first time we’ve heard of her name landing her the role, but hey, whatever works!

Seinfeld 2

Reflecting on Accomplishments

Countless Nominations

The world can’t stop celebrating this amazing woman! Her award nominations are proof of this undying admiration. Her nomination for the Favorite Supporting Actress in a comedy or romance came in 2001 during the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. She was nominated for her appearance in What Women Want. Let’s not forget her nomination for that same award at the 2001 Golden Satellite Awards. You go Tomei!

Screengrab From Movie

Countless Nominations

Workaholic

Due to the nature of her busy career, Tomei rarely takes breaks from the Hollywood scene. She acknowledges her workaholic nature, which caused her to sacrifice traditional life choices. Some speculate this is to blame for her lack of husband, children or social life. Though Marisa Tomei never actively pursued that course, instead we are blessed to have all the outstanding work she has put so much time and energy into!

Pink Top

Workaholic

Net Worth

No one can wipe that amazing smile off Tomei’s face. After working her way up in the industry since the late eighties, she has reached worldwide acclaim. Over her four decades of hard work she has earned a $20 million net worth. College drop-out doesn’t sound so bad now!

Laughing Pic

Net Worth

High Profile Romances

Besides starring alongside him in the Marvel films and four other films, Marisa Tomei famously dated Robert Downey Jr during the late nineties. After their relationship ended, she was rumored to be dating another huge Hollywood name. Actually, though she tries to keep her love life private, the public has always been very interested. Next, we will talk about some of these other stars she dated.

With Robert Downey Jr

High Profile Romances

Dana Ashbrook

You may know Dana Ashbrook from his roles in Twin Peaks, Return of the Living Dead, Waxwork and She’s Out of Control. Once things ended with superstar Downey Jr, Tomei was linked to Ashbrook. Though, the media rarely cuaught the two together because as stated, Marisa keeps her low life pretty quiet.

Dana Ashbrook

Dana Ashbrook

Frank Pugliese

In the early 2000s, Tomei enjoyed a four year relationship with fellow Italian Frank Pugliese. Pugliese is known in Hollywood as an artistic director and TV writer. Again, as most of her relationships, they kept pretty low key and did not appear together in the media often. The next rumors of romance may surprise you.

Frank Pugliese

Frank Pugliese

Uncomfortable Rumors

Despite the awkward familial connection, rumors spread that Lenny Kravitz and Marisa were dating. Again, this was despite the fact that her former roommate Lisa Bonet had married Kravitz. Oh, and did we mention they named Tomei the godmother of their children? So, back in 2004 these pretty awkward rumors spread about the two seeing each other. Yikes!

Uncomfortable Rumors

Uncomfortable Rumors

Logan Marshall Green

Next up, we have Tomei’s five year relationship with Logan Marshall Green of Prometheus. Back in 2008, the media began talking about this new relationship. Off and on for five years, Marisa felt the media intensely watching since Green was twelve years younger than her. Even though she made her marriage stance more than clear, which we will get to, rumors flew about engagement. However, now Logan is happily married to another woman.

Logan Marshall Green

Logan Marshall Green

Josh Radnor

After dating Logan, Marisa was linked to Josh Radnor. The How I Met Your Mother star begam dating Marisa since 2014. Though Marisa attempted to keep things on the down low, the media found out about her loving couple of months with this Hollywood actor.

Josh Radnor

Josh Radnor

People’s Magazine

Well, we all know that fans cannot get enough of Marisa Tomei for her talent, but fans also praised her beauty. Back in 2009, she won herself a place on the list of Most Beautiful People Alive for People Magazine. On top of that, she placed at 18 for FHM’s 100 Sexiest Females in the World in 2009, as well.

Peoples Magazine

Peoples Magazine

Making Career Choices

As we’ve discussed, Tomei has made very strategic choices throughout her career. In fact, she chose to turn down the lead in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral(1994). After she turned the role down it went to the actress Andie MacDowell.

Making Career Choices

Making Career Choices

Easy Travels

A perk of being multi-national, Tomei has more than just an American passport. In fact, she confessed to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show when she appeared on an episode in 1996, that she often uses her other passport to travel. Which passport you ask, well her Italian one of course!

Easy Travels

Easy Travels

Wilde Revival

As we have said, it was not always exclusively Hollywood original movie roles for this star. As recently as 2003, Tomei starred in a revival of the famous author Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” on Broadway. Did you know her costars included Al Pacino, Dianne Wiest and David Strathairn?

Wilde Revival

Wilde Revival

Jinxed It

I guess you need to think twice before you share a fear aloud! Apparently, Tomei spoke with “Entertainment Tonight” before the 1993 Oscars and confessed one of her biggest fears for the show. She was afraid of tripping on the steps…and she actually tripped! Oh no! Don’t worry, she survived.

Jinxed It

Jinxed It

Hard Worker

Marisa wasn’t always the hugely successful actress we know today. In fact, she began waitressing at Tony Romas around six hours weekly to support herself before her career skyrocketed.

Hard Worker

Hard Worker

Oscar Fiasco

Rumors of a mistake circulated after Tomei won the 1993 Oscar for My Cousin Vinny. Many questioned whether Jack Palance read out her name accidently. It has since been confirmed she was the rightful winner, but people still wonder. Oscar fiasco aside, there is no doubting this woman’s enormous talent and all of her many accomplishments through the years.

Oscar

Oscar Fiasco

Biggest Successes

Tomei has truly accomplished so many amazing things in her career. We’re sure it isn’t easy to keep track. So, just to give you a short list. These are her most successful projects, at the box office that is: Wild Hogs, Parental Guidance, What Women Want and Anger Management.

Biggest Successes

Biggest Successes

Best Kiss

Tomei and Christian Slater sure give Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling a run for their money! Tomei and Slater won the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss from their roles in Untamed Heart.

Best Kiss

Best Kiss

Cartoon Appearance

If you’re a big Simpsons fan, maybe you recall movie star Sara Sloane. Sloane falls in love with Ned Flanders. Well, it was none other than Tomei voicing Sanders!

Cartoon Appearance

Cartoon Appearance

Keeping Busy

Back in 2002, Tomei had a busy year. Now only did she star in The Guru, a Hollywood inspired movie, she also voiced for The Wild Thornberrys Movie. If you recall the movie, she voiced Bree Blackburn, who was the main antagonist.

Keeping Busy

Keeping Busy

Hanes Ad

Maybe you remember this ad campaign. Back in 2005, Tomei was featured in the Hanes campaign with the slogan “Look who we’ve got our Hanes on now.” Cute! Not to mention other big name celebrities also joined in the fun like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Michael Jordan and even Matthew Perry.

Hanes Ad

Hanes Ad

Pulp Fiction

Can you picture this…instead of Amanda Plummer in Pulp Fiction, Marisa Tomei as “Honey Bunny?” Well, neither could the casting directors. Apparently, they considered Tomei for the role, but then decided against it. Interesting.

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction

International Women’s Day Festivities

What a way to celebrate International Women’s Day! Tomei paired with both Indian and Pakistani actresses for an amazing performance of The Vagina Monogues in Bombay. Can she get any cooler?

International Womens Day Festivities

International Women’s Day Festivities

Sibling Bonding

Remember how we told you her brother acts as well? Well, the siblings got to work on a project together! How fun! They starred in My Own Country together, a 1998 Showtime drama.

Sibling Bonding

Sibling Bonding

Prep For The Wrestler

As you know, Marisa Tomei has her own tattoo on her foot. However, in order to prep for her role in The Wrestler, she needed to get a number of fake tattoos. All the prep was surely worth it. She was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Prep For The Wrestler

Prep For The Wrestler

Biological Clock

Screenwriter Dale Launer shared some riveting details about My Counsin Vinny in an interview. Apparently, Tomei’s famous scene about her biological clock was not in the script’s first draft. However, the president of the studio asked for an additional scene where Mona Lisa complains about not getting attention. Launer was hesitant, fearing this could be an overdone cliche, but then he used the extra scene to give more depth to Tomei’s character.

Biological Clock

Biological Clock

Saved Her Character

Furthermore, Launer revealed that initially the studio was going to cut Tomei’s character from the film. Yeah, they were ready to wave goodbye to Mona Lisa completely. Then, with that biological clock scene, Tomei saved the character! Thankfully, or things wouldn’t be the same!

Saved Her Character

Saved Her Character

School Musical

During her time at Andries Hudde Junior High School Marisa Tomei landed herself quite the role in the school musical. She played Hedy LaRue in her junior high’s performance of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Wow, we would have loved to watch her budding talent at such a young age!

School Musical

School Musical

Cyrus

In 2010, Tomei got to work alongside two amazing comedians! She starred in the Duplass brother’s film Cyrus alongside Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly.If you haven’t already, we highly recommend you watch this hysterical movie!

Cyrus

Cyrus

Empire Role

Where are all my Empire fans at? Yeah, you know that Marisa Tomei had a recurring role back in 2015. For those of you who don’t watch…Tomei played Mimi Whiteman, a lesbian finance tycoon. Critics loved her in the role of Whiteman. Does that even surprise us though?

Empire Role

Empire Role

Marriage Isn’t for Her

Throughout her years in the limelight, Tomei has dated some big Hollywood stars. Robert Downey Jr., Josh Radnor and Logan Marshall-Green are among the few, but we’ll get into that soon. Although she’s had plenty of high profile romances, none have led to marriage. In fact, she feels no need to tie the knot with anyone. Tomei is not afraid to declare her distaste for the institution of marriage.

Award Event Headshot

Marriage Isn’t for Her

No Children for Marisa

As far as children go, she is not one who fantasizes about a house full of her own. She stands up for women who are made to feel inferior because they choose not to have children, such as herself. So marriage and children are not in her future, but we sure hope for more films! Also, we guess it’s more than enough to be the godmother of a talent like Zoë Kravitz!

No Children For Marisa

No Children For Marisa

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