Tomei at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival.
December 4, 1964 |
Brooklyn, New York, United States
In a career spanning three decades, Tomei had initial success in films as a young actress, followed by a series of unsuccessful films, then a resurgence with a series of universally acclaimed films. Eventually, she was acknowledged as one of the finest actresses of her generation and received many awards and nominations. Following her work on the television series As the World Turns, she came to prominence as a cast member on The Cosby Show spinoff A Different World in 1987. After having minor roles in a few films, she came to international attention in 1992 with the comedy My Cousin Vinny, for which she received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Of the many films in which Tomei has appeared, her most commercially successful ones to date are What Women Want (2000), Anger Management (2003), Wild Hogs (2007), and Parental Guidance (2012), all of which have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. She received critical acclaim for her performances in films such as Untamed Heart (1993), The Paper (1994), Unhook the Stars (1996), Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), In the Bedroom (2001) (for which she received her second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), The Wrestler (2008) (for which she received her third Academy Award nomination), Cyrus (2010), and Love Is Strange (2014).
Tomei has also done substantial work in theater. She was formerly involved with the Naked Angels Theatre Company and received acclaim for her performance in plays like Daughters (1986), Wait Until Dark (1998), Top Girls (2008), for which she received a nomination for Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, and The Realistic Joneses (2014), for which she received a special award at Drama Desk Awards.
Tomei was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Patricia Adelaide "Addie" Tomei (née Bianchi), an English teacher, and Gary A. Tomei, a trial lawyer. She has a younger brother, actor Adam Tomei, and was partly raised by her paternal grandparents, Rita and Romeo Tomei. Tomei's parents are both of Italian descent; her maternal grandmother is from Sicily, her maternal grandfather is from Tuscany, and her father is also of Tuscan descent.
Tomei grew up in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn. While there, she became captivated by the Broadway shows to which her theater-loving parents took her and was drawn to acting as a career. At Andries Hudde Junior High School, she played Hedy LaRue in a school production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. After graduating from Edward R. Murrow High School in 1982, she attended Boston University for a year.
Tomei followed up As the World Turns in 1986 with a role on the sitcom A Different World as Maggie Lauten during the first season. Her film debut was a minor role in the 1984 comedy film The Flamingo Kid, in which she played Mandy, a waitress. She only had one line in the entire film. During this phase, she made her stage debut in 1987 at the age of 22 with the off-Broadway play Daughters, in which she played Cetta. The role earned her rave reviews and the Theatre World Award for outstanding debut on stage.
Breakthrough, Oscar controversy, and Tumble
Following several small films, Tomei came to international prominence with her comedic performance in the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny, for which she received critical praise. Critic Vincent Canby wrote, "Ms. Tomei gives every indication of being a fine comedian, whether towering over Mr. Pesci and trying to look small, or arguing about a leaky faucet in terms that demonstrate her knowledge of plumbing. Mona Lisa is also a first-rate auto mechanic, which comes in handy in the untying of the knotted story." For her performance, Tomei was named Best Supporting Actress at the 1993 Academy Awards, prevailing over Miranda Richardson, Joan Plowright, Vanessa Redgrave and Judy Davis. American film critic Rex Reed created controversy (and a minor Hollywood myth) when he suggested that Jack Palance had announced the wrong name after opening the envelope. While this allegation was repeatedly disproved – even the Academy officially denied it – Tomei called the story "extremely hurtful." A Price Waterhouse accountant explained that if such an event had occurred, "we have an agreement with the Academy that one of us would step on stage, introduce ourselves, and say the presenter misspoke."
After her Oscar win, Tomei appeared as silent film star Mabel Normand in the film Chaplin, with her then-boyfriend Robert Downey Jr. playing the title character. The following year she starred in the romantic drama Untamed Heart with Christian Slater, for which they won the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss. Tomei had won the previous year for Best Breakthrough Performance for My Cousin Vinny. The following year Tomei appeared alongside Downey again in the romantic comedy Only You. She then appeared in Nick Cassavetes's Unhook the Stars. Of Tomei's performance, The New York Times wrote, "Ms. Tomei is equally fine as Mildred's younger, hot-tempered neighbor, whose raw working-class feistiness and bluntly profane vocabulary initially repel the genteel older woman." She received her first Screen Actor's Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Female Supporting Actor for her performance. In 1998, she received an American Comedy Award nomination for Funniest Supporting Actress for Tamara Jenkins's cult film Slums of Beverly Hills. The independent film was well received by critics and the public. The New York Times writes, "Jenkins makes the most of an especially ingratiating cast, with Ms. Tomei very charming and funny as Rita" while another critic states Tomei is "spunky and sexy... more subdued than she usually is." Tomei spent several years away from high-profile roles and major motion pictures in the late 1990s, before rising again to prominence in the early 2000s.
During the 1990s, Tomei made several television appearances. In 1996, she made a guest appearance on the sitcom Seinfeld, playing herself in the two-part episode "The Cadillac." In the episode, George Constanza attempts to get a date with her through a friend of Elaine Benes. She also made an appearance on The Simpsons as movie star Sara Sloane, who falls in love with Ned Flanders. Former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Mohr wrote in his book Gasping for Airtime that, as guest host in October 1994, Tomei insisted that a proposed sketch, "Good Morning Brooklyn," not be used because she did not like the idea of being stereotyped; that stand displeased the writers and performers, given the show's penchant for satirizing celebrities. Tomei did however, parody her role from My Cousin Vinny, which had considerable Brooklyn influence, in a skit (out of several recurring) spoofing the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial.
Resurgence and success
Tomei appeared in the 2000 film What Women Want, which was a commercial success, and had a supporting role in the romantic comedy Someone Like You. In 2001, Tomei appeared in Todd Field's Best Picture nominee In the Bedroom, earning several awards including a ShoWest Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2002. Variety wrote, "Tomei is winning in what is surely her most naturalistic and unaffected performance," while The New York Times writer Stephen Holden exclaimed, "Ms. Tomei's ruined, sorrowful Natalie is easily her finest screen role." In the Bedroom earned Tomei a second Academy Award nomination and her first Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Tomei also shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast. In 2002 she appeared in the Bollywood-inspired film The Guru and voiced the role of Bree Blackburn, the main antagonist in the animated feature film The Wild Thornberrys Movie.
In 2003, Tomei appeared in one of her biggest commercial hits, Anger Management. The following year, she appeared in the film Alfie based on the 1966 British film of the same name. In 2005, she was featured in an ad campaign for Hanes with the slogan "Look who we've got our Hanes on now", featuring various other celebrities including Michael Jordan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Matthew Perry. In 2006, Tomei had a recurring role on Rescue Me, playing Johnny Gavin's ex-wife Angie. She won a Gracie Allen Award for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work in the four episodes she appeared in. The following year, she appeared in the comedy Wild Hogs. The film was the 13th highest-grossing movie of 2007 ($168,273,550 domestic box office). She also starred in the Sidney Lumet-directed Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. The film was released to critical acclaim.
In 2008, Tomei played Cassidy/Pam, a struggling stripper, in the Darren Aronofsky film The Wrestler. She appeared in several nude dance numbers in the film. On working with Tomei, Aronofsky said, "This role shows how courageous and brave Marisa is. And ultimately she's really sexy. We knew nudity was a big part of the picture, and she wanted to be that exposed and vulnerable." Numerous critics heralded this performance as a standout in her career. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Tomei delivers one of her most arresting performances, again without any trace of vanity." Ty Burr of The Boston Globe wrote, "Tomei gives a brave and scrupulously honest performance, one that's most naked when Pam has her clothes on." Variety exclaimed, "Tomei is in top, emotionally forthright form as she charts a life passage similar to Ram's." For her performance she was nominated for her first BAFTA, second Golden Globe and third Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2010, Tomei appeared in two films: a comedy-drama, Cyrus and a comedy, Grown Ups. Tomei hosted the 2011 Scientific and Technical Awards, which was followed by an appearance at the 83rd Academy Awards. She starred in the mystery suspense film The Lincoln Lawyer. She also appeared in Salvation Boulevard, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Tomei's other 2011 films included Crazy, Stupid, Love. and the George Clooney film The Ides of March. She is in talks to star in the indie comedy Married and Cheating. In an interview, Lady Gaga stated that she would want Tomei to portray her in a film about the singer. Tomei responded, "I was thrilled when I heard. I love her. I love her music. And she's an awesome businesswoman. So I was so touched, really. I think it's incredible that she likes my work and that she'd think of me."
Tomei was featured in the second episode of the third season of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, on February 10, 2012. In the episode, she traveled to the Tuscany region of Italy and to the island of Elba (part of Tuscany) to uncover the truth about the 100-year-old murder of her great-grandfather, Francesco Leopoldo Bianchi, on her mother's side of the family.
|1984||Flamingo Kid, TheThe Flamingo Kid||Mandy|
|1984||Toxic Avenger, TheThe Toxic Avenger||Health Club Girl||Uncredited|
|1986||Playing for Keeps||Tracy|
|1992||My Cousin Vinny||Mona Lisa Vito|
|1994||Only You||Faith Corvatch|
|1994||Paper, TheThe Paper||Martha Hacket|
|1995||Perez Family, TheThe Perez Family||Dorita Evita Perez|
|1996||Unhook the Stars||Monica Warren|
|1997||Brother's Kiss, AA Brother's Kiss||Missy|
|1997||Welcome to Sarajevo||Nina|
|1998||Slums of Beverly Hills||Rita Abromowitz|
|1998||My Own Country||Mattie Vines||Television film|
|2000||Happy Accidents||Ruby Weaver|
|2000||Watcher, TheThe Watcher||Dr. Polly Beilman|
|2000||What Women Want||Lola|
|2000||King of the Jungle||Det. Costello|
|2000||Dirk and Betty||Paris|
|2001||In the Bedroom||Natalie Strout|
|2001||Someone Like You||Liz|
|2002||Wild Thornberrys Movie, TheThe Wild Thornberrys Movie||Bree Blackburn||Voice|
|2002||Just a Kiss||Paula|
|2002||Guru, TheThe Guru||Lexi|
|2005||Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School||Meredith Morrison|
|2007||Grace Is Gone||Woman at Pool|
|2007||Rich Inner Life of Penelope Cloud, TheThe Rich Inner Life of Penelope Cloud||Penelope Cloud||Television film|
|2007||Before the Devil Knows You're Dead||Gina Hanson|
|2008||War, Inc.||Natalie Hegalhuzen|
|2008||Wrestler, TheThe Wrestler||Cassidy / Pam|
|2011||Lincoln Lawyer, TheThe Lincoln Lawyer||Margaret McPherson|
|2011||Salvation Boulevard||Honey Foster|
|2011||Crazy, Stupid, Love.||Kate|
|2011||Ides of March, TheThe Ides of March||Ida Horowicz|
|2014||Love Is Strange||Kate|
|2014||The Rewrite||Holly Carpenter|
|2014||Loitering With Intent|
|2016||The Big Short||Filming|
|1983–1985||As the World Turns||Marcy Thompson|
|1987||ABC Afterschool Special||Noelle Crandall||Episode: "Supermom's Daughter"|
|1987||Leg Work||Donna Ricci||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1987||Different World, AA Different World||Maggie Lauten||21 episodes|
|1996||Seinfeld||Herself||Episode: "The Cadillac"|
|1998||Since You've Been Gone||Tori||Uncredited|
|2003||Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons||Sara Sloane||Voice
Episode: "A Star Is Born Again"
|2006||Rescue Me||Angie Gavin||4 episodes|
|2012||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Herself||Episode: "Ed Helms Wears A Grey Shirt & Brown Boots"|
- 1986: Daughters as Cetta
- 1987: Beirut as Blue
- 1988: What The Butler Saw as Geraldine Barclay
- 1992: The Comedy of Errors as Adriana
- 1994: Slavs! as Katherine Serafima Gleb
- 1996: Dark Rapture as Julie
- 1996: Demonology as Gina
- 1998: Wait Until Dark as Susy Hendrix
- 2003: Salomé as Salome
- 2008: Top Girls as Isabella Bird/Joyce/Mrs. Kidd
- 2011: Marie and Bruce as Marie
- 2014: The Realistic Joneses as Pony Jones
|2010||Core and Curves||Herself||Exercise video|
Awards and nominations
- "Marisa Tomei Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
- "Marisa Tomei". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
- "Marisa Tomei Biography.". Tiscali.co.uk. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
- Stated on Who Do You Think You Are?, February 10, 2012
- "Maris Tomei Biography. Yahoo! Movies". Yahoo!. December 4, 1964. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
- Euvino, Gabrielle. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Italian History and Culture. Alpha Books, 2002. ISBN 0-02-864234-1.
- "Film professor researches how female stardom links to American views on immigration and ethnicity". University of North Texas. October 25, 2001.
- Collins, Glenn. "Actress's Challenge in Change of Pace and Diction", The New York Times, August 10, 1992. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
- "UP AND COMING: Marisa Tomei; She's Straight Out of Brooklyn". The New York Times. March 22, 1992. Retrieved May 29, 2010.
- Canby, Vincent (March 13, 1992). "My Cousin Vinny (1992) Review". The New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- Roger Ebert Movie Answer Man: the questions that will not die, August 27, 2000
- Diane Negra, Off-white Hollywood: American culture and ethnic female stardom Routledge, 2001, ISBN 0-415-21678-8, p. 160
- Richard Roeper Urban Legends: The Truth Behind All Those Deliciously Entertaining Myths That Are Absolutely, Positively, 100% Not True, Career Press, 2000,ISBN 1-56414-418-6, p. 127
- Truth and rumors: the reality behind TV's most famous myths. Google. December 2007. ISBN 978-0-275-99247-7. Retrieved May 29, 2010.
- Roger Ebert, Movie Answer Man, June 15, 1997
- "Marisa Tomei Awarded Oscar by Mistake?". snopes.com. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
- "Marisa Tomei on 'The Wrestler' and that weird, pesky rumor that she didn't really win the Oscar for 'Vinny'". Los Angeles Times. December 15, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2010.
- Roger Ebert, Movie Answer Man
- Young, Josh (March 6, 2002). "Return Tomei". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- Holden, Stephen The New York Times November 1, 1996 Unhook the Stars (1996) Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- Rotten Tomatoes Slums of Beverly Hills review
- Maslin, Janet (August 14, 1998). "The Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- Levy, Emanuel (May 24, 1998). "Slums of Beverly Hills". Variety. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- Richard Schickel, The Appeal of Her Zeal, Time, May 18, 2002
- Mohr, Jay (June 9, 2004). Gasping For Airtime: Two Years In the Trenches of Saturday Night Live. Hyperion. ISBN 1-4013-0006-5.
- McCarthy, Todd (January 22, 2001). "In the Bedroom". Variety. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- Holden, Stephen (November 23, 2001). "In the Bedroom (2001)". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2001.
- Freydkin, Donna (December 21, 2008). "Marisa Tomei: A no-holds-barred acting job in 'Wrestler'". USA Today. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- Farber, Stephen (September 5, 2008). "Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- Burr, Ty The Boston Globe December 25, 2008 The Wrestler film review Retrieved February 1, 2011.
- McCarthy, Todd September 5, 2008 Variety The Wrestler Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- "BELIEFS : Stars lined up for elaborate audio Bible : Michael York, Jason Alexander and many others gave voice to a 79-CD reading of Old and New Testaments".
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Press Release February 12, 2011 Marisa Tomei to Host Academy's Sci-Tech Awards Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "Marisa Tomei and Sarah Jessica Parker Are 'Married and Cheating'". First Showing. March 13, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- "There's no questioning Tomei's acting range". The Charlotte Observer. March 17, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- "First look at Marisa Tomei on NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are(VIDEO)". Unreality TV. February 6, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- "(official studio site)". ToxicAvenger. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marisa Tomei.|
- Marisa Tomei at the Internet Movie Database
- Marisa Tomei at the Internet Broadway Database
- Marisa Tomei at the Internet Off-Broadway Database