Date of Birth
December 4, 1964

Place of Birth
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

5′ 4½” (1.64 m)

Star Sign

Trade Mark
– Her smile
– Lisp, breathless voice



Tomei was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Adelaide “Addie” (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. Tomei’s parents are both of Italian descent; her father’s ancestors came from Tuscany, Calabria, and Campania; while her mother’s ancestors are from Tuscany and Sicily. She graduated from Edward R. Murrow High School in 1982.
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.

Personal Quotes

– 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)] What didn’t appeal to me was, frankly, New Jersey, naked, winter!
– [on Gena Rowlands] As a young actress I saw her in Opening Night (1977). 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?


– Listed as one of twelve “Promising New Actors of 1991” in John Willis’ Screen World, Vol. 43.
– Older 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 Studio 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. Her family is from Tuscany, Sicily, Campania, and Calabria.
– 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.
– No relation to Concetta Tomei.
– Has dual citizenship between United States and Italy. Revealed to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show (1996) that she sometimes travels under an Italian passport. (Oct 2004)
– Her mother was an English teacher at Cavallaro Junior High School in Brooklyn, New York.
– Auditioned for the role of “Dorothy Boyd” in Jerry Maguire (1996).
– In the early 1990s, she had a relationship with Robert Downey Jr. (her co-star in Chaplin (1992) and Only You (1994)). In 1999, she was with actor Dana Ashbrook and had a relationship with Frank Pugliese. She (as of 2009) now dates actor Logan Marshall-Green, who is twelve years her junior.
– Until Captain America: Civil War (2016), she had never starred in a sequel or a prequel to a film.
– One of People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People 2009.
– Godmother of Zoë Kravitz, daughter of Marisa’s A Different World (1987) co-star Lisa Bonet.
– Turned down the female lead in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) which went to Andie MacDowell.
– While portraying roommates on A Different World (1987), she and co-star Lisa Bonet were roommates in real life.
– Announced in 7 February 2005 edition of New York Times, she has signed to join the cast of Neil LaBute’s “This Is How It Goes” at New York’s Public Theatre, beginning previews, March 8, 2005, co-starring Ben Stiller. [February 2005]
– Has left the cast of “This Is How It Goes”, citing an illness in her family, and will be replaced by Amanda Peet. [March 2005]
– Joins Indian and Pakistani actresses in performances of The Vagina Monologues on a Bombay stage to mark International Women’s Day. [March 2004]
– She, Marcia Gay Harden, Russell Crowe and Adrien Brody are the only actors to win an Oscar without being awarded for the same performance in none of its predecessor awards (Golden Globe, Critics Choice Awards, SAG and BAFTA). She and Marcia Gay Harden were not even nominated for those awards for their performances in My Cousin Vinny (1992) and Pollock (2000), and Crowe’s only award for Gladiator (2000) before the Oscar was the Critics Choice award.
– Considered for the role of “Honey Bunny” in Pulp Fiction (1994). The role went to Amanda Plummer.
– Practices Yoga, Tai Chi & Bellydance.
– Is one of 22 Oscar-winning actresses to have been born in the state of New York.
– Born on the same day as Chelsea Noble.
– After her Oscar win for “My Cousin Vinny”, Tomei was targeted by a bizarre conspiracy theory, pushed mostly by film critic Rex Reed. Reed said that Tomei hadn’t actually won the Oscar, and alternately stated that presenter Jack Palance had read the wrong name off the Oscar broadcast TelePrompter or gotten confused when reading the card listing the Best Supporting Actress winner and said Tomei’s name, instead of that of Vanessa Redgrave or Emma Thompson, because it fell last alphabetically. However, the show’s producers and Price Waterhouse Cooper vote counters said that, if anything, Reed or other anti-Tomei critics noted happened, a PWC representative had orders to go on stage and state both that a mistake had happened and then announce the actual winner.
– Both she and her Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007) co-star Rosemary Harris have played May Parker, the aunt of Peter Parker / Spider-Man, in films based on Marvel Comics: Harris in Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007) and Tomei in Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).

Info taken from Wikipedia and IMDB