Date of Birth: December 4th 1964
Born 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 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 Flamingo Kid, The (1984). Three years later Marisa became known for her role as Maggie Lawton, Lisa Bonet's college roommate, on the sitcom "Different World, A" (1987).
Her real breakthrough came in 1992, when she costarred 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 Paper, The (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).