Marisa Tomei has long had a reputation as one of the best and most beautiful actresses in all of Hollywood. Whether she was seen in big-budget films or artsy independent pictures, she has always seemed to steal the show with remarkable performances. Behind the scenes, Marisa is somewhat of a mystery. Is it true that she has never been married and doesn’t want kids? What’s the deal with the Oscars controversy? Read on to learn more about this wickedly talented actress.
Before Stardom: Marisa’s Early Life
Marisa is a New York City girl that was born and raised in Brooklyn. It’s no surprise that a young lady raised in the city where actors and actresses go to become stage stars would fall in love with theater. Marisa was encouraged early on to love acting, as her parents often took her to Broadway shows. In high school, she began acting on stage in productions such as How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. She instantly knew what she wanted to do with her life.
Marisa’s Italian Heritage
One thing about Marisa Tomei that isn’t exactly a secret is the fact that she is the product of Italian ancestry. Her father’s ancestry can be traced back to Tuscany, Campania and Calabria, while her mother’s goes back to Sicily and Tuscany. Her parents had modest jobs, as her father was a trial lawyer and her mother an English teacher. Her grandparents also played a huge part in her childhood.
Adam Tomei, Marisa’s Brother
Marisa wasn’t the only person in the Tomei family to catch the acting bug. Marisa’s brother, Adam Tomei, is a successful actor himself. You may recognize him from his roles in such films as Independence Day and The Truman Show. He has been in the business since 1994, and while he isn’t the household name that his sister Marisa is, he has also had success in writing, directing, and producing.
The College Student
Like many future Hollywood actors and actresses, Marisa Tomei gave the college life a brief try. She went to Boston University for a year, but afterward decided to leave as the college experience wasn’t for her. She instead decided that it would be best to put all of her efforts into developing a career in acting. She had no idea that her career would turn out to be such a success, but she was determined to give it a shot.
Almost in Jerry Maguire
Can you imagine Marisa Tomei in Jerry Maguire playing opposite Tom Cruise? Believe it or not, it almost happened! Marisa was considered for the role, although it ultimately went to Renee Zellweger, who used her performance to become a star. As for Marisa, it’s pretty clear at this point that losing out on the role did not have a negative long-term impact on her career.
Taking a Break From the Spotlight
After making quite a name for herself in Hollywood, Marisa Tomei decided to take a break from leading roles in major films for a few years. She never stopped acting, however, but she did a number of supporting roles and appeared in independent films, as well. Her roles during this period included King of the Jungle, The Watcher, and Happy Accidents. She returned to the spotlight with her role in Anger Management.
Backstage Problems on Saturday Night Live
During the height of her rise to fame in the mid-1990s, Marisa Tomei was given the honor of guest hosting Saturday Night Live. Her performance was well-received, but there was one tiny snag that occurred backstage during the lead up to the show. Marisa was supposed to appear in a sketch where she’d play a stereotypical Brooklyn woman, but didn’t like the idea. The writers weren’t happy, as they said that playing off of stereotypes was what would make the sketch funny.
What’s Up With Her Tattoo?
Unlike a lot of celebrities these days, Marisa doesn’t really have visible tattoos. There is one exception, of course: a small tattoo on her right foot. The tattoo depicts the eye of the Egyptian god Ra, which represents good luck and abundance. Obviously, such a small and inconspicuous tattoo doesn’t affect Marisa’s ability to play any type of role, and makeup artists can cover up anything these days, anyway!
How Marisa’s Film Career Began
Most actors and actresses get their careers off to a start through small roles in humble films that otherwise would be forgotten quickly. Marisa was typical in that sense, as her first film role was a very small part in The Flamingo Kid. The 1984 film helped lead to parts in The Toxic Avenger and Playing for Keeps. It wasn’t until she started doing films like Oscar, and of course, My Cousin Vinny that she became a big star.
Marisa On Stage
During the late 1980s, Marisa started doing theater roles while working toward building a bigger film career. She was in the off-Broadway production of Daughters in 1987 as a 22-year-old and won the Award for Outstanding Debut award from Theatre World. She has also appeared in such productions as Wait Until Dark, Top Girls, and The Realistic Joneses.
Sometimes, it’s funny to see how people who had rather forgettable roles can end up being big stars. This happens a lot in television, and it certainly was the case with Marisa Tomei’s guest-starring role in A Different World in 1987. On the show, life imitated art, as the two were roommates both in real life and on TV. Just like Marisa, Lisa Bonet went on to have a very successful career.
Achieving Critical Acclaim
Although she had shown off her skills in acting roles previously, Marisa Tomei really took the world by storm with her award-winning role in My Cousin Vinny. For the performance, she won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Critics loved her in the role, saying that she showed off her versatility by playing a part that required comedic and dramatic skills.
An Entirely New Direction
Many people were curious about what direction Marisa Tomei’s career would go after the success she had in My Cousin Vinny. However, she felt that her best move after the award-winning performance was to take a starring role alongside Robert Downey Jr. in Chaplin. Not only was Downey Jr. an inspired choice for the role of Charlie Chaplin, but he and Marisa were an item in real life at the time.
Easiest Role Ever
Occasionally, an actor or actress gets a chance to take on a role that’s pretty easy to do. That was certainly the case when Marisa Tomei appeared in a pair of episodes of Seinfeld as…herself! Her appearances took place in 1996, and she was a natural for the show, especially considering that she was born and raised in Brooklyn. Her comedic talents worked very well on the sitcom, as well.
Taking Roles in Big Screen Hits
Marisa Tomei has always been a versatile actress, having performed in big-budget films, small films, theater productions, and anything else that she thought had potential. She definitely knows when to take herself less seriously and appear in comedic films like Grown Ups, Anger Management, and Wild Hogs. She has also appeared in fan favorites like Crazy Stupid Love.
Choosing Not to Marry
Marisa Tomei has never been married, but it certainly hasn’t been due to any lack of potential suitors. She rejects the idea that she should somehow feel that her life is incomplete because she hasn’t tied the knot. “I’m not that big a fan of marriage as an institution,” Tomei once said, adding that marriage shouldn’t be seen as a qualification for women that want to have complete lives.
Beautiful Inside and Out
Although Marisa’s talent and ability to perform has never been questioned, she has also been recognized for her physical beauty over the years. Such was the case in 2009, when People named her as part of its Most Beautiful People list. In addition, she has been on FHM‘s 100 Sexiest Females in the World. Even as she has aged over the years, she has retained her charm and great looks!
Enigmatic Family History
Marisa Tomei’s family has had its moments of intense mystery. She even appeared on an NBC show in 2012 to look into the murder of her great-grandfather, Francesco Leopoldo Bianchi. Francesco was her great-grandfather on her mother’s side and had supposedly been killed in a bar as a result of a dispute that involved money, another man’s girl, or both. The show again spotlighted Marisa’s Italian heritage.
An Active Lifestyle
Marisa Tomei is a very active woman, which allows her to continue looking and feeling great. However, she isn’t your typical cardio queen doing time on the elliptical machine at the local gym. She prefers interesting activities that include yoga, belly dancing, Tai Chi, and hula-hooping. She enjoys hula-hooping because not only is it a low-impact activity, but it’s also a “fun and uplifting” pursuit.
Lady Gaga is a Big Fan
For someone that has earned millions of fans over the course of her career, it’s unsurprising that some celebrities are supporters of Marisa’s work. In fact, Lady Gaga is one of Marisa’s biggest fans. The singer even said that if there were a movie about her life, she’d want Tomei to star as her. When Marisa Tomei was told about it, she said she loved Lady Gaga’s music and was touched that the feeling was likewise.
A Flair for Comedy
There are a number of actresses who can handle dramatic roles and others that can do comedy, but very few that can excel at both. Marisa Tomei has shown her ability to act in all sorts of roles over the years, earning an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress in Slums of Beverly Hills. The movie was just one of the examples of Tomei’s comedic skills over the years.
Entering the Realm of Superheroes
Marisa Tomei has added another feather to her career cap by officially entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Peter Parker’s Aunt May. She has played the role in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, with more appearances surely to come. The role shows that Marisa has been able to evolve and stay relevant through the stages of her acting career.
Although Marisa Tomei has nothing against motherhood, she has never made the decision to have kids herself. She has always been focused on her career and has enjoyed her personal life without feeling the need to add the role of mother to her resume. Just as with marriage, Marisa has spoken openly in interviews about how perplexing it is that all women are expected to want to become mothers.
Marisa and RDJ
Without a doubt, Marisa’s first high-profile dating relationship as a celebrity came when she became linked with Robert Downey Jr. The two met in 1994 when they were working on the film Only You. Their relationship didn’t ultimately last all that long, but they made a number of films together, including Only You and the well-received Chaplin.
Relationship With Dana Ashbrook
Another actor that Marisa Tomei was briefly linked with was Dana Ashbrook. Dana Ashbrook is known primarily for his role in the cult hit TV show Twin Peaks. However, he has also appeared in a number of films, such as Return of the Living Dead. They were rumored to be dating for a time in 1999, but they were actually very rarely seen together during that time.
Dating Frank Pugliese
Many relationships are based on common interests, and Marisa certainly had a lot in common with playwright Frank Pugliese. In addition to authoring plays such as The King of Connecticut and The Alarm, Frank also worked as a television writer and director. The two were pretty quiet about their relationship but seemed to date off and on between 2001 and 2004.
Making Music With Lenny
Marisa Tomei has dated other men besides actors. She also dated notable rocker Lenny Kravitz back in 2004. Although neither party ever actually confirmed the rumors that they dated, a number of photos showed them looking very much into one another. One interesting aspect to this possible relationship is that Lenny was once married to Lisa Bonet, an old friend of Marisa’s. In fact, Marisa is the godmother of Lenny and Lisa’s daughter!
How Much is Marisa Worth?
Marisa Tomei has come a long way since she began her acting career in the 1980s. She has taken dozens of roles on television, on the big screen and on stage, which have helped her accrue an estimated net worth of about $20 million. Of course, with her involvement in the new Spider-Man franchise and the fact that she continues to act regularly, this figure will only go up!
The Oscars Controversy
With fellow actress Vanessa Redgrave being a sizeable favorite to win the 1993 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, many people passed along a conspiracy theory afterward that Marisa had been given the award by mistake due to an error on the part of presenter Jack Palance. However, this did not turn out to be true and sounds more like the kind of lie that gets spread about someone who is new to Hollywood and shaking up the establishment.
Rumors About Christian Slater?
Another of the many rumors about Marisa Tomei’s dating history has to do with a former co-star, Christian Slater. The two starred together in the 1993 film Untamed Heart. Once the movie got in front of audiences, rumors immediately circulated that the two had been an item off-screen, as well. Perhaps these rumors about her dating co-stars has to do with her ability to generate believable chemistry on-screen?