Real name: Marisa Tomei
Birthdate: December 4, 1964
Partner: Dana Ashbrook
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Tomei, an Italian American, was born in Brooklyn, New York to Patricia, an English teacher, and Gary A. Tomei, a trial lawyer of Lebanese origin. She has a younger brother, Adam, and was partially raised by her paternal grandparents, Rita and Romeo Tomei. Tomei grew up in Midwood. While there she became captivated by the Broadway shows that her theater-loving parents took her to, and became drawn to acting as a career. After graduating from Edward R. Murrow High School she attended Boston University for a year, then transferred to New York University in 1983 after landing a role in the soap opera As The World Turns. Soon after, she dropped out of school altogether as her career began to take off.
Tomei followed up As the World Turns in 1987 with a role on the sitcom A Different World. Her breakthrough performance came in My Cousin Vinny (1992), for which she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. After her Oscar win, she received a Screen Actor's Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Female Supporting Actor for Unhook the Stars. Next, she received an American Comedy Award nomination for Funniest Supporting Actress for Slums of Beverly Hills. She was nominated for a Satellite Award as Best Supporting Actress for What Women Want.
She received a second Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for In The Bedroom (2001). Tomei has also done substantial work in the theater, including taking lead roles on Broadway in Wait Until Dark (1998) and Salomé (2003), and many Off-Broadway plays.
In 1996, Tomei made a guest appearance on the sitcom Seinfeld, playing herself in "The Cadillac, Part 1" and "2." She has also made an appearance on The Simpsons, as a movie star who falls in love with Ned Flanders. In 2005, Tomei 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, Damon Wayans, Matthew Perry and, on Spanish-language advertising, Aracely Arambula and Pablo Montero.