Who is Marisa Tomei? Well, you might know her from the new “Spider-man” movies starring Tom Holland as Peter Parker, where she plays the role of Aunt May. Despite this new and exciting role, Marisa has had a long and amazing acting career.
She started out acting in soap operas. The very first TV show she worked in was “As the World Turns.” But did you know she also has an Oscar? Yes, she does! Marisa won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “My Cousin Vinny.” Let’s take a closer look at her life.
She’s Had a Great Career
In this article, we’re taking a look at the incredible career of Marisa Tomei, from her time in TV shows, to becoming Marvel’s Aunt May. After the Oscar win, Marisa didn’t have to look back ever again. She was considered one of the top Hollywood actresses.
She was later nominated for her roles in “The Wrestler” in 2008 and “In The Bedroom” in 2001. Marisa is also known for her firm pledge not to marry or have children. Work is everything in her life.
Maria Tomei Began Training from a Young Age
Marisa Tomei was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She started as a child actor. Later, Marisa took technical training in feminist studies, tap dancing, spiritual texts, and literature. She has shared the screen with fellow co-actor Kate McGregor many times.
Marisa first met Kate when she was first starting as an actress. Both looked out for each other in the industry, and their friendship is still strong. While recounting her encounters with Kate, Marisa opened up in an interview about how they spent long hours going through movie scripts, cracking jokes, and learning together.
She Dropped Out of School
Marisa’s acting career took a positive turn when she finally decided to drop out of school and take acting seriously. Contrary to popular belief, her role in the popular soap opera “As the World Turns” wasn’t her first role. She started her acting career with a small role in the not-so-successful movie “The Flamingo Kid.” At the end of shooting this film, Marisa told her family about becoming an actress.
Her parents had different opinions about what Marisa aspired to become in life. Her mother wasn’t okay with her plan. Instead, she asked Marisa to continue school. On the other hand, her father was the one who motivated her to go for it.
Her Role in “My Cousin Vinny”
Marisa gave an outstanding performance in a supporting role in the 1992 film “My Cousin Vinny.” She found out later that she was being considered for an Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress award, which she went on to win. It was recognition that she was one of the best actors in the business.
While giving an interview to The Guardian in 2017, Marisa opened up about her journey, from starring in “My Cousin Vinny” to the recent “Spider-man” movies. She has spent well over 25 years in the film industry now.
The Brilliant Supporting Actress
In the movie “My Cousin Vinny,” Marisa starred against Joe Pesci, the famous actor known for his role in “Goodfellas.” She also remembered how Pesci gave her coaching and real-life examples on the set. Marisa considered herself lucky that she got to work with such brilliant minds on her first full-length movie. She keeps her Oscar for her role in “My Cousin Vinny” in her home library.
Marisa has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress a total of three times. She jokingly said that she might have a thing for supporting roles, which implied that she might still crave a part that has more gravity than a supporting one. After her Oscar win, Marisa went back to working in many 90’s sitcoms, including “Slums of Beverly Hills,” “Only You,” and “What Women Want.”
The Actress Isn’t Interested in Marriage or Having Children
Just as with any Hollywood celebrity, the paparazzi always follows Marisa. After her role as Aunt May, the media has taken a serious interest in her life. Despite her carried and brilliant career, the MCU franchise has showcased her amazing talents to a new audience.
Recently, people have been crazy interested to learn why Marisa has stayed unmarried and never had children. In an interview with Closer Weekly, one of Marisa’s friends opened up about how, even as a teenager, Marisa was never interested in settling down and having a family.
Focused On Her Acting
Her friend also attributes Marisa’s success to her decision to stay single. According to her friend, Marisa is being offered amazing roles that anyone would like to get even at this age. Marisa opened up in an interview with Manhattan Magazine about why she doesn’t think having children is an essential part of everyone’s life.
It isn’t like Marisa never thought about getting married. Back in 2013, she was even engaged to her then-boyfriend Logan Marshall-Green. Marisa was very happy about the wedding planning. However, things didn’t work out between the two in the end. A year later, Marisa was pictured with her new boyfriend, Josh Radnor.
The Story Behind Being Cast for Spider-Man
Marisa was recommended by her ex-boyfriend Robert Downey Jr for the role of Aunt May. It is quite evident that even after the breakup, the two stars continue to look after each other.
When asked to explain her experience working in Marvel movies, Marisa said that it was almost like working for an old-school Hollywood film. She said “Spider-Man” was different from other movies because she would have to return her script at the end of the day. It was all done to keep the storyline a secret.
Learning about Aunt May
When Marisa was first offered the role, she had no idea about how the role of Aunt May was portrayed in the previous “Spider-Man” films. Her priority was to negotiate a great deal with Marvel Studios. When Marvel showed her the sketches for the role, she was immediately blown away.
Even though Aunt May was portrayed in the comics as an old woman, Marisa’s idea was to portray her differently in the coming “Spider-Man” movies. For people, who do not know Aunt May, she is the guardian of Peter Parker. Marisa humorously said in an interview that the only family member who was excited about her role as Aunt May was her 6-year-old nephew.
Marisa Tomei Took Time to Perform On Stage In 2019
Just a few years ago, in 2019, Marisa returned to the theatre with the play “The Rose Tattoo.” In an interview with Roundabout Theatre, she said that she wanted to do justice to the role. It showed that her acting talents weren’t just restricted to a camera.
When asked why she agreed to do the play, she said that this particular play had a different charm to it as well as a sense of mysticism. She could have easily kept doing films, but she wanted to challenge herself with something different and new.
It Brought Her Back to Her Roots
Furthermore, the role she played in this play brought her closer to her Italian roots. She has a Sicilian lineage, but her family didn’t always celebrate it as she wished. She was happy to pay homage to her Sicilian heritage via her role in this play.
During the lockdown, Marisa and Oscar Isaac performed “Beirut” via a Zoom video conference. This event took place in April of 2020. Fans were eagerly waiting for this play as it included an intense sex scene. Some applauded the scene, and some criticized it vehemently.
A Brief History of Marisa Tomei’s Love Life
Marissa is considered one of the prettiest women in Hollywood. She has kept a low-key profile during her 25-year long career in Hollywood. She’s now nearing her 60s but is still as beautiful as ever. The media has constantly tried to come up with stories about her.
But, there has barely been a scandal about her. Does it mean she didn’t have an interesting love life? Not at all. She has had an eventful love life, more so than most Hollywood stars. She has dated many celebrities but has tried to keep it as private as possible.
The Start of Her Career
Marisa was born in 1964. She started her acting career in the well-known CBS television show “As the World Turns.” She even starred in one season of another popular TV show, “A Different World,” which was a direct spin-off from “The Cosby Show.”
Marisa’s life took a huge turn when she starred in the comedy-drama movie against Joe Pesci titled “My Cousin Vinny.” She was nominated for an Oscar for best-supporting actress for this role, which she went on to win. She played a fast-talking New Yorker, and the film is considered a classic.
Marisa Tomei Dating Profile (the 1990s)
Most of us already know that Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. dated. They first met on the set of the film “Only You.” However, they only dated for a few months before ending their relationship in 1994.
A few years later, they shared the screen again, but they weren’t playing the role of lovers this time. Both Robert and Marissa had worked in Marvel movies. Robert famously played the role of Iron Man. He has starred in multiple standalone “Ironman” and “Avenger” movies.
Sharing the Screen Together
Audiences also got to see him make cameos in other films from the MCU. Both Marisa and Robert shared the screen on multiple MCU films, beginning with “Spider-Man: Far from Home” and followed by “Captain America” and “Avengers: End Game.”
Marisa started dating Dana Ashbrook back in 1999. However, that relationship didn’t last that long. Ashbrook starred in the famous TV show “Twin Peaks.” After their breakup, Marisa stayed single for a long time, or maybe, she was involved with someone without the media knowing it.
Marisa Tomei Rumored Relationships
According to a report by both Ranker and Who’s Dated Who, Marisa was romantically involved with TV writer Frank Pugliese. Their romance started in 2001 and ended in 2004. The lack of information shows how private she is, but she has also been linked to a few other high-profile names.
Reportedly, she was also dating other stars at the time, including Christian Slater and Lenny Kravitz. Marisa met Christian on the “Untamed Heart” set and immediately fell in love. Unfortunately, the relationship wasn’t to last.
Her Other Relationships
After breaking up with Christian, Marisa stayed single for a few years before getting into a relationship with Nicholas Carpenter, who was a director. The relationship lasted from 2006 and ended in 2008. Some say the longest relationship Marisa ever had was with co-actor Logan Marshall-Green. Their relationship lasted from 2008 to 2012. The two even shared the screen in the film “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
It is common knowledge that Marisa had dated Josh Radnor back in 2014. This actor was famous for his role in “How I Met Your Mother.” According to Heavy, Marisa had her last relationship back in 2019 with playwright Marco Calvani.
Why Marisa Tomei Never Had Kids?
People don’t want to believe that Marisa, who played the role of Aunt May so graciously, is unmarried and without kids in real life. She might even be voted the prettiest character in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marisa has dated many men over her career; however, she has never settled down. She’s never been with anyone long enough to think about settling down. She also talked about how that isn’t a bad thing despite the expectation of women to have kids.
Her Star Soon Rose
After she made it big on the silver screen, Marisa’s private life became a public domain. People were going crazy to learn more and more about her. Many were idolizing her as they considered her a breakout star.
Many fans started following her as they wanted what she had. They wanted to be a big movie star like her. In 1994, she got into the most important relationship in her life with Robert Downey Jr. They met on the set of “Only You” in 1994, and it helped to form her career.
Marisa Tomei and Motherhood
In an interview given to Manhattan Magazine, Marisa opened up about why she never saw herself as a mother or a wife. She doesn’t consider it an essential part of life and doesn’t believe in the notion that women have to be married to have a meaningful life.
According to Marisa, work and career hold more importance than having a family and babies. She is still as hardworking as she was back in her 20s when she just started working in Hollywood. Let’s take a closer look at the timeline of her career.
The Career of Marisa Tomei
If you watched the 1984 film, “The Flamingo Kid,” you probably remember her as Mandy. Marisa’s first series, “As the World Turns,” ushered her in on the screens. Her acting talents were obvious, and the roles would soon get better and better.
The 1980s were some of Marisa’s best years because they marked her career growth. Most of the films she was featured in during those years didn’t get many positive reviews but started to establish her as a screen presence. By the end of the decade, her career was really taking off.
The Career Growth Continued
Marisa got more fame in the 1987 television series, “A Different World,” when she took the role of Maggie Lauten. She has also acted for different theaters, like the New York-based theater company called Naked Angels. She was splitting her time between stage and screen.
Marisa has also done stage performances. Her first was in 1986 in a play called “Daughters.” Her stage name was Cetta, and the tickets sold widely. Unsurprisingly, her Cetta character won her the Theater World Award in that play. It showed that she was versatile and could act anywhere.
Global Recognition Soon Came
It wasn’t until 1992 that Marisa started getting global recognition. Her huge fame began in 1992 after she was featured in the film “My Cousin Vinny,” playing the role of Mona Lisa Vito. The movie got her positive critical reviews and global recognition. She never looked back.
The young actress won the Academy Award in 1993 for Best Supporting Actress. But before then, she had acted in the silent film “Chaplin” as actor Mabel Normand. This was also a good movie because she acted in it with her then-boyfriend, Robert Downey.
Plenty of Awards Soon Came
Marisa got the most acting awards in the 1990s. For example, the MTV Movie Award of 1993 was courtesy of the film “Untamed Heart.” Also, the 1996 film “Unhook The Stars,” together with 1998’s “Slums of Beverly Hills,” earned her a nomination to the Screen Actors Guild.
This ambitious young actress also appeared in other movies and films where she wasn’t the leading actor. For example, she made a guest appearance in an episode of the famous sitcom series “Seinfeld.” Also, if you have watched “My Own Country” from 1998, you probably know the character, Mattie Vines. Marisa acted in the movie with her real-life brother, who also played her on-screen brother.
She Continued To Act On Stage
Marisa did different stage performances in the 90s. For example, she was among the cast of “The Comedy of Errors,” produced in 1992, and “Slavs” in 1994, where she played Katherine Serafima Gleb. Marisa also acted in the role of Susy Hendrix in “Wait Until Dark,” produced in 1998.
The 1990s weren’t the only good years for Marisa because she also started her 2000s with a bang. For example, she was in the “What Women Want” film in 2000. Around this time, she was very busy and in huge demand for her acting talents.
There Was No Stopping Her
Marisa’s flame started burning brighter in 2003 after acting in “Anger Management” and “Wild Hogs” in 2007. She also got some critical acclaim in some of the movies she acted in. Some of the major ones were “In The Bedroom” from 2001 and “Before the Devil Knows you’re Dead” from 2007. Without the 2008 film “The Wrestler” and 2010’s “Love is Strange,” this list wouldn’t be complete.
2002 was an excellent year for Marisa when she received an Academy Award nomination for her exemplary performance from “In The Bedroom.” The drama series “Rescue Me” was also an exciting show in which Marisa acted in four episodes. Her character was Angie Gavin and earned Marisa a Gracie Allen Award.
Nominations and Awards Continued To Flow
In 2008, “The Wrestler” was produced, and Marisa was given the role of a stripper called Cassidy. She did well in that role and earned nominations with the Academy Awards, Golden Globe, and BAFTA. Marisa’s film acting also received awards from the Detroit Film Critics Society, Online Film Critics Society, and Florida Critics Circle.
Acting seemed not to be Marisa’s only talent and career because, in 2011, she hosted the Scientific and Technical Awards. Her acting career has also helped her discover many places in the world. For example, in the 2012 film, “Who Do You Think You Are,” Marisa traveled to Elba Island and Tuscany.
Plenty of Notable Stage Work
Marisa’s stage performances like her role as Salome in the 2003 drama “Salome,” 2008’s “Isabella Bird” and “Top Girls,” 2011’s “Marie and Bruce,” and 2014’s “The Realistic Joneses,” were all notable roles in which she excelled. In fact, she won a Drama Desk Award for “Realistic Joneses.”
Marisa doesn’t only act in blockbuster movies. She also appeared in other films during 2014 and 2015, including “The Rewrite,” “Trainwreck,” and “Love Coopers.” She also acted in “The Big Shot,” which earned her a nomination to the Screen Actors Guild.
Her Appearances as Aunt May
Marisa also played in a stage play called “The Rose Tattoo” in 2016 in her role as Serafina. In 2017, she was featured in “How To Transcend a Happy Marriage.” If you liked “Captain America: Civil War,” you know that Marisa was May Parker in that movie.
Marisa also played her May Parker roles in other movies like “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” produced in 2017, “Avengers: Endgame” from 2019, and “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” produced in 2019. She may be a small part of the franchise, but fans love her as Aunt May.
She’s Not Afraid to Do Anything
Besides the hits this ambitious woman has been featured in, she acted in other short movies like 2017’s “Laboratory Conditions.” Marisa wasn’t picky about movies, and she did drama and action. She also acted in some horror films like “The First Purge” of 2018.
She has also played in some films that scored her international fame and were specifically chosen to be played in festivals. “Carrie,” a Human Capital drama film, is one of those movies. All of these roles highlight her ability to take on any challenge and excel at it.
A Career of Incredible Variety
Marisa’s career in acting has been one huge success. She also won many awards and recognition along the way with movies that are recognized internationally. It’s hard to look at her resume and not have a film that you love. There is an incredible variety there.
Whether it’s a thriller like “In The Bedroom,” a crime comedy like “My Cousin Vinny,” or a drama like “The Wrestler,” Marisa was always perfect in her roles. If she retired tomorrow, it would be an amazing career, but she’s not done yet! Let’s look at her best movies.
Top 10 Movies of Marisa Tomei
The new generation of Marvel fans knows Marisa Tomei from her role of Aunt May in Marvel’s latest reboot of the “Spider-Man” franchise. However, Marisa has a history of outstanding performances in supporting and semi-lead roles before her MCU debut.
Tomei’s previous comedic works will make your stomach hurt from laughing, while her drama roles will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Here are the ten best movies featuring Marisa Tomei that showcase her amazing career and fantastic acting ability.
MCU’s Spider-Man Series
Starting with the obvious films, Tomei’s recent claim to fame is her role as a slightly younger Mayabelle Parker, popularly called Aunt May, in the third remake of the Spider-Man series. The Spider-Man series is one of the most popular and successful superhero franchises to date, especially within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It follows Peter Parker (Tom Holland), who gains superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Peter Parker decides to become a vigilante hero after being inspired by his late uncle’s words “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
A Modern Take on Aunt May
Similar to previous versions, Aunt May is the wife and late widow of Ben Parker, guardian of Peter Parker (Spider-Man) in the series. Despite her relatively minor supporting role in the series, she serves as a source of moral support and guidance to young Spider-Man.
Marisa’s portrayal of a younger and hotter Aunt May has captivated many MCU fans. Her attractive appearance even led to Tony Stark praising her during her appearance in MCU’s “Captain America: Civil War,” which was funny considering their previous relationship many years earlier.
“My Cousin Vinny” (1992)
“My Cousin Vinny” is a comical story of two men who are falsely charged with murder. One of the men hires his cousin, Vinny (played by Joe Pesci), who happens to be a fresh law school graduate with next to no understanding of how to defend cases. The movie plays out with Vinny struggling to defend the case with a ‘fake it till you make it’ ideology.
Marisa plays Vinny’s girlfriend, who happens to be a key witness to the alleged murder. “My Cousin Vinny” was the first movie that helped Marisa’s career take off, and she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
“The Wrestler” (2008)
“The Wrestler” follows the life of a retired professional wrestler (Mickey Rourke) and his daily struggles with the decline of his fame after his retirement. Marisa plays a provocative role as a stripper (Cassidy) who also happens to be in her declining years.
They bond over their dissimilarly similar situation and try to find their place in life. Marisa’s performance in The Wrestler is a highlight of her career, garnering her multiple nominations and a second Academy Award for Best Actress in a supporting role.
“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” (2007)
Andy and Hank, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, are a pair of brothers who believe money will solve all their problems in life. They commit a robbery believing life to be smooth sailing afterward. However, their efforts to make their lives better only make everything worse.
“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” is a crime melodrama film by Sidney Lumet. Marisa plays the role of Gina, Andy’s wife and Hank’s lover, in an increasingly complicated relationship. The name of the film comes from the Irish saying, “May you be in heaven a full half-hour before the devil knows you’re dead.”
“Chaplin” is a movie based on the life of the legendary comedian and actor Charlie Chaplin. The movie stars Marisa Tomei, as well as a young Robert Downey Jr. (as Charlie Chaplin). Robert narrates the story of Charlie Chaplin, starting from his humble beginnings to his success later in life.
It also discusses his private life encounters with women that lead to multiple scandals. Marisa plays the role of Mabel Normand, the woman who served as a mentor and co-star to Charlie Chaplin, as well as a pioneer of comical filmmaking in the industry before her downfall and death.
“Untamed Heart” (1993)
“Untamed Heart” is a wholesome romantic drama with elements of comedy. It features Christian Slater as Adam and Tomei as Caroline, two youths who fall for each other after Adam rescues Caroline, who works as a waitress, from an attack one night.
Caroline goes on to help Adam break out of his shy shell and enjoy life. However, Adam has an underlying secret that can bring their romance to an untimely end. “Untamed Heart” was Marisa’s first lead role in any film and is considered a hidden gem amongst her movies.
“The King of Staten Island” (2020)
“The King of Staten Island” is the story of Scott, played by Pete Davidson. Scott is an eccentric dysfunctional man in his 20s, and the story revolves around him trying to get his life together as his mother begins to date a new guy.
It is a comedy film that focuses on the ensemble cast, with every character having their unique quirks. Marisa plays the role of Margie, Scott’s mother, a widow who falls in love with Ray Bishop (Bill Burr), who is also a firefighter like Scott’s late father. The comedy is a semi-biography of Pete Davidson’s father, who also struggled with mental illnesses.
“In the Bedroom” (2001)
“In the Bedroom” is an intense family drama revolving around the stigma of society about relationships with significant age gaps. The focus of the movie is the Fowler family, a family of three consisting of Frank Fowler (Nick Stahl), the only son of Matt (Tom Wilkinson), and Rudy Fowler (Sissy Spacek). The drama kicks off when Frank gets into a relationship with an older woman, Natalie (Marisa Tomei).
The film is full of breathtaking performances by each cast member. “In the Bedroom” earned Marisa her second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. “In the Bedroom’s” screenplay is akin to walking a tightrope with intense scenes and heartbreaking moments.
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” (2011)
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is a fan-favorite among the fans of romantic comedies. The story follows a freshly separated, miserable man named Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) who meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a womanizer, at a bar. Jacob claims Cal’s wife left him because he has given up on his manliness and begins to mentor Cal in the ways of seduction.
However, Jacob himself begins to fall in love with Hannah (Emma Stone) and is unaware of a certain plot twist that complicates their relationship. Marisa plays the role of Kate, the woman Cal attempts to seduce and start a relationship with after falling out with his wife. Although she doesn’t get much screen time, she has some of the most hilarious and climatic moments in the movie.
“The First Purge” (2018)
As the fourth movie in the Purge Franchise, it explains the origins of the purge. Marisa plays the role of Dr. May Updale, also known as The Architect. She is the woman who played a vital role in the formulation of the event.
Unlike Marisa’s other roles of romantic, comical, or drama characters, Dr. May Updale puts her in the shoes of a pseudo-villain. This fresh role and Marisa’s approach to the character make it an excellent performance overall. “The First Purge” is the highest-earning movie in the entire franchise, and Marisa’s portrayal of The Architect has some part in it.
What’s Next for Maria Tomei?
The work keeps flowing for Marisa, which is no surprise given her acting talents. As fans, we hope she can get the huge starring role she deserves so she can have a shot at winning Best Actress instead of Best Supporting Actress!
Even if that role doesn’t come, this independent woman can look back on her career with plenty of pride. She is a brilliant actress who has graced our screens since the early 80s and will continue to do so. We hope you enjoyed looking at the brilliant career of Marisa Tomei.