Marisa Tomei (born December 4, 1964) played the role of Maggie Lauten, roommate and friend of fellow Hillman College freshman student Denise Huxtable in Season 1 of A Different World. A veteran of film, stage and the big screen since the mid-1980's, Marisa is best known to moviegoers for her Oscar-winning role as Mona Lisa Vito in the blockbuster 1992 comedy film My Cousin Vinny.

Early lifeEdit

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Marisa grew up in the Midwood neighborhood.[1] 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.


After having minor roles in a few films, Marisa came to international attention in 1992 with the comedy My Cousin Vinny with Ralph Macchio (of The Karate Kid film series fame) and Joe Pesci (also of GoodFellas and Heat film fame), for which she received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Notable film appearancesEdit

Since her appearance on ADW, Tomei has appeared in a number of successful movies, including What Women Want (2000), Anger Management (2003), Wild Hogs (2007), and Parental Guidance (2012). Other films, include Untamed Heart (1993), Only You (1994), The Paper (1994), Unhook the Stars (1996), Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), Cyrus (2010), Love Is Strange (2014) and The Big Short (2015). She received two additional Academy Award nominations for In the Bedroom (2001) and The Wrestler (2008).

Marisa has also portrayed Aunt May in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in the films Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).

Stage acting workEdit

Tomei has also worked in theater. She was formerly involved with the Naked Angels Theater Company and appeared in plays, such as "Daughters" (1986), "Wait Until Dark" (1998), "Top Girls" (2008), for which she received a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, and "The Realistic Joneses" (2014), for which she received a special award at the Drama Desk Awards.


  1. Collins, Glenn. "Actress's Challenge in Change of Pace and Diction", The New York Times, August 10, 1992. Retrieved October 23, 2007.

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