Marisa Tomei was 28 years old when she starred in My Cousin Vinny. Already a successful television actor, with credits for As The World Turns and A Different World, Tomei stole the film (from Joe Pesci and Fred Gwynne!) and even managed to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Twenty-five years later, Tomei is best known to the younger generation for her role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In both Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, she plays Aunt May; at 52 years old, she's certainly a far cry from the elderly Aunt May of the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb films (portrayed by Rosemary Harris and Sally Field, respectively). In fact, Tony Stark ribs young Peter Parker by calling her Aunt Hottie, much to the chagrin of Spider-Man-in-training.
They say that "Age ain't nothing but a number," and that's doubly true for glamorous A-List Hollywood celebrities like Marisa Tomei. She was sexier in her 40s than most women in their 20s, and she remains absolutely stunning in her 50s... And we have the pictures to prove it! Across movies, magazines, and more, this Italian New York Goddess has proven that true beauty is timeless. Here are 15 Pictures That Prove Marisa Tomei Is Hotter Than Ever.
15 Spider-Man: Homecoming
As mentioned in the intro, Tomei's latest film is Spider-Man: Homecoming, which recently blasted past $860 million dollars at the global box office. While her appearance here surely wasn't the main selling point for Homecoming, it's easy to overlook how important her character is to this new version of the Spider-Man mythology.
Aunt May is Peter's rock, especially before he seals the deal with Mary Jane (who doesn't really exist in the MCU), and the shift from an elderly archetype to a younger, hotter, and less confident character influences the whole movie. Peter turns to May for advice and guidance, but she's not the same pillar of wisdom as earlier incarnations of the character. As a guardian/parental substitute, she's flying by the seat of her pants, figuring things out as she goes, and doing the best she can. And looking stunning while doing it, obviously.
14 The Ides Of March
In George Clooney's 2011 political thriller The Ides of March, MarMei (her official Screen Rant nickname) plays a key supporting role as an intrepid New York Times reporter. Think Lois Lane, but writing for the political section, and more fashionable than even Teri Hatcher at her most dapper!
Indeed, MarMei is totally stylish in this film, rocking fashionable nerd glasses, a flirty-yet-professional blouse, and a chic hairdo that's just a single gust of wind away from being completely wild. Overall, it's a look with potential to be corny and kitsch, but she makes it work. Not only does she make it work, she makes it look completely effortless. Maybe its her ability to explore all corners of the character, despite her limited screen time? Or maybe it's just MarMei's New York ability to gracefully pull off any look.
13 Shape Magazine, August 2010
MarMei's 2010 Shape Magazine cover shoot provides the oldest photo on this list, but it was just too gorgeous to pass up. Women's magazines with millennial 20-somethings on the cover are a dime a dozen, so to speak, so it's always a pleasant surprise when a sexy babe in her 40s or 50s has the confidence to proudly declare her sexiness on the cover of a magazine. And if she's wearing retro-chic swimwear paired with a mess of out-of-control "party girl" hair? Even better!
In the story (dig those star wipes!), Marisa shares her workout secret, and it's a fun one: she likes to hula hoop! In addition to yoga, dance, and more traditional workouts, her favorite exercise is using a hula hoop to strengthen her core.
The weirdest image on this list comes from the set of Trainwreck, the Amy Schumer/Bill Hader comedy which came out of nowhere to gross an impressive $140 million worldwide and successfully turn its leading lady into a movie star, in addition to proving the comic talents of John Cena and Ezra Miller.
At one point, Schumer goes on a date to the movie theater, where an obscure black-and-white art film, The Dogwalker, is playing. It's an over-the-top parody/pastiche of whimsical, obtuse movies which are utterly nonsensical to most viewers. The film-within-a-film stars Marisa Tomei and Daniel Radcliffe, with Marisa managing to look beautiful despite a gaudy dress and grandma glasses. Even her hairstyle, which would be ridiculous on anybody else, looks downright cute on MarMei.
11 2014 Pamela Hanson Photoshoot
Sure, it's a staged photoshoot, with precise lighting, deliberate monochrome stylings, and a team of hair and makeup personnel whose job it is to make sure Marisa Tomei looks her best... But there's no doubt that she looks this drop dead gorgeous every single morning.
Maybe it's the hula hoop, or her New York City energy, or just her unflappable personality, but Marisa truly hasn't aged a day in the last twenty years. How does she do it? Maybe she and Jennifer Aniston are in a secret club of ageless beauties? Maybe MarMei has a secret portrait hidden in her attic, a la Dorian Gray? Or maybe it's as simple as the right combination of good genes, diet, and exercise: nature's winning formula for a lifetime of good health.
10 Captain America: Civil War
Aunt May? More like Aunt Bae!
In a movie rife with epic battles and a veritable cavalcade of stars, Captain America: Civil War's second post-credits scene is a lighthearted exchange between Aunt May and her nephew-with-a-secret, Peter. As she warmly hands him an ice pack for his bruised eye, she asks who he fought. "He was huge," he says, and he's technically not lying; he's coyly referring to his epic takedown of Paul Rudd's Ant-Man, who had used Pym Particles to become the aptly named Giant-Man... Because he's giant.
This scene also sets up the dynamic between May and Peter in Spidey's solo film, with Peter struggling to keep his secret from his aunt, who grows increasingly suspicious of her nephew's odd habits, ultimately leading to Homecoming's game-changing final shot before the credits roll.
9 Vogue 2014
Celebrities the world over all swear by "green juice." It's like a slushie, but with less sugar and more nutrition... And it happens to be green. Green Juice looks gross, but it's delicious, and good for your health! Need evidence? Look no further than this picture of MarMei taking a sip of the nutritious and yummy goodness.
For a 2014 Vogue shoot, Marisa wore "inside clothes," but nonetheless looked as gorgeous as ever. Her large, shawl-like sweater is draped over her like a blanket, and her hair is tied up, yet still loose and wavy, and it's framed by her long earrings, the one bit of overt "glam" to offset her generally more relaxed appearance here. And what's the deal with those pants? They're so pink and the material looks weird, yet she still manages to look cute as a button!
8 The New York Times, 2010
Marisa loves to hula! According to her, she first got into the atypical exercise when training for her role as a stripper in 2008's The Wrestler, in which she bares a whole lot of skin, as well as emotional vulnerability and raw intensity. But too many outlets are more concerned with the hotness than the talent, a trend which surely upsets MarMei and other female actors who deserve to be seen as more than just sexy girls in the shadows of their male counterparts.
MarMei proves that women can be both jaw-droppingly sexy and talented actors, something which is taken for granted by men but bizarrely out-of-reach for women in Hollywood. In 2010, Marisa was in her mid-40s, the age where many women – especially in Hollywood – are practically forced to disappear and make way for the next generation of 20-year-olds.
Fortunately, Marisa Tomei isn't going to disappear anytime soon.
7 Alexei Hay
This photo, taken by Alexei Hay, uses the natural sunlight to blow out Marisa's face a little, but it's still a gorgeous shot of New York's favorite daughter.
Despite the inherent images of steel and concrete associated with The Big Apple, most New Yorkers are actually quite earthy when they're not glammed up for Fashion Week. New York is such a large city, and the fancy stores on Madison Avenue are a far cry from Brooklyn's idyllic brownstones or the sandy beaches of Far Rockaway, Queens. Many outsiders have an image of New Yorkers as coastal elitists with turned-up noses and money to burn.
They're correct, but that's only one part of the larger whole that makes up New York's cultural identity, and Marisa Tomei inhabits a remarkable cross-section of everything special about The City That Never Sleeps.
Speaking of New York subcultures, Marisa shows off her versatility by switching gears from her usual earthy self to go 100% steel and concrete for her role in Fox's hit drama, Empire.
In season two of the hip-hop-themed primetime soap, MarMei guest-starred as the ridiculously-named Mimi Whiteman, a venture capitalist who seeks to take over Empire Entertainment. She only appears in five episodes of the series, but she certainly makes an impression, deliberately terrible dance moves notwithstanding.
Long story short, Mimi is eventually killed by her angry wife, Camilla, who then commits suicide by willfully drinking the same poison she used to murder her erstwhile beloved. Basically, Empire is the craziest show on television, and may it never – ever – change.
5 2014 Pamela Hanson Photoshoot
Is this woman a straight-up goddess, or what? She makes sitting at a desk to do work seem sexy. How is that even possible?
Take a look at that outfit; the pumps, the half-length pants, the loose blouse, and sporty sweater: it's the ultimate "hot mom" look! Spider-Man: Homecoming received some criticism for having lots of characters comment on how hot Aunt May is, but it's hard to argue with their logic. MarMei truly is hot enough for literally everybody around her to feel compelled to comment on how insanely good looking she is.
Like the classic New Zealand love anthem goes, "I want to tell her how hot she is, but then she'll think I'm sexist. She's so hot she's making me sexist."
4 More, December 2012
While Marisa is effortlessly attractive, she's also capable of instantaneously transforming into something of a girl-next-door type; the kind of lady one could take home to meet the parents.
Speaking of parents, MarMei's father, Gary (or GarMei), recently found himself in a weird spat with none other than Sean Lennon. Apparently, Sean's property contained a tree which was growing in such a way as to damage GarMei's property, and that the musician was never around to discuss what to do about the problem. The Tomeis won their legal battle against Lennon, who was ordered to chop down the tree immediately, but the case brings to light a problem with celebrity-owned houses and apartments in fancy parts of the city; they're never home, and their living spaces are completely empty for significant lengths of time, all while working-class New Yorkers have to live in more run-down neighborhoods. It ain't right, Sean!
Oh right, Marisa Tomei. Yep, still a knockout here.
Switching gears back to Fox's Empire, MarMei is clearly had a lot of fun as Mimi, one in the show's long line of high-profile guest stars (Gladys Knight! Chris Rock! Cuba Gooding Jr!), and it shows. Just look at that outfit; she doesn't look like she's trying to win an Emmy; she looks like she's trying to be an Emmy!
Ultimately, she wouldn't win Emmy gold for her role as Mimi (which was a missed opportunity for David Letterman-inspired "Emmy, Mimi; Mimi Emmy" memes), though she was nominated for a Critic's Choice Television Award for her role as the cunning and dangerous embodiment of greed and capitalism.
However, knowing Empire, it wouldn't be at all surprising if Mimi were to pop up as a zombie and perform a song and dance number set to Michael Jackson's Thriller.
2 Vogue 2014
As if there was ever any doubt, MarMei makes a stand here, proving that she is the consummate New York beauty. A long black dress, sporty sneakers, that tight hairstyle, and just a touch of glamour in the form of long earrings; it's essentially the New York uniform. She even looks to be sporting a pair of Chuck Taylors! She couldn't be more "New York" if she threw a brick through a rich man's window and then danced onstage at a World/Inferno Friendship Society concert.
Aunt May isn't just Peter Parker's aunt; she's the personification of everything great about New York City. In fact, she could easily join a team of New York-based heroes. The Defenders are fine, but Tomei's squad would absolutely destroy them. Presumably, that team would consist of Tomei, Pizza Rat, Mr. Met, and Pat Kiernan. It would be like Guardians of the Galaxy in New York! Obviously, Marisa's weapon of choice would be a hula hoop.
1 Captain America: Civil War
In 1994, Marisa Tomei starred in Only You alongside leading man Robert Downey Jr. It's a fun, family-friendly romantic romp in the vein of the Gregory Peck/Audrey Hepburn classic, Roman Holiday.
In Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker is introduced to Tony Stark by walking in on the billionaire playboy philanthropist shamelessly flirting with Aunt May. For fans with knowledge of their shared filmography, it's a subtle nod to their past collaboration.
While there is a degree of mutual attraction between Tony Stark and Aunt May, one would like to think that Stark respects Peter Parker enough not to hop into bed with his aunt. Besides, Pepper Potts would be furious if she were to find out!
What do you think? What is your favorite Marisa Tomei movie? Do you think Aunt May should suit up in a Black Widow costume in Avengers: Infinity War for no good reason? Sound off in the comments!