The Surprising Reason Behind Marisa Tomei's Stint on Seinfeld

The Surprising Reason Behind Marisa Tomei's Stint on Seinfeld
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Everyone knows Seinfeld. During its nine-season run, the "show about nothing" became one of the most influential and beloved sitcoms of all time, and a re-watch of the series would reveal dozens of celebrity cameos including Kathy Griffin, Jon Lovitz, Mariska Hargitay, Bryan Cranston, and Cortney Cox.

Some of these actors were unknowns at the time, while others had already made a name for themselves in Hollywood.

One of Seinfeld's most beloved cameos came from Marisa Tomei, who had been a relative unknown until 1992. That's when her comedic turn in My Cousin Vinny won her an Oscar and catapulted her to stardom. In 1996, Tomei appeared in two episodes of Seinfeld. She played herself – well, a version of herself that was attracted to "funny, quirky bald men". George (Jason Alexander), who up until this point had "never been anyone's type", takes a shine to Tomei in the season 7 episode "The Cadillac". However, when Tomei learns that George is already engaged, she punches him in the eye.

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After George's fiancée Susan (Heidi Swedberg) dies due to a tragic envelope poisoning, George wastes no time asking Marisa Tomei on a date, but she hangs up the phone when she finds out that Susan isn't even in the ground yet.

When asked about her stint on one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, Marisa Tomei revealed the surprising reason that she was written into the show: because Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, Seinfeld's co-creators, just liked the sound of her name. In a 2016 interview with Marie Claire, Tomei said,

When I got there I did ask Larry David, "How did I get so lucky? How am I here?" He just said, 'Well, when you say your name over and over it just has a really strong rhythm: "Marisa Tomei. Marisa Tomei."

They must have really liked her name because the words "Marisa Tomei" appears around 30 times in the Seinfeld scripts.

Since then, Tomei has been nominated for two more Academy Awards for In The Bedroom (2001) and The Wrestler (2008). For the younger generation, she is probably most famous for playing Aunt May in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where she appeared in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). But for those who grew up with Seinfeld, she'll always be remembered as…well… Marisa Tomei.