Originally a school teacher, Concetta Tomei often projects a schoolmarmish air and was frequently cast in officious roles, in which she took no hostages. She managed both attributes as Major Lila Garreau at a Vietnam medical station on "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-91), although she was softened by a marriage to a guy from the motor pool. Tomei taught junior high school in Milwaukee for four years before deciding to take a stab at acting. She studied at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, then performed with the Houston Alley Theatre for two years before moving to New York. On Broadway she co-starred with David Bowie in "The Elephant Man" and toured nationally with the show. She was in the ensemble cast of the Tommy Tune-directed "Cloud Nine" Off-Broadway from 1981-82, and originated the role of Dr. Bruckner in "The Normal Heart" at the Public Theatre. While still in New York, she landed some TV work. Tomei had a recurring role as a social worker on the soap opera "All My Children" and appeared in "Amy and the Angel," a 1982 "ABC Afterschool Special."
Migrating to Hollywood in the mid-80s, Tomei landed her first regular series berth playing Dominique, running the scruffy underground channel, on the short-lived "Max Headroom" (ABC, 1987). After "China Beach," she found occasional work in TV-movies such as "The Betty Ford Story" (ABC, 1987) and "The Wyatts" (Fox, 1994), in which she was the mother of a young man who returns home with his pregnant bride. Tomei also played Dabney Coleman's wife on "Madman of the People" (NBC, 1995-96) and was a divorcee on the short-lived Fox sitcom "Lush Life" (1996).
Tomei's feature film appearances have been sporadic. She is perhaps best recalled as Christina Applegate's mother who goes away on vacation leaving unexpected havoc behind in "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" (1991). Tomei also was a mean-spirited principal clashing with Christopher Pettiet over a parrot in "The Goodbye Bird" (1993), Brendan Fraser's mother in "Twenty Bucks" (also 1993). More recently, she was featured as a shipboard traveler in the Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau comedy "Out to Sea" (1997).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Appeared in the Off-Broadway production of "Cloud Nine", directed by Tommy Tune
Co-starred in TV-movie "Doubletakes" (CBS)
Moved to Los Angeles
Was regular on the short-lived ABC series "Max Headroom"
Played mother in the feature "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead"
Was regular on the short-lived Fox sitcom "Lush Life"
Portrayed the ghostly apparition of the heroine's mother in the NBC drama series "Providence"