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".