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July 15, 1927
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Turkel was born in Brooklyn, New York. When he was 16 years old he joined the U.S. military and served in the European Theater during World War II. He currently lives in southern California, and has been involved in writing screenplays.
His most famous roles are Dr. Eldon Tyrell, the eccentric God-figure in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982), and Lloyd, the ghostly bartender in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). He has the distinction of being one of only two actors (the other being Philip Stone) to work with Kubrick as a credited character three times: in The Killing (1956, as "Tiny"), in Paths of Glory (1957, as the doomed Private Arnaud), and in The Shining (1980, as Lloyd, the ghostly bartender).
His first film appearance was 1948's City Across the River. Other film appearances include Bert I. Gordon's The Boy and the Pirates (1960) as Abu the Genie; The Sand Pebbles (1966) as Bronson; The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967) as Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik; and the 1988 horror feature The Dark Side of the Moon.
Turkel's television appearances include Sky King (in the 1957 episode "Mystery Horse"), Frontier Doctor, U.S. Marshal, Kojak, Tales from the Darkside, and Miami Vice (in the episode "Indian Wars"). He played the creepy janitor in the season 5 episode of Boy Meets World And Then there was Shawn.
- "A One on One Chat with Joe Turkel, Blade Runner's Dr. Eldon Tyrell". Blade Zone: The Online Blade Runner Fan Club.