Turturro in May 2017
John Michael Turturro
February 28, 1957
New York City, U.S.
John Michael Turturro (//; born February 28, 1957) is an American-Italian actor, writer and filmmaker, known for his association with the independent film movement. He has appeared in over sixty feature films and has worked frequently with the Coen brothers, Adam Sandler and Spike Lee. He began his acting career on-screen in the early 1980s, with his mainstream breakthrough coming with Lee's Do the Right Thing (1989) and the Coens' Miller's Crossing (1990) and Barton Fink (1991), for which he won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival. His subsequent roles included Herb Stempel in Quiz Show (1994), Jesus Quintana in The Big Lebowski (1998) and The Jesus Rolls (2020), Pete in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), Seymour Simmons in the Transformers film series and Carmine Falcone in the DC Extended Universe. In 2016, in a lead role, he portrayed a lawyer in the HBO miniseries The Night Of and had a recurring role in the miniseries The Plot Against America in 2020.
An Emmy Award winner, Turturro has also been nominated for four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and four Independent Spirit Awards. He directed Mac (1992), which won the Golden Camera Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Illuminata (1998), and Romance and Cigarettes (2005).
John Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Katherine Florence (Incerella) and Nicholas Turturro. His mother was born in the U.S., to Italian parents with roots in Sicily, and was an amateur jazz singer, who had worked in a naval yard during World War II. His father had immigrated to the United States from Giovinazzo, Italy, at age six and later worked as a carpenter and construction worker before joining the U.S. Navy.
Turturro was raised a Roman Catholic and moved to the Rosedale section of Queens, New York with his family, when he was six. He majored in Theatre Arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz, and completed his MFA at the Yale School of Drama.
Turturro's first film appearance was a non-speaking extra role in Martin Scorsese's critically acclaimed Raging Bull (1980). He created the title role of John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea at the Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in 1983. He repeated it the following year Off-Broadway and won an Obie Award. Turturro had a notable supporting role in William Friedkin's action film To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), as the henchman of the villainous counterfeiter played by Willem Dafoe.
Spike Lee liked Turturro's performance in Five Corners (1987) so much that he cast him in Do the Right Thing (1989). This movie was the first of a long-standing collaboration between the director and Turturro, which includes work together on a total of nine films—more than any other actor in the Lee oeuvre—including Mo' Better Blues (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Clockers (1995), Girl 6 (1996), He Got Game (1998), Summer of Sam (1999), She Hate Me (2004), and Miracle at St. Anna (2008).
Turturro has appeared in both comedy and drama films, and engaged in an extended collaboration with the Coen Brothers—he appeared in their films Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991, in the lead role), The Big Lebowski (1998), and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). Turturro has also appeared in several of Adam Sandler's movies, such as Mr. Deeds (2002) and You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008). He played a severely disturbed patient of Jack Nicholson's character in the comedy Anger Management and played Johnny Depp's character's antagonist in Secret Window.
Turturro hosted Saturday Night Live in 1994, where he spoofed his then-recently made film, Quiz Show, being told he was ineligible to host unless he answered questions in a booth and if he failed, the honor of hosting would go to Joey Buttafuoco, who was actually backstage to witness Turturro's test. He won an Emmy award for his portrayal of Adrian Monk's brother Ambrose in the USA Network series Monk, and reprised the role on numerous occasions. He has also been nominated and won many awards from film organizations such as Screen Actors Guild, Cannes Film Festival, Golden Globes and others.
Turturro produced and directed, as well as acted in, the film Illuminata (1999), which also starred his wife, actress Katherine Borowitz. He wrote and directed the film Romance and Cigarettes (2005). In 2006 he appeared in Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd, and as the Sector 7 agent Seymour Simmons in four films of the Transformers live-action series. In 2010, he directed (and had cameo on-screen appearances in) Passione, which chronicles the rich musical heritage of Naples, Italy.
His stage directorial debut was in October 2011, with the Broadway play Relatively Speaking, in which he guided an ensemble of veteran actors in a production of three comedic one-act plays, written by Elaine May, Woody Allen and Ethan Coen. The cast included Julie Kavner, Marlo Thomas, Mark Linn-Baker and Steve Guttenberg.
Turturro's fifth directorial film Fading Gigolo premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in mid-September 2013. Turturro also acts in the film alongside Woody Allen, who plays a novice pimp overseeing the sex work of Turturro's character. During a September 2013 interview, Turturro expressed his intention to draw parallels between sex work and acting, explaining that the latter is a "service business" in which actors are "acting out people's wishes or fantasies". In March 2014, Turturro received the Career Achievement tribute and award at the 31st Edition of the Miami International Film Festival at the Olympia Theater in Downtown Miami. Turturro starred in the 2016 miniseries The Night Of, garnering a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
Turturro's brother is actor Nicholas Turturro. Abstract painter Ralph Turturro, Composer and film director Richard Termini, and actress Aida Turturro are his cousins. He has two sons: Amedeo (born 1990) and Diego (born 2000), with his wife, actress Katherine Borowitz.
John Turturro participates as a member of the Jury for the New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF), which is dedicated to screening films for children between the ages of 3 and 18. Turturro holds dual Italian and American citizenship, and in January 2011 received his Italian passport.
|1980||Raging Bull||Man at table||Uncredited|
|1984||Exterminator 2||Guy #1|
|The Flamingo Kid||Ted from Pinky's|
|1985||Desperately Seeking Susan||Ray|
|To Live and Die in L.A.||Carl Cody|
|1986||Hannah and Her Sisters||Writer|
|The Color of Money||Julian|
|Off Beat||Neil Pepper|
|1987||Five Corners||Heinz Zabantino|
|1989||Do the Right Thing||Pino|
|State of Grace||Nick|
|Mo' Better Blues||Moe Flatbush|
|Miller's Crossing||Bernie Bernbaum|
|1991||Men of Respect||Mike Battaglia|
|Jungle Fever||Paulie Carbone|
|Barton Fink||Barton Fink|
|1992||Mac||Niccolò Vitelli||Also director and writer|
|Brain Donors||Roland T. Flakfizer|
|1994||Quiz Show||Herb Stempel|
|The Search for One-eye Jimmy||Disco Bean|
|1995||Search and Destroy||Ron|
|Unstrung Heroes||Sidney Lidz|
|Clockers||Det. Larry Mazilla|
|Box of Moonlight||Al Fountain|
|Grace of My Heart||Joel Milner|
|The Truce||Primo Levi|
|1998||Illuminata||Tuccio||Also director, writer and producer|
|He Got Game||Billy Sunday|
|The Big Lebowski||Jesus Quintana|
|Animals with the Tollkeeper||Tuxedo Man|
|1999||Summer of Sam||Harvey the Dog (voice)|
|Cradle Will Rock||Aldo Silvana|
|2000||O Brother, Where Art Thou?||Pete|
|The Man Who Cried||Dante Dominio|
|Company Man||Crocker Johnson|
|Two Thousand and None||Benjamin Kasparian|
|The Luzhin Defence||Alexander Luzhin|
|Thirteen Conversations About One Thing||Walker|
|Mr. Deeds||Emilio Lopez|
|2004||Secret Passage||Paolo Zane|
|Secret Window||John Shooter|
|She Hate Me||Don Angelo Bonasera|
|2BPerfectlyHonest||Sal / Roberto|
|2005||Romance and Cigarettes||Male dancer and singer||Also director, writer and producer|
|The Moon and the Son||Son (voice)||Short film|
|2006||The Good Shepherd||Ray Brocco|
|A Few Days in September||William Pound|
|2007||Transformers||Agent Seymour Simmons|
|Margot at the Wedding||Jim|
|2008||What Just Happened||Dick Bell|
|You Don't Mess With The Zohan||Fatoush 'The Phantom' Hakbarah|
|Miracle at St. Anna||Det. Antonio 'Tony' Ricci|
|2009||The Taking of Pelham 123||Camonetti|
|Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen||Seymour Simmons|
|Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy||Himself||Documentary|
Also writer and executive producer
Also director and co-write
|The Nutcracker in 3D||The Rat King|
|2011||Cars 2||Francesco Bernoulli (voice)|
|Transformers: Dark of the Moon||Seymour Simmons|
|2013||Fading Gigolo||Fioravante||Also director and writer|
|Gods Behaving Badly||Hades|
|2014||God's Pocket||Arthur 'Bird' Capezio|
|Exodus: Gods and Kings||Seti I|
|Rio, I Love You||Homem||Segment "Quando não há Mais Amor"|
Also director and writer
|2015||Mia madre||Barry Huggins|
|Partly Cloudy with Sunny Spells||Lombelli|
|The Ridiculous 6||Abner Doubleday|
|2016||Hands of Stone||Frankie Carbo|
|Hair||John Turturro||Short film |
also director and writer
|Transformers: The Last Knight||Seymour Simmons|
|2019||The True Adventures of Wolfboy||Mr. Silk|
|The Jesus Rolls||Jesus Quintana||Also director and writer|
|2021||The Batman||Carmine Falcone||Filming|
|1985||Miami Vice||David Traynor||Episode: "Rites of Passage"|
|1988||The Fortunate Pilgrim||Larry||3 episodes|
|1994||Saturday Night Live||Himself / Host||Episode: "John Turturro/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers"|
|1995||Sugartime||Sam Giancana||Television film|
|2002||Monday Night Mayhem||Howard Cosell||Television film|
|Frasier||Grant (voice)||Episode: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"|
|2004–08||Monk||Ambrose Monk||3 episodes|
|2007||The Bronx Is Burning||Billy Martin||8 episodes|
|Flight of the Conchords||Credits Cop||Episode: "The Actor"|
|2016||The New Yorker Presents||Patient||Episode: "Episode #1.8"|
|The Night Of||John Stone||8 episodes|
|2017||Difficult People||Dusty||Episode: "Bernie and Blythe"|
|2019||The Name of the Rose||William of Baskerville||8 episodes; also writer and executive producer|
|Green Eggs and Ham||Goat
|2020||The Plot Against America||Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf||6 episodes|
|2011||Cars 2||Francesco Bernoulli|
|2007||World War Z||Serosha Garcia Alvarez|
|1998||Waiting for Godot||Estragon||Classic Stage Company, Off-Broadway|||
|2003||Life x 3||Henry||Circle in the Square Theatre, Broadway|
|2007||A Spanish Play||Director||Classic Stage Company, Off-Broadway|
|2011||The Cherry Orchard||Yermolai Alekaseyevich Lopakhin||Classic Stage Company, Off-Broadway|
|2011-12||Relatively Speaking||Director||Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway|
|2013||The Master Builder||Halvard Solness||Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn|
|2015||Zorba!||Zorba||New York City Center, Concert Staging|
Awards and nominations
- on YouTube
- "TURTURRO BURNS THROUGH THREE VERSIONS OF REALITY IN 'LIFE (X) 3'". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. June 1, 2003. Retrieved March 27, 2009.
- "John Turturro Biography - Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. February 28, 1957. Retrieved March 14, 2010.
- Stated on Finding Your Roots, October 31, 2017
- Pfefferman, Naomi (April 19, 1998). "Far Beyond Tears". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- Shoard, Catherine (September 12, 2013). "John Turturro on nuns, Woody Allen and middle-aged sex". The Guardian. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- Akers, W.M. (September 19, 2011). "The Long and the Short of It". The New York Observer -Fall Arts Preview.
- John Turturro on IMDb
- "Ralph Turturro". Bergen Museum of Art and Science. 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
- "NYICFF Jury". Gkids.com. Retrieved March 14, 2010.
- "John Turturro and His New Italian Passport". YouTube. January 27, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Hettich, Colter (April 25, 2017). "John Turturro talks about Brooklyn's past and future while riding the B train". AM NY. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- Scheib, Ronnie (May 25, 2004). "Review: '2B Perfectly Honest'". Variety. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
- "'Big Lebowski' Spinoff 'Going Places' Already Shooting, with John Turturro Directing and Starring as The Jesus". indiewire.com. August 17, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.