John Turturro

John Turturro

Turturro at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Born John Michael Turturro
(1957-02-28) February 28, 1957
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater SUNY New Paltz
Yale School of Drama
Occupation Actor, writer, director, producer
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Katherine Borowitz (m. 1985)

John Michael Turturro (Italian pronunciation: [turˈturro]; born February 28, 1957) is an Italian-American actor, writer and filmmaker known for his roles in the films Do the Right Thing (1989), Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), Quiz Show (1994), The Big Lebowski (1998), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and the first three films in the Transformers film series (2007–2011) and will reprise for The Last Knight (2017). He has appeared in over sixty films, and has worked frequently with the Coen brothers, Adam Sandler and Spike Lee.

An Emmy Award winner, Turturro has also been nominated for three Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

Early life

Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Katherine, an amateur jazz singer who worked in a Navy yard during World War II, and Nicholas Turturro, a carpenter and construction worker who fought as a Navy sailor on D-Day.[1][2] Turturro's mother was Sicilian (from Aragona near Agrigento) and his father immigrated from Giovinazzo, Bari, Italy at the age of six.[3] 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).[4] 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.

Spike Lee liked Turturro's performance in Five Corners so much that he cast him in Do the Right Thing. 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--[5] 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).[6]

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), The Big Lebowski (1998), and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). He 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.[6] 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.[6]

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 Simmons in three 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.[5]

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 played 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."[4] 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.

Personal life

Turturro's brother is actor Nicholas Turturro. Artist 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.[2]

Turturro participates as a member of the Jury for the NYICFF, a local New York City Film Festival dedicated to screening films for children between the ages of 3 and 18.[7] In January 2011, Turturro received his Italian passport, and holds dual Italian and U.S. citizenship.[8]



Title Year Role Notes
Raging Bull 1980 Man at table Uncredited
Exterminator 2 1984 Guy #1
Flamingo Kid, TheThe Flamingo Kid 1984 Ted from Pinky's
Desperately Seeking Susan 1985 Ray
To Live and Die in L.A. 1985 Carl Cody
Hannah and Her Sisters 1986 Writer
Color of Money, TheThe Color of Money 1986 Julian
Gung Ho 1986 Willie
Off Beat 1986 Neil Pepper
Five Corners 1987 Heinz Zabantino Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Sicilian, TheThe Sicilian 1987 Pisciotta
Do the Right Thing 1989 Pino
Catchfire 1990 Pinella
State of Grace 1990 Nick
Mo' Better Blues 1990 Moe Flatbush
Miller's Crossing 1990 Bernie Bernbaum Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor (3rd place)
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor (3rd place)
Men of Respect 1991 Mike Battaglia
Jungle Fever 1991 Paulie Carbone
Barton Fink 1991 Barton Fink
Mac 1992 Niccolò Vitelli Also director and writer
Caméra d'Or
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature
Brain Donors 1992 Roland T. Flakfizer
Being Human 1993 Lucinnius
Fearless 1993 Bill Pearlman
Quiz Show 1994 Herb Stempel
Search for One-eye Jimmy, TheThe Search for One-eye Jimmy 1994 Disco Bean
Search and Destroy 1995 Ron
Unstrung Heroes 1995 Sidney Lidz
Clockers 1995 Det. Larry Mazilla
Girl 6 1996 Murray
Box of Moonlight 1996 Al Fountain Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
Grace of My Heart 1996 Joel Milner
The Last Bet 1997 Leon
Truce, TheThe Truce 1997 Primo Levi
Illuminata 1998 Tuccio Also director, writer and producer
Nominated—Palme d'Or
Rounders 1998 Joey Knish
He Got Game 1998 Billy Sunday
O.K. Garage 1998 Jonny
Big Lebowski, TheThe Big Lebowski 1998 Jesus Quintana
Summer of Sam 1999 Harvey the Dog Voice
Cradle Will Rock 1999 Aldo Silvana
O Brother, Where Art Thou? 2000 Pete Nominated—MTV Movie Award for On-Screen Team (with George Clooney and Tim Blake Nelson)
Man Who Cried, TheThe Man Who Cried 2000 Dante Dominio
Company Man 2000 Crocker Johnson
Two Thousand and None 2000 Benjamin Kasparian
Luzhin Defence, TheThe Luzhin Defence 2001 Alexander Luzhin
Monkeybone 2001 Monkeybone Voice
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing 2001 Walker Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
Collateral Damage 2002 Armstrong
Mr. Deeds 2002 Emilio Lopez
Fear X 2003 Harry
Anger Management 2003 Chuck
Opopomoz 2003 John Voice
Secret Passage 2004 Paolo Zane
Secret Window 2004 John Shooter Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
She Hate Me 2004 Don Angelo Bonasera
Good Shepherd, TheThe Good Shepherd 2006 Ray Brocco
A Few Days in September 2006 William Pound
Romance and Cigarettes 2006 Male dancer and singer Also director, writer and producer
Nominated—Golden Lion
Transformers 2007 Agent Seymour Simmons
Margot at the Wedding 2007 Jim Nominated—Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Slipstream 2007 Harvey Brickman
What Just Happened 2008 Dick Bell
You Don't Mess With The Zohan 2008 Fatoush 'The Phantom' Hakbarah
Miracle at St. Anna 2008 Detective Antonio 'Tony' Ricci Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble
Taking of Pelham 123, TheThe Taking of Pelham 123 2009 Camonetti
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 2009 Seymour Simmons
Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy 2009 Himself Documentary
Also writer and executive producer
Passione 2010 Himself/Narrator Documentary
Also director and co-write
Nutcracker in 3D, TheThe Nutcracker in 3D 2010 The Rat King
Cars 2 2011 Francesco Bernoulli Voice
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 2011 Seymour Simmons
Somewhere Tonight 2011 Leroy
Fading Gigolo 2013 Fioravante Also director and writer
Gods Behaving Badly 2013 Hades
God's Pocket 2014 Arthur 'Bird' Capezio
Exodus: Gods and Kings 2014 Seti I
Rio, I Love You 2014 Homem Segment "Quando não há Mais Amor"
Also director and writer
Mia Madre 2015 Barry Huggins
Partly Cloudy with Sunny Spells 2015 Lombelli
The Ridiculous 6 2015 Abner Doubleday
Hands of Stone 2016 Frankie Carbo
Landline 2017 Alan Post-production
Transformers: The Last Knight 2017 Seymour Simmons
Going Places TBA Jesus Quintana Filming
Also writer and director[9]


Title Year Role Notes
Miami Vice 1985 David Traynor Episode: "Rites of Passage"
The Fortunate Pilgrim 1988 Larry 3 episodes
Saturday Night Live 1994 Himself (host) Episode: "John Turturro/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers"
Sugartime 1995 Sam Giancana Television film
Monday Night Mayhem 2002 Howard Cosell Television film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Frasier 2002 Grant Voice
Episode: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
Monk 2004–2008 Ambrose Monk 3 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
The Bronx Is Burning 2007 Billy Martin 8 episodes
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Flight of the Conchords 2007 Credits Cop Episode: "The Actor"
The Night Of 2016 John Stone 8 episodes




  1. "John Turturro Biography - Yahoo! Movies". 1957-02-28. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  2. 1 2 Pfefferman, Naomi (1998-04-19). "Far Beyond Tears". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  3. "TURTURRO BURNS THROUGH THREE VERSIONS OF REALITY IN 'LIFE (X) 3'". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. 2003-06-01. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  4. 1 2 Shoard, Catherine (September 12, 2013). "John Turturro on nuns, Woody Allen and middle-aged sex". The Guardian. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  5. 1 2 Akers, W.M. (September 19, 2011). "The Long and the Short of It". The New York Observer -Fall Arts Preview.
  6. 1 2 3 John Turturro at the Internet Movie Database
  7. "NYICFF Jury". Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  8. "John Turturro and His New Italian Passport". YouTube. 2011-01-27. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  9. "'Big Lebowski' Spinoff 'Going Places' Already Shooting, with John Turturro Directing and Starring as The Jesus". 17 August 2016. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
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