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Also Known As: Died:
Born: September 25, 1962 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, cleaning woman

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

New York actress Aida Turturro paid her dues with dozens of small but memorable character parts for over a decade before landing the role of a lifetime on "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) in 2000. In 2007, she was honored with an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Tony Soprano's soul-searching, emotionally unpredictable sister for the show's heavily publicized final season. A cousin of actors and brothers John and Nicholas Turturro, the actress also earned her stripes on the big screen, appearing in his films "Mac" (1990), "Illuminata" (1998) and "Romance and Cigarettes" (2005), but it was as Janice Soprano that Turturro truly mesmerized - holding her own, two-to-two opposite the intense James Gandolfini.Turturro was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 25, 1962, and raised on Manhattan's Lower East Side by her artist father and her stepmother. Her mother was chronically ill, so Turturro did not spend much time with her while growing up. She was one of the shyest kids in school, but a reluctant stage performance in drama class planted the acting seed in her head. Turturro worked up the nerve to audition for high school plays, discovering that the shy girl had a great gift for being...

New York actress Aida Turturro paid her dues with dozens of small but memorable character parts for over a decade before landing the role of a lifetime on "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) in 2000. In 2007, she was honored with an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Tony Soprano's soul-searching, emotionally unpredictable sister for the show's heavily publicized final season. A cousin of actors and brothers John and Nicholas Turturro, the actress also earned her stripes on the big screen, appearing in his films "Mac" (1990), "Illuminata" (1998) and "Romance and Cigarettes" (2005), but it was as Janice Soprano that Turturro truly mesmerized - holding her own, two-to-two opposite the intense James Gandolfini.

Turturro was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 25, 1962, and raised on Manhattan's Lower East Side by her artist father and her stepmother. Her mother was chronically ill, so Turturro did not spend much time with her while growing up. She was one of the shyest kids in school, but a reluctant stage performance in drama class planted the acting seed in her head. Turturro worked up the nerve to audition for high school plays, discovering that the shy girl had a great gift for being onstage. She decided to train for an acting career at the State University of New York in New Paltz' drama department, where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1984.

Back in Manhattan, she continued to study with acting coaches while beginning to build a resume with roles in off-Broadway productions and TV and film auditions. Her career began to take off in 1989 when she landed a supporting role in the feature comedy, "True Love," which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. In 1990, she broke through into guest TV roles on local shows like "Law & Order" and also landed a part in "Mac" (1990) - a well-received film about 1950s working class Queens life directed by her cousin, actor-director John Turturro.

Her unique spark and warm, vibrant screen presence lent itself to a series of "best friend" roles in 1992's "Jersey Girl" and 1994's "Angie." Both her vivacity and versatility were displayed with roles in films as divergent as "Manhattan Murder Mystery" (1993) and "Money Train" (1995). Turturro also took center stage (with several others) as part of the ensemble of the acclaimed independent "Denise Calls Up" (1995), in which she played a failed party planner with a note-perfect turn. In her first recurring TV role, Aida was seen on "The Wright Verdict" (CBS, 1995). She got to play zany in "The Search for One-Eye Jimmy" (1996), in which she portrayed skewed seer Madame Esther, as well as taking the fortune teller route in Woody Allen's "Celebrity" (1998). Also in 1998, Turturro re-teamed with helmers Savoca and John Turturro respectively, memorably co-starring in "The 24 Hour Woman" and "Illuminata." She enjoyed several colorful supporting parts in 1999 with "Deep Blue Sea," "Play It to the Bone" and "Bringing Out the Dead," before moving up to a co-starring role in the independent comedy "24 Nights."

In 2000, the spirited actress joined the hit HBO drama "The Sopranos" during its second season, playing the sister of troubled Mafia capo Tony (James Gandolfini) and daughter of maniacal matriarch Livia (Nancy Marchand). Janice, an aging New Ager newly christened Pavarti after a Hindi goddess, was initially presented as a spiritually in-touch woman seeking to separate herself from the crime family, but quickly showed her true colors with opportunistic manipulation and explosive violence. Turturro and Gandolfini made a compelling onscreen team, battling with sibling rivalries and contrasting lifestyle issues, but ultimately coming together in times of crisis and uniting against an abusive mother. Their chemistry was not surprising, as the two actors had worked together in "Angie" and "Fallen" (1998), and played battling neighbors in the 1992 Broadway revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire." The final season of "The Sopranos" was bittersweet for Turturro, who received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2007.

Turturro's film and stage work continued unabated throughout her "Sopranos" years, with roles in indie films like "Home Sweet Hoboken" (2001) and cousin John Turturro's "Romance and Cigarettes" (2005). Off-Broadway, she appeared in "Cavalleria Rusticana" at New York's Westbeth Theater, as well as productions of "The Threepenny Opera," "Cabaret," and "Souls of Naples," which she went on to perform in Naples, Italy, following a New York run.

Aida Turturro was also active in several health awareness initiatives. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and having suffered with the illness throughout her life, she was very outspoken about the importance of treating and working towards cures for the debilitating disease. In 2001, she was also diagnosed with type two diabetes. After learning how to manage the disease herself, she embarked on speaking tours of hospitals and diabetes centers to promote a proactive approach to living a healthy lifestyle with the increasingly common illness.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Rob the Mob (2014)
2.
 Little Help, A (2010)
3.
 24 Nights (2007)
5.
 2 B Perfectly Honest (2004) Emily/Clara
6.
 Sidewalks of New York (2001) Shari
7.
 Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001) Jean Ferraro
8.
 Joe Gould's Secret (2000) Waitress
9.
 Mickey Blue Eyes (1999) Waitress
10.
 Freak Weather (1999) Cast
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised by her father and stepmother on Manhattan's Lower East Side
:
Played a bridesmaid stood up by her date in the audience interactive Off-Broadway play "Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding"
1989:
Made film debut in "True Love," Nancy Savoca's romantic portrait of a working class Italian-American couple
1990:
Debut TV guest role on NBC's NYC-filmed series "Law & Order"
1991:
Had a cameo as a prostitute in Frank Oz's comedy "What About Bob?"
1992:
Featured alongside Jami Gertz in the romantic comedy "Jersey Girl"
1992:
Appeared in cousin John Turturro's moving directorial debut "Mac"
1992:
Featured in the Broadway revival "A Streetcar Named Desire," co-starring James Gandolfini
1993:
Played guest role as a manicurist on the Robert De Niro-produced Fox series "Tribeca"
1994:
Co-starred as the Bensonhurst-dwelling best friend of Geena Davis' willful single mother "Angie"
1994:
Returned to "Law & Order" with another brief but colorful guest stint
1996:
Played the wacky Madame Esther in "The Search for One-Eye Jimmy"
1997:
Returned for another stint on NBC's "Law & Order"
1998:
Featured along with Gandolfini in "Fallen"
1998:
Re-united with Savoca and John Turturro in "The 24 Hour Woman" and "Illuminata"
1999:
Played a doomed communications tower engineer in Renny Harlin's "Deep Blue Sea"
1999:
Co-starred in the independent gay romance "24 Nights"
2000:
Landed a regular role on HBO's acclaimed mob series "The Sopranos," playing Janice Soprano, aging hippie and opportunistic elder sister of Tony; earned an Emmy (2007) nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
2000:
Featured in the Slamdance-screened comedy "Home Sweet Hoboken"
2000:
Made cameo appearance in the Stanley Tucci-directed biopic "Joe Gould's Secret"
2001:
Cast in the ensemble comedy "Sidewalks of New York" helmed by Edward Burns
2005:
Re-united with Gandolfini and Turturro for "Romance & Cigarettes" (film released theatrically in 2007)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

State University of New York, New Paltz: New Paltz , New York - 1980 - 1984

Notes

"A Streetcar Named Desire" director Gregory Mosher on Turturro's pivotal role in the revival: "The curtain goes up and here are these people waiting for Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange, and here you are. You need guts and charm to carry that opening off." --quoted in Vanity Fair, March 1994

Turturro displaying her love of work in a 2000 interview with HBO.com about joining the cast of "The Sopranos": "It feels great to be part of a family. It feels great to have a job that you go to that you really enjoy on a whole, the work and the people. And so coming into a bunch of people that already were together, it was really easy. You're always scared to start a job. You're nervous. Everybody's nervous. You know, it's like the first day of school. But I was so lucky. I feel very, very lucky and it's exciting. It's one of the happiest times of my life. I love it, I love my job, I love the people, I love the crew, I love the actors and everybody's really normal. Hang out, really nice, fun, you know, hard-working. And good work, there's a lot of good work and that's a real blessing, I find to be able to be an actor and be part of a show or project that has quality, which is pretty rare. Not rare-rare, but, that quality, you don't get it a lot."

"Sometimes the way she acts belies how smart she really is. She's all over the place sometimes when you're talking to her, but she's incredibly smart about people. The way they act, their emotions." --co-star James Gandolfini on Turturro, quoted in Entertainment Weekly, January 7, 2000

Turturro explaining that she isn't interested in wearing the many hats that her cousin John does: "I'm an actress I'm not a director. And I'm definately not a writer. People say, 'Why don't you write?' Because I can't write!" --quoted to E! Online in their feature "Who the Hell Is This?", February 6, 2000

"Every night I had to pick up a guy. Now I'm basically one of the best flirts around." --Turturro on playing a stood-up bridesmaid in the audience-interactive play "Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding", quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 13, 2000

Turturro on Janice Soprano, her character on the hit HBO drama: "There are a lot of things in Janice that are not like me. I don't have a darker side, so it was hard to go there." --quoted to People, April 17, 2000

Family close complete family listing

father:
Domenick Turturro. Artist. Born c. 1936; divorced from Turturro's mother c. 1965; remarried c. 1966 to Joan Turturro and divorced in 1979.
father:
Domenick Turturro. Survived him.
mother:
Dorothy Turturro. Homemaker. Born c. 1937.
mother:
Dorothy Turturro. Had at least two.
step-mother:
Joan Turturro. Film editor. Born c. 1941; married Domenick Turturro c. 1966; divorced c. 1977.
step-mother:
Joan Turturro. Survived him.
sister:
Olinda Turturro. Survived him.
sister:
Olinda Turturro. Actor.
cousin:
John Turturro. Died of cancer.
cousin:
John Turturro. Actor, director. Directed Aida in "Mac" (1992) and "Illuminata" (1999).
cousin:
Nicholas Turturro. Actor. Was a regular on the ABC cop show "NYPD Blue".
cousin:
Nicholas Turturro. Mother, Maria Ewing.
half-brother:
Summer Turturro. Born c. 1969.
half-brother:
Summer Turturro. Survived her.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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