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John Turturro

John Turturro

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 28, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, producer, construction laborer, teacher, bartender

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Actor John Turturro rose to prominence as a favorite of filmmakers Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers with early roles in "Do the Right Thing" (1989) and "Miller's Crossing" (1990), making him a go-to guy for volatile, complex characters. Because of his distinct, but indistinguishable appearance, the Yale Drama School grad was able to play a wide array of ethnic characters, giving him the opportunity to add more depth to cinema's historically two-dimensional Italians, Jews and Latinos. While Turturro made his home in independent film, he experienced commercial success with a starring role in "Quiz Show" (1994) and supporting role in "The Good Shepherd" (2006). Meanwhile, as a writer and director, he helmed three original films, including his ode to 1950s working-class Queens, "Mac" (1992), and an homage to turn of the century Italian theater, "Illuminata" (1999). Despite avoiding television throughout his career, Turturro emerged in 2004 with an Emmy for a guest stint on "Monk" (USA, 2002- ), and in 2007 earned kudos from fans and critics for his portrayal of combative Yankees manager Billy Martin in the ESPN mini-series "The Bronx is Burning."

Actor John Turturro rose to prominence as a favorite of filmmakers Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers with early roles in "Do the Right Thing" (1989) and "Miller's Crossing" (1990), making him a go-to guy for volatile, complex characters. Because of his distinct, but indistinguishable appearance, the Yale Drama School grad was able to play a wide array of ethnic characters, giving him the opportunity to add more depth to cinema's historically two-dimensional Italians, Jews and Latinos. While Turturro made his home in independent film, he experienced commercial success with a starring role in "Quiz Show" (1994) and supporting role in "The Good Shepherd" (2006). Meanwhile, as a writer and director, he helmed three original films, including his ode to 1950s working-class Queens, "Mac" (1992), and an homage to turn of the century Italian theater, "Illuminata" (1999). Despite avoiding television throughout his career, Turturro emerged in 2004 with an Emmy for a guest stint on "Monk" (USA, 2002- ), and in 2007 earned kudos from fans and critics for his portrayal of combative Yankees manager Billy Martin in the ESPN mini-series "The Bronx is Burning."

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Passione (2011)
3.
  Romance and Cigarettes (2005) Director
4.
  Illuminata (1998) Director
5.
  Mac (1992) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 God's Pocket (2014)
2.
 Fading Gigolo (2014)
3.
4.
 Cars 2 (2011)
5.
 Passione (2011)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Spent early childhood in Hollis, Queens, NY
1963:
Moved to Rosedale, Queens at age six
:
Taught history at a Harlem high school, tended bar at the Right Bank on New York's Upper East Side and mounted off-off Broadway productions with friends at rented halls and at the Westbeth Theater
1980:
Made film debut in "Raging Bull"; Turturro and friend Michael Badalucco wrote their own scene and auditioned for director, Martin Scorsese and actor, Robert De Niro, who cast the two as extras for their trouble
1984:
Broadway debut, "Death of a Salesman" (understudy for roles of Biff and Happy)
1984:
Off-Broadway debut in John Patrick Shanley's "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea"; first created the role at the Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in 1983
1986:
Reteamed with director Martin Scorsese for "The Color of Money"
1987:
First major film role, courted Jodie Foster with purloined penguins in "Five Corners"
1989:
First film with writer-director Spike Lee, "Do the Right Thing"
1990:
Played Bernie 'The Schmatte' Bernbaum in "Miller's Crossing" written specially for him by the Ethan and Joel Coen
1991:
First starring film role, "Men of Respect," a pretentious modern version of "Macbeth"; first film with wife Katherine Borowitz
1991:
Starred as a titular, befuddled screenwriter in the Coen brothers' "Barton Fink"; role loosely modeled on Clifford Odets
1991:
Portrayed a gangster whose rise parallels Hitler in the Off-Broadway production of Bertolt Brecht's "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui"; wife also in cast
1992:
Made directorial and screenwriting (with Brandon Cole) debut with "Mac"; also co-starred; second film with Borowitz
1994:
Provided a voice for Ken Burns' acclaimed PBS documentary "Baseball"
1994:
Played defeated game show champ Herbert Stempel in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show"
1995:
Portrayed nutty inventor father in Diane Keaton's feature directing debut, "Unstrung Heroes"
1995:
Starred as mobster Sam Giancana opposite Mary-Louise Parker as Phyllis McGuire in the acclaimed HBO movie "Sugartime"
1996:
Portrayed a buttoned-down, clock-watching enginer who goes AWOL in Tom DiCillo's "Box of Moonlight"
1997:
Acted in Cole's directing debut, "OK Garage"
1997:
Stepped into writer Primo Levi's tattered shoes in Francesco Rosi's restrained post-Holocaust drama "The Truce"
1998:
Sixth collaboration with Spike Lee, "He Got Game"
1998:
Reteamed with the Coen brothers for "The Big Lebowski," as a flamboyant Latin sex offender
1998:
Produced, directed, co-wrote (with Cole) and starred in "Illuminata"; Borowitz played his onscreen wife
1998:
Portrayed Estragon opposite Tony Shalhoub's Vladimir in Classic Stage Company revival of "Waiting for Godot" in NYC
1999:
Acted in Tim Robbins' "Cradle Will Rock"
2000:
Had featured role in "The Man Who Cried"; screened at Venice Film Festival; released in USA in 2001
2000:
Reteamed with wife Katherine Borowitz in "Two Thousand and None"
2000:
Co-starred with George Clooney and Tim Blake Nelson as a trio of escapees from a Southern chain gang in the Coen brothers' "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
2001:
Had featured role in "13 Conversations About One Thing"
2002:
Starred as Howard Cosell in the TNT movie "Monday Night Mayhem"; received a SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
2002:
Played a snooty butler in "Mr. Deeds," starring Adam Sandler
2004:
Co-starred with Johnny Depp in the thriller "The Secret Window"
2004:
Guest-starred on the USA comedy series "Monk"
2005:
Helmed "Romance & Cigarettes" a big-screen musical about a two-timing husband (James Gandolfini) who must choose between his mistress (Kate Winslet) and his beleaguered wife (Elaine Stritch); film released theatrically in 2007
2006:
Played a blue-collar assistant opposite Matt Damon in Robert De Niro's "The Good Shepherd"
2007:
Cast in director Michael Bay's live action film "Transformers"
2007:
Portrayed Billy Martin, an All-Star second baseman with the NY Yankees in "The Bronx is Burning" (ESPN); earned a SAG nomination for Outstanding Male Actor in a Miniseries
2008:
Co-starred with Adam Sandler in the comedy film "You Don't Mess with the Zohan"
2009:
Co-starred with Denzel Washington and John Travolta in the remake of "The Taking of Pelham 123"
2009:
Re-teamed with director Michael Bay for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
2011:
Re-teamed with director Michael Bay to play Seymour Simmons in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
2011:
Voiced Francisco Bernoulli in the Pixar movie, "Cars 2"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

State University of New York, New Paltz: New Paltz , New York - 1978
School of Drama, Yale University: New Haven , Connecticut - 1983

Notes

"Like a carpenter builds a table and it's standing there, actors should leave something behind them that you see and say, 'Ah, I'll never forget that.'" --John Turturro, quoted in PREMIERE, September, 1989.

"People make the mistake of thinking of John only in terms of his raw energy--of thinking that he is the character he plays in his films. But John has fabulous training, and he really learned how to channel his complex emotional life into dramatic poetry and physicality. He is really a craftsman." --Carey Perloff, director of "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" and then artistic director of the CSC Repertory Company, quoted in LOS ANGELES TIMES, August 11, 1991.

"I try to work with people I'm attracted to and on things that are challenging. I'm not really happy just being like a hired hand. I've turned down parts I thought were one-dimensional. You know, some people's goal is to be a 'movie star.' I'd rather be an actor. I don't want to be bored. That's my goal." --John Turturro to NEW YORK, August 12, 1991

"He doesn't do much else other than acting. Acting is the major thing in his life. He pretty much eats, sleeps, and shits it. He should try and relax a little bit--and get a new car." --Nicholas Turturro, on his brother, to PREMIERE, September 1991

Named "hot actor" of 1990 by ROLLING STONE

Having appeared in many of Spike Lee's films, John Turturro has developed a close friendship with the sometimes outspoken director--and the ability to offer unsolicited advice. "I tell him to shut up, but in a nice way. People jump on him for things in his movies that anybody else could get away with. They have perceptions about him, and are always ready to attack. Then, he makes it worse by running off at the mouth. I say: 'Just zip it.'" --from NEW YORK POST, July 21, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Katherine Borowitz. Actor. Married in 1985; met at Yale School of Drama.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Nicholas Turturro. Carpenter, construction worker. Died of lung cancer in 1988; came to US from Italy as a boy "knowing all the Fascist songs, and wound up a patriotic American serviceman who fought in D-Day".
mother:
Katherine Turturro. Amateur jazz singer. Worked in a Navy yard during World War II; appeared in son's directing debut, "Mac" (1992).
brother:
Ralph Turturro. Older; contributed artwork and storyboards to "Mac".
brother:
Nicholas Turturro. Actor. Younger; played John's brother in "Mo' Better Blues"; also appeared with brother in "Jungle Fever" and on stage in "Arturo Ui"; worked as doorman at St. Moritz hotel in New York; TV series regular on "NYPD Blue".
cousin:
Aida Turturro. Actor. Played Grace in "True Love" (1989) and Eunice in 1992 Broadway revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire".
son:
Amadeo Turturro. Actor. Born during shooting of "Barton Fink" c. August, 1990; named after artist Amedeo Modigliani; has appeared in "Illuminata" and "The Royal Tenenbaums".
son:
Diego Turturro. Born in 2001.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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