John Turturro

John Michael Turturro (/tərˈtʊər/;[1] born February 28, 1957) is an Italian American character 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 Transformers film series. He has appeared in over sixty films and has worked frequently with the Coen brothers, Adam Sandler and Spike Lee.

John Turturro
Turturro in May 2015
John Michael Turturro

(1957-02-28) February 28, 1957
ResidencePark Slope, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
  • United States
  • Italy
Alma mater
  • Actor
  • writer
  • filmmaker
Years active1980–present
Katherine Borowitz (m. 1985)

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

Early life

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.[2][3][4] 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 during the war.[2] Serving as a sailor, he was with the D-Day fleet supporting the landing operations of Allied troops in Normandy, France, in 1944.[2]

Turturro was raised a Roman Catholic and moved to the Rosedale section of Queens, New York with his family, when he was six.[5] 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).[6] 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 filmsmore than any other actor in the Lee oeuvre[7]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).[8]

Turturro has appeared in both comedy and drama films, and engaged in an extended collaboration with the Coen Brothershe 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.[8]

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.[8]

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.[7]

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".[6] 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.

Personal life

Turturro’s brother is actor Nicholas Turturro Abstract painter Ralph Turturro, Composer and film director Richard Termini, and actress Aida Turturro are his cousins.[9] He has two sons: Amedeo (born 1990) and Diego (born 2000), with his wife, actress Katherine Borowitz.[5]

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.[10] Turturro holds dual Italian and American citizenship, and in January 2011 received his Italian passport.[11]

He has lived in Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York since 1988.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 Raging Bull Man at table Uncredited
1984 Exterminator 2 Guy #1
1984 The Flamingo Kid Ted from Pinky's
1985 Desperately Seeking Susan Ray
1985 To Live and Die in L.A. Carl Cody
1986 Hannah and Her Sisters Writer
1986 The Color of Money Julian
1986 Gung Ho Willie
1986 Off Beat Neil Pepper
1987 Five Corners Heinz Zabantino Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
1987 The Sicilian Pisciotta
1989 Do the Right Thing Pino
1990 Catchfire Pinella
1990 State of Grace Nick
1990 Mo' Better Blues Moe Flatbush
1990 Miller's Crossing 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)
1991 Men of Respect Mike Battaglia
1991 Jungle Fever Paulie Carbone
1991 Barton Fink Barton Fink
1992 Mac Niccolò Vitelli Also director and writer
Caméra d'Or
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature
1992 Brain Donors Roland T. Flakfizer
1993 Being Human Lucinnius
1993 Fearless Bill Pearlman
1994 Quiz Show Herb Stempel
1994 The Search for One-eye Jimmy Disco Bean
1995 Search and Destroy Ron
1995 Unstrung Heroes Sidney Lidz
1995 Clockers Det. Larry Mazilla
1996 Girl 6 Murray
1996 Box of Moonlight Al Fountain Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
1996 Grace of My Heart Joel Milner
1997 Lesser Prophets (aka The Last Bet) Leon
1997 The Truce Primo Levi
1998 Illuminata Tuccio Also director, writer and producer
Nominated—Palme d'Or
1998 Rounders Joey Knish
1998 He Got Game Billy Sunday
1998 O.K. Garage Jonny
1998 The Big Lebowski Jesus Quintana
1998 Animals with the Tollkeeper Tuxedo Man
1999 Summer of Sam Harvey the Dog Voice
1999 Cradle Will Rock Aldo Silvana
2000 O Brother, Where Art Thou? Pete Nominated—MTV Movie Award for On-Screen Team (with George Clooney and Tim Blake Nelson)
2000 The Man Who Cried Dante Dominio
2000 Company Man Crocker Johnson
2000 Two Thousand and None Benjamin Kasparian
2000 The Luzhin Defence Alexander Luzhin
2001 Monkeybone Monkeybone Voice
2001 Thirteen Conversations About One Thing Walker Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
2002 Collateral Damage Armstrong
2002 Mr. Deeds Emilio Lopez
2003 Fear X Harry
2003 Anger Management Chuck
2003 Opopomoz John Voice
2004 Secret Passage Paolo Zane
2004 Secret Window John Shooter Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2004 She Hate Me Don Angelo Bonasera
2004 2BPerfectlyHonest[13] Sal / Roberto
2005 Romance and Cigarettes Male dancer and singer Also director, writer and producer
Nominated—Golden Lion
2005 The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation Son Voice
Short film
2006 The Good Shepherd Ray Brocco
2006 A Few Days in September William Pound
2007 Transformers Agent Seymour Simmons
2007 Margot at the Wedding Jim Nominated—Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
2007 Slipstream Harvey Brickman
2007 Joulutarina Iisakki English dub
2008 What Just Happened Dick Bell
2008 You Don't Mess With The Zohan Fatoush 'The Phantom' Hakbarah
2008 Miracle at St. Anna Detective Antonio 'Tony' Ricci Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble
2009 The Taking of Pelham 123 Camonetti
2009 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Seymour Simmons
2009 Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy Himself Documentary
Also writer and executive producer
2010 Passione Himself/Narrator Documentary
Also director and co-write
2010 The Nutcracker in 3D The Rat King
2011 Cars 2 Francesco Bernoulli Voice
2011 Transformers: Dark of the Moon Seymour Simmons
2011 Somewhere Tonight Leroy Best Actor - San Diego Film Festival
2013 Fading Gigolo Fioravante Also director and writer
2013 Gods Behaving Badly Hades
2014 God's Pocket Arthur 'Bird' Capezio
2014 Exodus: Gods and Kings Seti I
2014 Rio, I Love You Homem Segment "Quando não há Mais Amor"
Also director and writer
2015 Mia madre Barry Huggins
2015 Partly Cloudy with Sunny Spells Lombelli
2015 The Ridiculous 6 Abner Doubleday
2016 Hands of Stone Frankie Carbo
2017 Landline Alan Jacobs
2017 Hair John Turturro Short film; also director and writer
2017 Transformers: The Last Knight Seymour Simmons
2018 Gloria Bell Arnold
2019 The True Adventures of Wolfboy Mr. Silk
2019 The Jesus Rolls Jesus Quintana Also director and writer[14]
2021 The Batman Carmine Falcone Pre-production


Year Title Role Notes
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
2001 Biography Narrator Voice; 2 episodes
2002 Monday Night Mayhem Howard Cosell Television film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2002 Frasier Grant Voice
Episode: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
2004–2008 Monk Ambrose Monk 3 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
2007 The Bronx Is Burning Billy Martin 8 episodes
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2007 Flight of the Conchords Credits Cop Episode: "The Actor"
2016 The New Yorker Presents Patient Episode: "Episode #1.8"
2016 The Night Of John Stone 8 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
2017 Difficult People Dusty Episode: "Bernie and Blythe"
2019 The Name of the Rose William of Baskerville 8 episodes; also writer and executive producer
2019 Green Eggs and Ham Goat (voice) Upcoming Netflix series

Video games




  1. "John Turturro's 'Passione': Going Behind the Lens With "The Big Lebowski" Actor Turned Director" on YouTube
  2. "TURTURRO BURNS THROUGH THREE VERSIONS OF REALITY IN 'LIFE (X) 3'". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. June 1, 2003. Retrieved March 27, 2009.
  3. "John Turturro Biography - Yahoo! Movies". February 28, 1957. Retrieved March 14, 2010.
  4. Stated on Finding Your Roots, October 31, 2017
  5. Pfefferman, Naomi (April 19, 1998). "Far Beyond Tears". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  6. Shoard, Catherine (September 12, 2013). "John Turturro on nuns, Woody Allen and middle-aged sex". The Guardian. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  7. Akers, W.M. (September 19, 2011). "The Long and the Short of It". The New York Observer -Fall Arts Preview.
  8. John Turturro on IMDb
  9. "Ralph Turturro". Bergen Museum of Art and Science. 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  10. "NYICFF Jury". Retrieved March 14, 2010.
  11. "John Turturro and His New Italian Passport". YouTube. January 27, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  12. 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.
  13. Scheib, Ronnie (May 25, 2004). "Review: '2B Perfectly Honest'". Variety. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  14. "'Big Lebowski' Spinoff 'Going Places' Already Shooting, with John Turturro Directing and Starring as The Jesus". August 17, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
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