With an Emmy Award, three Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe Nomination, along with several other accolades under her belt, John Turturro is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and talented actors of all time. Born on February 28, 1958, in Brooklyn,
, John has appeared in several movies such as Quiz Show, and Do the Right Thing, as well as the blockbuster film series, ‘Transformers’.
His mother was an amateur jazz singer who also served in a Navy Yard in Brooklyn during World War 2. His father was a construction worker and a carpenter, who also provided the country with his services by fighting as a Navy Sailor on D-Day. He had dreamt of becoming an athlete, but his dreams were shattered after his leg was severely hurt, making him bedridden for several months. To pass all that time, he used to write film reviews in his scrapbooks, and eventually, led him to pursue his newly found ambition, which was acting.
After moving to the Rosedale section of Queens where he completed his high school, he went to the State University of New York at New Paltz, from where he majored in Theatre Arts. After graduation, he earned a scholarship at the prestigious Yale School of Drama. While pursuing his studies there, John started working in small theatre productions, which landed him with an uncredited role in the Martin Scorsese's much-acclaimed masterpiece, ‘Raging Bull’, in 1980. The movie starred
Robert De Niro
. He eventually left with an MFA in Drama in 1983.
His way into Hollywood was paved much easily after he won an Obie Award for John Patrick Shanley's off-Broadway production, ‘Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.’ His second appearance was in movie called, ‘The Exterminator 2’, in 1984, which was a sequel to The Exterminator. He went on to play small roles in films such as the comedy, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, Woody Allen’s, ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’, and Martin Scorsese’s drama film, ‘The Colour of the Money’. He also starred in the 1987 comedy film, ‘Five Corners’, which garnered him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male.
His acting skills, particularly in comedy, proved to be a lucky charm as director
was so impressed by his comic timing that he had John casted as a bigoted pizza parlour employee in the 1989 American comedy, ‘Do the Right Thing.’ The movie went on to be deemed as ‘culturally significant’ and is often listed as one of the greatest movies of all time. John Turturro got a nomination at the ‘The 20/20 Awards’ for Best Supporting Role. John made a total of nine movies with Spike Lee, including ‘Mo’ Better Blues’, ‘Jungle Fever’, ‘He Got Game’ and ‘She Hate Me.’
John also had several collaborations with the Coen Brothers. In 1990, he appeared in the gangster drama movie, ‘Miller’s Crossing’, playing the role of a bookie. His acting was said to be “one of the finest work as a supporting actor”, and John received many praises and accolades. He again appeared in the duo-directed ‘Barton Fink’, playing the title role of a playwright aiming to ‘create a theatre of the common man.’ The movie was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1991, winning three awards.Turturro won the Best Actor Award, while earning a nomination for Chicago film Critics Association Awards. Other movies included ‘The Big Lebowski’ (1998), and ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ (2000).
The next year, John made his directorial debut with the drama film, ‘Mac’, with himself in the lead role along with Michael Badalucco, Katherine Borowitz, Carl Capotorto, Nicholas Turturro and
. Turturro won the Best New Director Award at Cannes, even though the movie failed to create any magic among the audience. After playing some minor roles, he was casted in the much acclaimed 1994 classic, ‘Quiz Show’ as Herb Stempel. The acting was met with acclaims and earned him a nomination at the Golden Globes Awards for Best Supporting Role. He was also nominated for the same at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, as well as at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
His subsequent movies include ‘Box of Moonlight’, which earned him another nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards, as well as, ‘Grace of My Heart’ and ‘The Truce’. In 1998, he directed, wrote, produced as well as starred in the comedy movie, ‘Illuminata.’ He also played a voice role in the ‘Summer of Sam’, ‘Monkeybone’, and ‘Opopomoz’.
He also appeared alongside the comedian actor,
, in many movies such as Mr. Deeds, Anger Management, and You Don't Mess with the Zohan. For ‘Fear X’, in 2003, he received nominations at the Bodil Awards and Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for Best Actor. He was also nominated for Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Role in the psychological thriller, ‘Secret Window, alongside Johnny Depp.
In 2005, he yet again experimented and directed the musical romantic comedy, ‘Romance and Cigarettes’, and the movie earned a nomination for a Golden Lion at the Venice film festival. He then appeared in Robert De Niro’s, ‘The Good Shepherd’.
With all the things working out for him in Hollywood, he kept working on the small screen as well. He was casted in the 2002 TV film, ‘Monday Night Mayhem’, and earned a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for "Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries.” For having a guest role in the TV series, ‘Monk’, Turturro won an Emmy for Best Comedy Actor in 2008. His performance in the ESPN miniseries, ‘The Bronx is Burning’, received critical acclaims and praises from fans for the portrayal of the legendary Yankees manager, Billy Martin, earning a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.
John has also appeared in the blockbuster ‘Transformers’ film series, playing the role of Agent Simmons. He was casted in ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’, and directed the documentary film, ‘Passione’, starring himself, with the movie receiving favourable reviews from the critics. He then joined the cast of ‘The Nutcracker in 3D’ and ‘
’ as McQueen’s main racing rival. He later directed the American comedy, ‘
’. He also directed a short segment in the anthology film, ‘Rio; I Love You.’ He played the role of Seti I in the Ridley Scott’s 2014 epic film, ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’, also featuring , John Edgerton, and
. He then played the role of an egotistical factory owner of the much-acclaimed film, ‘
’, in 2015. His latest movies were ‘Partly Cloudy with Sunny Spells’ and ‘
The Ridiculous 6
’, both releasing in 2015. At the 31st Miami International Film Festival, John Turturro was bestowed with a Career Achievement tribute and award.
He has been married to the actress Katherine Borowitz since 1995, and has two sons who live in Brooklyn, NY. Actor Nicholas Turturro is his brother, and Ralph Turturro and actress Aida Turturro are his cousins. He has been a Jury member for the NYICFF, and shares a dual citizenship of America and Italy.