Highly talented, lightly built Italian American actor who always looks unsettled and jumpy has become a favourite of cult/arthouse film aficionados with his compelling performances in a broad range of cinematic vehicles. Has become a regular in the thought provoking films of Spike Lee and the off the wall comedies of Joel Coen & Ethan Coen. His wonderful performances include as the highly agitated "Pino" in Do the Right Thing (1989), as an intellectual playwright in Barton Fink (1991), a pedophile tenpin bowler in The Big Lebowski (1998), a confused boyfriend in Jungle Fever (1991) and as the voice of Harvey the dog in Summer of Sam (1999).
Turturro has continued to appeal to audiences despite his unconventional looks and the often annoying onscreen mannerisms of his characters which he used to great effect in films such as his blue collar tale of warring brothers in the construction business, Mac (1992), as the irate, dumped game show contestant, Herbie Stempel, in Robert Redford's dynamic Quiz Show (1994). One of modern American cinema's gems of acting, Turturro remains in strong demand for his high calibre thespian talents.
|Katherine Borowitz||(1985 - present) 2 children|
Cousin of Aida Turturro.
Graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz.
The Turturro family originates from Sicily, Italy.
Son, Amedeo Turturro, was born in 1990.
Son, Diego Turturro, was born in 2000.
Has appeared in more films directed by Spike Lee than any other actor. They first worked together in Do the Right Thing (1989) and as of Miracle at St. Anna (2008) has appeared in nine of Lee's films.
Graduated from Yale Drama School.
A native of Brooklyn.
Is a big fan of Big Trouble in Little China (1986).
Has his own production company called Humperdink Productions.
Is the second of three brothers.
Sicilian mother was a professional singer.
Does an accurate impression of Burt Lancaster.
Appears in The Communards video clip "I never can say goodbye".
Well known to New York audiences, in 1985 he won both a Theatre World Award and an Obie for his frighteningly real performance in 'Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.'.
I mean usually with movies, if you're dark, you're a bad guy. That's it. I turned down a million bad guy things.
I didn't want to be an actor who played Italian thugs. I'm not even interested in those guys really, unless it's a great part. And I knew that movies were predicated on how you look. But a few people gave me the opportunities to do other things, and I just took it and ran with it.
[2011, on The Nutcracker in 3D (2009) ] That was a whole huge makeup job. That was an interesting experience. I'm kind of disappointed that the movie got chopped up a little bit, here and there. They didn't know what to do with it. I think when they originally tested it, boys liked it better than girls. It was a little too dark. But it was a really fun role, and I loved working with Elle Fanning and Andrey Konchalovskiy. He was a taskmaster, and we butted heads many days, but I still think he's a very talented guy. I was happy with what I did in the movie, but I think, originally, it was better. And we didn't shoot it in 3-D. That was something definitely disappointing for me because I felt like I was in the realm of doing something interesting.
(2011, on his hair) Well, they said in Newsweek years ago that "John Turturro is to hair what Meryl Streep is to accents", or something like that. That was for Barton Fink (1991). It's funny, because my hair is really not that malleable, but I have done lots of crazy haircuts and had my hair straightened and this and that. I've also worn some wigs, and [Grace of My Heart (1996)] was actually a wig that I'd had made for another movie, Search and Destroy (1995). We remodeled it and, because it was long, we turned it up. That was a great job by the wig makers, the stylists. We used it long, short. So yes, hair is very important. Look at Donald Trump. Where would he be without his hair? Don King and Donald Trump are the prime examples. They've got the crowns.
[2011, on Grace of My Heart (1996)] I loved, loved doing that movie. I would put that part as one of the more successful parts I've ever played in a movie. I loved playing that role. I loved what the movie was about. I really liked working with Illeana Douglas, and I loved working with Allison Anders. I really regret that I haven't gotten to work with her again. I had a blast doing that movie. I met a guy who I based my speech pattern on - a guy who was in the music business, but he wasn't a music manager. I interviewed all these guys, and I found this one guy through a friend of mine, and he was just the key to the whole thing. Because it was well-written, but I was just trying to do something a little bit different, you know? And I basically did him in the movie. I really loved doing that movie. It's all about a lot of the music from when I was a little kid.
[2011, on Five Corners (1987)] Well, that's a great part. John Patrick Shanley wrote it. The movie's maybe a little uneven here or there, but there's a lot of good things in the movie, and it's a great part. The movie didn't get a lot of attention, but yeah, thank goodness enough people saw me in the movie, and it was a great role. It's still one of the better roles I've had. Absolutely. It's a really good part. It's hard to find. I wish I would have gotten to do more with John, because he could write for me really well, and he really fought for me to get that. That movie really helped me with filmmakers. I think if the movie would have done well, I would have gotten a lot more.
[2011, on working with Adam Sandler] Anger Management (2003) I kind of did - not as a favor, but he wanted me because I think it made Jack Nicholson feel good that I was in the movie. I wasn't crazy about that role, but I had fun doing it. Then [You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008)] Zohan was something Adam was talking to me about for years. I actually think the first hour of "Zohan", there's a lot of really funny things in the first hour. I don't think the second hour is good. But the first hour, I think Adam is really, really good in it. I actually think he can be really good. I saw him do that Judd Apatow film [Funny People (2009)], and maybe it's a little close to home or whatever, but I thought he was excellent. So I like Adam, but I have to balance these things, you know what I mean? Years ago, I did a movie called Brain Donors (1992), which was like a remake of A Night at the Opera (1935). The Zucker Brothers did it, I got cast in it, and then Paramount changed hands three times. Dennis Dugan directed it, who's the same guy who does a lot of [Sandler's] movies. If that movie would have just been released normally, I probably would have had to make a bunch of those sequels, because I signed up for that. That's one of the funniest parts I've had in movies, by the way. It was a farce, but there's a lot of really fun and clever things in that. But it depends what hits, or how it's released, or whatever. But Adam, I've known him since I did "Saturday Night Live" (1975). I think of all the things I did with him, I had the most fun doing Mr. Deeds (2002). I felt like that was the most complete thing I've done for him, as of yet. So I don't know. But now I'm feeling like I want to try to do some things that I want to do, even though the marketplace is crazy. So I'm trying to figure that out.
[2011, on being directed by Robert De Niro in The Good Shepherd (2006)] He likes to do it a lot of times. A lot of times. He's good with physical stuff, too. But he likes to do a lot of takes. A lot of 'em. Sometimes, I would say, "Listen, that's it, I did it. I did it. Let's move on". But his thing is just that maybe if you do it more, you realize that you could do less. But we've known each other for a long time, and we have a nice relationship. I can fool around with him. A lot of people don't. But I do.
[2011, on working with Robert Redford on Quiz Show (1994)] Excellent. Excellent. Very good with physical behavior. We got along because I was cast way before anybody, and we worked really well together. He's a funny man. He's eccentric in his own way. Nobody knows that. But I do. He's got his own kind of off-humor. I really like him a lot. That's another person I wish I could work with again.
[2011, on making Monkeybone (2001)] All I can say is that it was very hard to get my voice that high. It was hard. It was definitely hard. But I think he's a very talented guy, Henry Selick. I couldn't figure out why he wanted me, but he was very patient with me.
[2011, on The Truce (1997) (aka The Truce)] That was a great experience working with Francesco Rosi, who's been a dear friend of mine for a long time. I spent years working on that, just reading all the material over and over and over again. It was like studying someone, like if you went to college and you were studying a certain kind of literature, even though I was doing a lot of other things at the same time. It was one of the great experiences of my life, working with Rosi, because he's made films and worked with Gian Maria Volonté, who I think was one of the great actors. Those are the things that I always wanted to do and to be involved in. To work on an adaptation of a great writer with a great director was a really special experience for me.
(2011, on his heritage) My background is southern Italian, but there's probably some French and Spanish in there. There could be some northern African, Greek, Turkish, you know. Everybody's in there.
[2011, on being directed by Dennis Hopper in Catchfire (1990)] Hopper, you'd ask him a question, and he would rebel against himself, like, "Do whatever you wanna do! Whatever, man! Fuck 'em! Fuck 'em!" I was like, "But you're the director!" He'd be arguing with himself so you could have freedom. He liked to say "fuck" a lot. That was one of his directions: "fuck". But he'd say it in all different ways, like, "You fucking do this, and then you fuck it, man! And just fuck it! Fuck it, man! Just fucking fuck it!" I remember Joe Pesci turned to me and said, "Man, that's directing". But I got along with him really well. Every time I'd come up with an idea, it'd be, "Just fucking do it!" And I'd say, "Yeah, but I gotta check with you right? You're the director". And he'd just go, "Fuck 'em!" It was pretty crazy.
(March 2003) Now appearing in Yasmina Reza's play, Life (x) 3 at the Circle in the Square theatre.
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