Portland News

John Turturro, a Hidden Gem Among Hollywood’s Greats

A look into one of Hollywood's most underrated talents
A look into one of Hollywood's most underrated talents

John Turturro – There are many incredible talents in Hollywood today, but while the spotlight often falls on the people in major blockbusters, there are also many hidden gems in entertainment, including John Turturro.

Who is John Turturro?

John Turturro is a well-established American actor, director, and writer whose career spans over sixty films. 

Throughout his extensive career, Turturro has worked alongside some of the best people in entertainment, including Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers, with whom he has collaborated multiple times.

He has also earned awards and nominations across various film festivals, a testimony to his incredible talent and versatility as an actor.

Although he established his place in Hollywood, Turturro also appeared in theater, taking roles in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.

Early Life

John Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York, to carpenter, construction worker, and former Navy sailor Nicholas and jazz singer Katherine Turturro. He is the second of three brothers, and his younger brother Nicholas Turturro is also an actor. They are cousins with actress Aida Turturro.

Turturro grew up in a Roman-Catholic household before moving to Queens at six. When he got older, Turturro enrolled at the State University of New York, where he studied Theater Arts. He would later earn a Master of Fine Arts Degree at the Yale School of Drama.


Before appearing in several Hollywood blockbusters, John Turturro made his humble beginnings in the Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull, though he didn’t have a speaking role. From there, he would appear in several minor roles throughout the ‘80s until getting critical recognition in the independent film Five Corners.

Turturro’s breakthrough came in 1989 when he appeared in Spike Lee’s comedy-drama Do the Right Thing, where he was able to use some of his childhood experience growing up in his performance.

In 1991, he would also appear in the Coen Brothers’ black comedy and psychological thriller Barton Fink. Turturro’s performance would earn him the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival, opening up more opportunities for his career.

John Turturro subsequently appeared in some of the biggest films, including Quiz Show, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou, and Transformers, to name a few.

Although he is best known for appearing on the big screen, Turturro also appeared on television, taking roles in Miami Vice, The Fortunate Pilgrim, Frasier, Monk, The Bronx, and more.

Outside of acting, Turturro has also tried his hand at directing and acting. In 1992, he was on triple duty for the film Mac as an actor, co-writer, and director. He would do the same again for the 1998 film Illuminata, which he also produced.

Latest Projects

With a career spanning four decades, John Turturro shows how passionate he is about the entertainment industry. In 2020, he wrote and directed The Jesus Rolls, where he resumed the role of Jesus Quintana from The Big Lebowski.

Earlier in 2020, Turturro appeared on Matt Reeve’s iteration of The Batman, where he played crime lord Carmine Falcone. Currently, he is filming Guillermo del Toro’s Pinnochio, a stop-motion animated musical fantasy. The film is set to be released on Netflix in December 2022.

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