John Turturro

"You Don't Mess with the Zohan" New York City Premiere - Arrivals

Turturro in 2008, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: John Michael Turturro

Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: February 28, 1957

Ethnicity: Italian

John Turturro is an American actor, writer, director, and filmmaker. He is known for his roles in the films Five Corners, Do the Right Thing, Mo Better Blues, Miller’s Crossing, Jungle Fever, Barton Fink, Fearless, Clockers, The Big Lebowski, He Got Game, O Brother, Where Art Thou?; The Luzhin Defence, Anger Management, Secret Window, The Good Shepherd, Transformers (2007), and its sequels; Margot at the Wedding, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Miracle at St. Anna, The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009), The Nutcracker in 3D, Cars 2, Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Ridiculous 6, Hands of Stone, Gloria Bell, and The Batman (2022); and television’s Monk, The Night Of, The Plot Against America, and Severance. He has directed the films Mac, Illuminata, both of which he co-wrote; Romance & Cigarettes, Fading Gigolo, and The Jesus Rolls, all of which he wrote; and starred in all but the third. He also directed the documentary Passione, filmed in Naples, Italy.

His father, Nicola/Nicholas Turturro, was from Giovinazzo, Apulia, Italy, and arrived in the U.S. in the early 1930s. His mother, Katherine/Catherine Florence “Kate” (Incerella), was born in the U.S., to Italian parents, from Campania and Sicily, respectively. His father was with the D-Day fleet supporting the landing operations of Allied troops in Normandy in 1944.

His brother is actor Nicholas Turturro and his cousin is actress Aida Turturro. John is married to actress Katherine Borowitz, with whom he has two children.

John’s maternal grandfather, an Italian immigrant, re-married to a black woman, John’s step-grandmother Deborah M. L. Elder, in 1937. John did not know this until his appearance on the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2017).

John’s paternal grandfather was Raffaele/Raffaelle/Ralph Turturro (the son of Nicola Turturro and Teresa Rutigliano). Raffaele was born in Giovinazzo. Nicola was the son of Michele Turturro and Anna Stufano. Teresa was the daughter of Raffaele Rutigliano and Maria Trapani.

John’s paternal grandmother was Angela/Angelina Michela Cortese (the daughter of Antonio Cortese and Vincenza Decicco). Angela was born in Giovinazzo. Antonio was the son of Giuseppe Cortese and Serafina Piscitelli. Vincenza was the daughter of Domenico Decicco and Angela D’Agostino.

John’s maternal grandfather was Giovanni/John Incerello/Incerella/Inzerillo/Inzirillo/Inserillo (the son of Antonio Incerella and Margareta Lafala). Giovanni was born in Naples, Campania, Italy.

John’s maternal grandmother was named Rosa/Rosina/Rose Terrasi/Terraso. Rosa was from Aragona, Province of Agrigento, Sicily. John is an honorary citizen of Aragona.

A DNA test on Finding Your Roots found that John has a common ancestor with television journalist and sportscaster Bryant Gumbel, through shared Southern European ancestry.


Genealogy of John Turturro (focusing on his father’s side) –

Marriage record of John’s maternal grandfather, Giovanni/John Incerello/Incerella/Inzerillo/Inzirillo/Inserillo, to Deborah M. L. Elder –


Curious about ethnicity

55 Responses

  1. Ardor says:

    This is not even an atypical Italian look to begin with. If he was Tunisian or something and somebody says he looks Italian, that person would be grilled so hard! Shows how people can be so biased and absurd.

  2. roman2886 says:

    Too bad he has no Irish, and Mexican in him, His character in Anger Management did.

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