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 O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Clockers, the Transformers franchise, and Secret Window, among many other films.

His father, Nicola/Nicholas Turturro, was from Giovinazzo, Apulia, Italy. His mother, Katherine/Catherine Florence “Kate” (Incerella), was born in the U.S., to Italian parents, from Campania and Sicily. 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. Rosa was from Aragona, Province of Agrigento, Sicily. John is an honorary citizen of Aragona.


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. Adrian1Cram says:


  2. phaedra says:

    Definitely looks North African – Egyptian or Tunisian.

  3. xoxo says:

    He looks Northern African.

  4. M says:

    I told y’all them Italians have Black blood. They are in denial.

    • midori29 says:

      @M they actually stated that fact in the movie ” Do The Right Thing” that he was in. Watch the movie. Also Vin Diesel is part black and plays Italian characters all the time. I think he even straightens his hair because it was even more coarse in the movie.

      • andrew says:

        Diesel has played one one real Italian-American character:

        2 hours of makeup every morning to look like Jackie DiNorscio, because Diesel himself neither has Italian ancestry or look Italian at all.

        • fuzzybear44 says:

          Actually Vin Diesel has played Italian a two more times, that I know about in (Saving Private Ryan (1998), and then Boiler Room. I’m not sure what he was in the (Knockaround Guys)

          • andrew says:

            Lumet’s movie was a starring role. Sometimes a character’s surname does not say much if there’s no further development (in Spielberg’s movie, “Caparzo” is after a famous winery in Tuscany, as surname it’s very rare).

          • follers says:

            Dominic Toretto was probably written as an Italian-American character initially. Over time, the movies have been pretty ambiguous about it. He has a cousin in Cuba in the eighth film (2017). In the ninth film (2021), John Cena/Finn Jones play his full (!) brother and Charlize Theron says that she knew the Toretto family was of mixed ancestry, but, looking at Cena, wasn’t aware they also included “a Nordic strain.”

            Of course, he also likes saying, “salud, mi familia.”

          • andrew says:

            9th movie? Damn.

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