Worked With:

Donnie Wahlberg


Mariska Hargitay


Michael Pitt


Edie Falco


Larry David


Jenna Fischer


Michelle Trachtenberg


Patricia Arquette


Julianna Margulies


James Gandolfini


Dominic Chianese

Aida Turturro Biography


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Birth Name: Aida Turturro
Born: 09/25/1962
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA


Turturro was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 25, 1962, and raised on Manhattan's Lower East Side by her artist father and her stepmother. Her mother was chronically ill, so Turturro did not spend much time with her while growing up. She was one of the shyest kids in school, but a reluctant stage performance in drama class planted the acting seed in her head. Turturro worked up the nerve to audition for high school plays, discovering that the shy girl had a great gift for being onstage. She decided to train for an acting career at the State University of New York in New Paltz' drama department, where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1984.

Back in Manhattan, she continued to study with acting coaches while beginning to build a resume with roles in off-Broadway productions and TV and film auditions. Her career began to take off in 1989 when she landed a supporting role in the feature comedy, "True Love," which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. In 1990, she broke through into guest TV roles on local shows like "Law & Order" and also landed a part in "Mac" (1990) - a well-received film about 1950s working class Queens life directed by her cousin, actor-director John Turturro.

Her unique spark and warm, vibrant screen presence lent itself to a series of "best friend" roles in 1992's "Jersey Girl" and 1994's "Angie." Both her vivacity and versatility were displayed with roles in films as divergent as "Manhattan Murder Mystery" (1993) and "Money Train" (1995). Turturro also took center stage (with several others) as part of the ensemble of the acclaimed independent "Denise Calls Up" (1995), in which she played a failed party planner with a note-perfect turn. In her first recurring TV role, Aida was seen on "The Wright Verdict" (CBS, 1995). She got to play zany in "The Search for One-Eye Jimmy" (1996), in which she portrayed skewed seer Madame Esther, as well as taking the fortune teller route in Woody Allen's "Celebrity" (1998). Also in 1998, Turturro re-teamed with helmers Savoca and John Turturro respectively, memorably co-starring in "The 24 Hour Woman" and "Illuminata." She enjoyed several colorful supporting parts in 1999 with "Deep Blue Sea," "Play It to the Bone" and "Bringing Out the Dead," before moving up to a co-starring role in the independent comedy "24 Nights."

In 2000, the spirited actress joined the hit HBO drama "The Sopranos" during its second season, playing the sister of troubled Mafia capo Tony (James Gandolfini) and daughter of maniacal matriarch Livia (Nancy Marchand). Janice, an aging New Ager newly christened Pavarti after a Hindi goddess, was initially presented as a spiritually in-touch woman seeking to separate herself from the crime family, but quickly showed her true colors with opportunistic manipulation and explosive violence. Turturro and Gandolfini made a compelling onscreen team, battling with sibling rivalries and contrasting lifestyle issues, but ultimately coming together in times of crisis and uniting against an abusive mother. Their chemistry was not surprising, as the two actors had worked together in "Angie" and "Fallen" (1998), and played battling neighbors in the 1992 Broadway revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire." The final season of "The Sopranos" was bittersweet for Turturro, who received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2007.

Turturro's film and stage work continued unabated throughout her "Sopranos" years, with roles in indie films like "Home Sweet Hoboken" (2001) and cousin John Turturro's "Romance and Cigarettes" (2005). Off-Broadway, she appeared in "Cavalleria Rusticana" at New York's Westbeth Theater, as well as productions of "The Threepenny Opera," "Cabaret," and "Souls of Naples," which she went on to perform in Naples, Italy, following a New York run.

Aida Turturro was also active in several health awareness initiatives. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and having suffered with the illness throughout her life, she was very outspoken about the importance of treating and working towards cures for the debilitating disease. In 2001, she was also diagnosed with type two diabetes. After learning how to manage the disease herself, she embarked on speaking tours of hospitals and diabetes centers to promote a proactive approach to living a healthy lifestyle with the increasingly common illness.