John Turturro, Award-Winning Actor from ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ and ‘The Big Lebowski,’ Will Address School of the Arts Graduates Online

May 7, 2020

Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty at Columbia University School of the Arts, has announced that John Turturro, the award-winning actor best known for his roles in O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Big Lebowski, will be the speaker at the School’s virtual recognition of graduates, to be posted online on Wednesday, May 20 at 2 pm. The celebration will salute the School’s MFA graduates in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, and MA graduates in Film and Media Studies.


“John Turturro is one of the great actors living today,” said Dean Becker. “He is so versatile and intelligent and has had a career of such brilliance and integrity that he can surely be a role model for all our students. His most recent role as Rabbi Bengelsdorf in Plot Against America was startlingly unexpected. We are so grateful to Annette Insdorf for making the connection with him and thrilled that he accepted our invitation."


In a career spanning more than 35 years, John Turturro has worked with a number of acclaimed filmmakers, appearing in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever, Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money, Robert Redford’s Quiz Show, Francesco Rosi’s La Tregua, Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd, Tom DiCillo’s Box of Moonlight and Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre.  He also starred in the Adam Sandler comedies Mr. Deeds, Anger Management and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, and appeared in three of Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformer films.


He has been a frequent collaborator with Joel and Ethan Coen. For his lead role in the Coen brothers’ Barton Fink, Turturro won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the David Donatello Award. He also appeared in their films O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Miller’s Crossing and The Big Lebowski, where he played the iconic character Jesus Quintana.  Turturro recently reprised Quintana in The Jesus Rolls, a film he wrote, directed and stars in also can be seen as Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf in the six-part HBO series The Plot Against America, based on the acclaimed novel by Philip Roth. He was recently announced in the role of Carmine Falcone in Warner Brothers’ The Batman.


On television, Turturro won an Emmy Award for his guest appearance on Monk, and was nominated for an Emmy Award, Golden Globe and SAG Award for his role as criminal attorney John Stone in HBO’s The Night Of.  He was also nominated for a SAG Award for his portrayal of Howard Cosell in Monday Night Mayhem, and nominated again for The Bronx Is Burning.


Turturro received the Camera D’Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival for Mac, his directorial debut. His other films as writer and director include Illuminata, Romance & Cigarettes, Passione, and Fading Gigolo.


Turturro studied at SUNY New Paltz and the Yale School of Drama. For his stage debut he played the title role in John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, for which he won an OBIE Award and a Theater World Award.


Join us here at 2 pm EST on Wednesday May 20, 2020 to watch.