Emmy nominated American actress Aida Turturro attained prominence thanks to her portrayal of Janice Soprano, the calculating sister of mob boss Tony, in the popular HBO series “The Sopranos” (2000-2007). She took home a Screen Actors Guild Award and her Emmy nomination for her performance in the show. Turturro first appeared on the big screen with small character parts in films like “What About Bob?” (1991), “Jersey Girl” (1992), “Angie” (1994), “The Search for One-Eye Jimmy” (1996), “Sleepers” (1996), “Fallen” (1998), “The 24 Hour Woman” (1999), “Mickey Blue Eyes” (1999), “Deep Blue Sea” (1999), “Bringing Out the Dead” (1999) and “Play It to the Bone” (1999). She has worked with Woody Allen twice, once in “Manhattan Murder Mystery” (1993) and then “Celebrity” (1998) and was directed by her cousin John Turturro in “Mac” (1992), John's directorial debut, “Illuminata” (1998) and “Romance & Cigarettes” (2007). Turturro revisited TV after “The Sopranos” came to an end by having a recurring role in the NBC hit series “ER” (2008, as Sheryl Hawkins).
On the more personal front, Turturro was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes and has actively worked to raise public awareness about the diseases.
Childhood and Family:
Aida Turturro was born on September 25, 1962, in New York City, New York, to Domenick Turturro, an artist, and Dorothy Turturro, a homemaker. After the divorce of her parents in 1965, she was raised by her father and her stepmother, Joan Turturro, whom her dad was married to from 1966 to 1979 in Manhattan. Aida interest in acting was ignited after she appeared in a stage performance in drama class. She later decided to major in theater at State University of New York at New Paltz. She received her bachelor's degree in 1984.
Aida has a sister named Olinda and a half brother named Summer (born in 1969). She is the cousins of actors/directors John Turturro and Nicholas Turturro.
The 24 Hour Woman
After graduating college, Aida Turturro further honed in on her craft with acting couches in Manhattan while appearing in off-Broadway productions. In 1989, Turturro made her feature film debut by playing Grace in the comedy “True Love,” which won the Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic category at the Sundance Festival. She broke into the small screen the following year with a guest spot in the NBC series “Law & Order.”
In 1991, Turturro received a cameo role of a prostitute in “What About Bob?” (1991), a comedy directed by Frank Oz and starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss, had a bit part in “Mac” (1992), a winner of the Golden Camera at Cannes that was directed, co-written by and starred her cousin, John Turturro, costarred with Jami Gertz and Dylan McDermott in the David Burton Morris helmed romantic comedy “Jersey Girl” (1992) and played Officer Moran in “Life with Mikey” (1993), which starred Michael J. Fox, Christina Vidal and Nathan Lane. She also appeared in small roles in Woody Allen's “Manhattan Murder Mystery” (1993), Tim Hunter's “The Saint of Fort Washington” (1993, starred Matt Dillon) and John A. Gallagher's “Men Lie” (1994). She appeared in bigger roles in the based on novel “Angie” (1994), the indie short “The Dutch Master” (1994, with Mira Sorvino), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film, Live Action, and Ivan Reitman's “Junior” (1994, starred Arnold Schwarzenegger). In director/writer Sam Henry Kass' comedy “The Search for One-Eye Jimmy” (released in the U.S. in 1996), she played Madame Esther. The cast of the film also included her cousins John and Nicholas Turturro, Steve Buscemi and Samuel L. Jackson.
Meanwhile, in 1992, Turturro also performed in a Broadway revival of “A Streetcar named Desire,” which starred Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange. She returned to TV two years later when she had a small guest role as a cocktail waitress in “Law & Order,” her second appearance on the show. She would return to the show for a third time in 1996 in the episode “I.D.,” where she appeared as a receptionist. Other TV gigs during the 1990s included a reoccurring role in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” (2 episodes, 1996, as Rex) and guest roles in “The Wright Verdict,” “New York News” (both 1995) and “The Practice” (1997).
Turturro added to her film resume roles in the comedy “Denise Calls Up” (1995, with Tim Daly and Liev Schreiber), “Stonewall” (1995), “Money Train” (1995, starred Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Lopez), “Jaded” (1996), Barry Levinson's “Sleepers” (1996, as Mrs. Salinas), “Made Men” (1997), “Fool's Paradise” (1997), “Crossfire” (1998), “Freak Weather” (1998), “Too Tired to Die” (1998), “O.K. Garage” (1998) and “Woo” (1998). Still in 1998, she appeared in Gregory Hoblit's “Fallen,” Woody Allen’s “Celebrity” and John Turturro’s “Illuminata.” The busy actress next gave notable performances in the independent film “The 24 Hour Woman” and “Mickey Blue Eyes” (both 1999). She also received roles in the movies “Deep Blue Sea,” Ron Shelton's “Play It to the Bone” and Martin Scorsese's “Bringing Out the Dead.” She then costarred in “24 Night,” which was written and directed by Kieran Tuner.
In 2000, Turturro received a big break when she joined the second season cast of the HBO acclaimed mob series “The Sopranos” in the regular role of Janice Sopranos. As the aging hippie elder sister of harassed Mafia leader Tony (played by James Gandolfini whom she had worked with before), her performance was critically applauded and she was handed two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She also jointly picked up a 2008 Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, not to mention five SAG nominations in the same category. While on the show (from 2000 to 2007), Turturro also pursued her film career. She had a featured role as a waitress in the independent drama “Joe Gould's Secret” (2000), an adaptation of the 1965 book of the same name by Joseph Mitchell that starred Ian Holm, played the supporting role of Jean Ferraro in the adventurous comedy “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” (2001, starred Paul Hogan) and was cast in Edward Burns' ensemble comedy “Sidewalks of New York.” She was also seen in and the comedy “Home Sweet Hoboken” (2001).
Turturro returned to films in 2004 in “2 B Perfectly Honest,” where she costarred with her cousin John, Adam Trese, Andrew McCarthy and Robert Vaughn. She followed it up with an appearance in the short film “Survival of the Fittest” (2005) before being reunited with Gandolfini in the musical “Romance & Cigarettes” (2005), which premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 6, 2005, and earned a limited theatrical release in the U.S. in September 2007.
“Romance & Cigarettes” was written and directed by John Turturro. Turturro also made guest appearances in “Wild Card” (2004) and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (2007).
After “The Sopranos” left the airwaves, Turturro played Sheryl Hawkins in three episodes of the popular medical series “ER” in 2008. She will play Mrs. Lipshlitz in the comedy “Close Quarters” (2009), opposite Stacey Dash, and Nancy Feldman in “A Little Help” (2010), for director/writer Michael J. Weithorn.
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, “The Sopranos,” 2008