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November 10, 2008


Who'dat?™: Crazy celebrity brothers

Ralph Turturro

This is a tough one, so I'll just tell you who it is. If you subtract the beard, hair, and about 65 pounds from this guy, but kept the expressive eyebrows and sort of wild expression, you might be able to guess that this is John Turturro's brother.

According to the Post, Ralph Turturro has been causing all kinds of problems for his Hell's Kitchen neighbors on West 46th--they've called the cops on him 5 times since August:

John Turturro's troubled older brother has them living in fear -- threatening to kill them and his caretakers, screaming at all hours of the night, and leering at female residents.

"He's explosive," said Deborah Miller. She said she had to call the cops Aug. 30 because Ralph, who was locked out of his own place, was trying to get into her apartment around 1 a.m. "Get me a key, bitch!" he screamed.

The more famous Turturro's Wikipedia entry says that his older brother Ralph is a middle school art teacher, but the Post says he's an unemployed artist who has "caretakers" with him all the time, which I'm guessing means he lost that teaching job. Neighbors say they hear him screaming and throwing furniture around the apartment.

While the older Turturro [UPDATE: it turns out the artist is John Turturro's cousin, not his brother, and is not mentally ill] may have mental problems, his art isn't bad. I found a website that appears to be his featuring a lot of his abstract art. I'm no expert on this, but some of it looks really good (I like this one from 2002.) The "recent works" are from 2003 and earlier, so maybe his creativity has suffered lately. His artist's statement is an interesting take on abstraction, subjectivity, and discipline, so it seems like he had his shit together at one point.

In an interview from 2 years ago, Ralph Turturro says he comes from a family of artists, though "the rest of my family that aren't actors never talk to each other because of one emotional thing or another." Maybe that means he's still in touch with John and Aida who can help get him away from his neighbors.

UPDATE: It turns out the mentally ill Ralph Turturro, John's brother, is not the same person as Ralph Turturro the artist. The professional artist is John's cousin, and is not mentally ill. See the comments for more anecdotes from one of the neighbors dealing with the unwell Ralph's outbursts.

categories: Celebrities, NYC, Who'Dat?
posted by amy at 2:54 PM | #

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A note of clarification: Ralph Turturro "the artist" you reference above is not the same Ralph Turturro living in Hell's Kitchen. Wikipedia is wrong, here is a picture of the artist this summer:

Also note that the artist was present at a Board of Education meeting for the Greene County School Board (Cortland, NY) on June 18, 2008:

Please do not confuse the mentally ill individual in the article with the completely different person living in upstate New York. Ralph of NYC is extremely disturbed and does not belong in residential housing. The reason this story is tied to John is because he pays for Ralph's rent and 24/7 caretakers. This has been confirmed by the caretakers and John has been seen at the building several times since July. Ralph has no job, no clinical obligations, and is a manic depressive who refuses to medicate (Depakote, among others, and we know this because he's yelled it for all the world to hear). Because the landlord of the building refuses to take action, the tenants went public with the story with the hope that someone would take notice and do the right thing. (cough!John!) John needs to transfer Ralph to a facility more appropriately suited for his unique needs, away from hard working tenants that pay their own rent and need to sleep through the night. What the article failed to mention was that a week after the interview where Ralph says "it's not going to happen anymore" HIS OWN CARETAKER CALLED 9-1-1 because Ralph hit him. We have an audio recording that confirms this. Please, somebody help us. All any of us wants is to live in peace again.

Posted by: Rhodri J. Murphy at November 11, 2008 6:26 PM

Dear Amy,

I would like to clear up some of this confusion.There are two relatives of John's who are named Ralph. There is John's brother, Ralph, the person in the Post article, as well as John's cousin, Ralph, who is a teacher and an artist. Ralph Turturro, the painter, is the one who did the paintings in the film Mac.

Posted by: turturro at November 12, 2008 12:42 AM

I am the Ralph Turturro that lives in Cortland New York. John is my Cousin and his Older Brother Ralph is the one in the article. I am a painter( I show at the CHC gallery in Chelsea NYC - 511 west 20th street) and I teach in Greene New York.
Previously I have shown at the Allen Stone Gallery and in in So-Ho. I have no mental illness that I know of and i have never been unemployed. I love my Cousins. Ralph was a very talented person before all of this. It is quite unfortunate that he is in the situation he finds himself at present. I know John is very aware of this and doing all he can to help the situation.

posted by ralph turturro january 11 2009

Posted by: Ralph Turturro at January 11, 2009 7:53 AM

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