Turturro knocks ’em dead at Green-Wood Cemetery gala

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Photo gallery

Dynamic duo: Turturro and wife Katherine Borowitz chat with guest Deborah Schwartz, president of the Brooklyn Historical Society.
In the green: High-rolling donors and cemetery board members enjoy a balmy late-summer evening among the historic burial ground’s lush foliage.
Not so grave: Marty Markowitz yucks it up with Green-Wood cemetery president Richard Moylan and vice president Nicholas Pisano during the gala celebration.

He must have done the right thing.

Award-winning actor John Turturro got a different kind of accolade when Green-Wood Cemetery bestowed it’s highest honor on the Brooklyn-born titan of the big screen on Sept. 16.

The Hollywood hot-shot and history buff — who has appeared in more than 60 films, including Spike Lee’s Brooklyn-set “Do the Right Thing” and cult comedy classic “The Big Lebowski” — is a major booster of the historic burial ground, but he’s also got family ties, a Green-Wood honcho said.

“His mother is interred at Green-Wood, and he even had a couple scenes in his film ‘Romance and Cigarettes’ filmed at Green-Wood,” said the cemetery’s director of marketing Lisa Alpert.

The Green-Wood Historic Fund’s gave Turturro and Brooklyn author Malcolm Mackay the DeWitt Clinton Award for Excellence — named for the former governor and current Green-Wood resident.

The gala served as a fund-raiser, too, with cemetery supporters donating mounds of cash to bolster cultural programs at Green-Wood, which are funded separately from the cemetery’s operating costs, Alpert said.

“The fund really depends on private funding, because it is funding non-cemetery activities — tours, events, concerts, outdoor theater,” she said.

Green-Wood raised $155,000 according to preliminary counts — and much of it will go toward restoring the land-marked Weir Greenhouse, Alpert said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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