Turturro knocks ’em dead at Green-Wood Cemetery gala

Men of the hour: Green-Wood Cemetery bestowed its highest honor on author Malcolm MacKay and actor John Turturro for their continued support of the landmarked necropolis.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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 mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.

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