The Real Life “Turtle” Dead at 39
December 20, 2005 by Kath Skerry
Carroll, 39, who was known as “Donkey,” collapsed in his fiancee’s arms Sunday night. He was rushed to the hospital but died in the emergency room. “He didn’t make it,” a tearful Mira Shanti, Carroll’s fiancee, told the Boston Herald’s Inside Track. “He had asthma and he had an attack. He fell into my arms. We rushed him to the hospital but they couldn’t get a beat.”
Shanti said Wahlberg was informed of Carroll’s death and that his old friend was “distraught” and “sad.” Carroll grew up with the “I Heart Huckabees” star in Savin Hill, MA and moved to Hollywood with Wahlberg to be his full-time personal assistant when the ex-underwear model and rapper hit it big in the mid-’90s.
When Wahlberg was helping to create the characters for “Entourage” he used Donkey as his model for the baseball-cap-wearing, Hummer-driving, pot-and-women-wrangling gofer Turtle.
The show tells the story of Wahlberg-inspired up-and-comer Vince Chase, (Adrian Grenier), and the posse of homeboys he drags along to Tinseltown. There’s his brother, Johnny Chase, aka Johnny Drama, a desperate wannabe hilariously played by Kevin Dillon, real-life bro of actor Matt Dillon. He’s based on Wahlberg’s “cousin” John Alves, a bodybuilder and washed-up actor whose credits include “Southie,” Donnie Wahlberg’s 1998 flick, and the “Marky Mark Workout” video. Alves’ real-life nickname is Johnny Drama.
Kevin Connolly’s sensible manager-in-training, Eric, is based on Wahlberg’s pal Eric Weinstein, a middle-aged Bronx homey the actor met on the set of “The Basketball Diaries.”
And Turtle, the groupie-groping goofball played by Jerry Ferrara, is based on Donkey, who carried Wahlberg’s bags for more than 14 years whilst trying to launch a career as a rap musician under the name Murda One.
Donkey and Wahlberg had a falling out earlier this year because Carroll claimed Wahlberg never paid him for appropriating his life story for “Entourage.” He said all the other real-life characters had been “taken care of” but that he’d been cut out. “I love him a lot,” Wahlberg told the Inside Track at the time. “But when a guy reaches a certain age, he’s gotta start taking responsibility. He doesn’t want to work, he wants to rap.”
Despite the disagreement, the two still talked and remained on friendly terms. Shanti said Wahlberg was shocked to hear of his friend’s death. “Donnie was the best guy. He made everyone laugh and he had a heart of gold,” she said. “That’s how everyone will remember him — living life to its fullest.”
Rerinted from The Boston Herald’s Inside Track
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