The Real Life “Turtle” Dead at 39

December 20, 2005 by  

Donnie Carroll, the Dorchester, MA rapper and inspiration for the character “Turtle” in Mark Wahlberg’s hit HBO comedy “Entourage,” died over the weekend, reportedly of an asthma attack.

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.”

Ari Gold, Vince’s foul-mouthed, fast-talking, womanizing bully of an agent played by Jeremy Piven, is said to be a send-up of Mark’s real-life manager Ari Emanuel.

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

Filed under TV News


13 Responses to “The Real Life “Turtle” Dead at 39”

  1. How to Get the Girl of your Dreams on April 24th, 2006 11:50 am


  2. HOLLYRIP OF THE DAY at THE QUEER OF ALL MEDIA on March 15th, 2007 7:31 pm

    […] Mark Wahlberg hangs out with the real life posse that inspired the show Entourage. RIP, […]

  3. entfan on September 8th, 2008 12:03 am

    rip real life turtle

  4. Word on the Street - Frontside » Blog Archive » Word On The Street - Volume 63 on November 3rd, 2008 12:52 am

    […] he’s moved on and is into The Wire now. The real life person that Turtle in Entourage is based on passed away last weekend at the age of 39. He was Mark Wahlberg’s personal assistant in the mid ‘90’s and […]

  5. JT on November 21st, 2009 6:13 pm


  6. debjit on June 16th, 2010 8:09 pm

    R.I.P donnie

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