Salvatore "Turtle" Assante, (Born August 6,1977) is a childhood friend of Vincent Chase's from Queens. He is the only one of the main characters who is not directly involved with the acting business.
Born on August 6, 1977 and raised in Queens, NY, Turtle is a childhood friend of Vincent Chase, Eric Murphy, Johnny 'Drama' Chase and Dom. Following Vince's stardom in Hollywood, Turtle joins him, Drama and E in Los Angeles, being a part of the young A-list actor's entourage; Turtle assumes the role of being Vincent's driver and takes care of issues around the house the four live in. He brings street smarts and an urban flavor to the group and is a frequent user of marijuana, and supplier to the rest of the group.
Usually, he and Drama stick together and do their own things while E and Vincent are doing business. Turtle seems to be the guy to find the good in all bad situations and bring a relative calm to the group. Turtle's importance is at times overlooked as his insight and personal connections sometimes solve difficult issues. For example, his acquaintance with rapper Kanye West allows the guys to fly to the Cannes Film Festival in Kanye's private jet after their previous plane was too small to fit everyone. He also got four seats taped off in the back of a movie theater reserved for the guys so they could see Vince's new movie Aquaman by offering a copy of the video game adaption of the movie. His working status and questionable looks prevent him from being more appealing to women, which the guys joke about on many occasions, particularly the macho and pompous Drama, who isn't any more appealing than Turtle. Turtle loves shoes, especially rare Air Force 1's. His appeal to women changes when he starts dating Jamie-Lynn Sigler, when he catches the attention of a couple of sorority sisters at UCLA. He is mainly seen wearing jerseys of New York athletes such as Allan Houston and Alex Rodriguez, and a baseball cap, usually the New York Yankees. Despite his parasitic relationship with Vince, his loyalty and friendship temper his baser qualities, like working with Eric to protect Vince from a vindictive internet journalist. Through Turtle's contact Black Axe, Turtle arranges for the entourage a Rottweiler guard dog named Arnold.
Turtle loves expensive cars, persuading Vince to lease a 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom in Season 1, and driving throughout the series a yellow 2003 Hummer H2 that was given to Dom as a severance package in Season 3. Turtle's main choice of transportation were luxury SUVs in the series, including a 2002 Cadillac Escalade in the pilot episode, and a2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESVs. In Season 6, for his 30th birthday, Vince gives Turtle a 2009 Ferrari California, and his girlfriend Jamie-Lynn Sigler buys him a 2009 Porsche 911 convertible, complete with "Turtle" personalized license plates. In Season 6, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV is replaced with a 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. In Season 7, the Escalade Hybrid is replaced with a 2010 Cadillac Escalade Platinum. In the final season, a 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV is the main choice of transportation for Turtle.
In season two, a CD is left in Eric's Maserati by two friends as a means of getting their rap demo tape into the hands of a music producer who has exactly the same car. When the car is picked up from the impound lot, the tape is played and all agree that it is good. Loving the music, Turtle gets a track into Queens Boulevard and agrees to manage the promising musician, played by real life rapper Saigon. He doesn't get a formal office until season four in Eric Murphy's "The Murphy Group" corporation. Saigon receives a great deal of interest from several record companies after Vince arranges for his music to be played by Big Boy on popular L.A. radio station Power 106. After Turtle obtains representation for Saigon from Ari, Turtle loses his client when Saigon informs him that a former manager has returned and muscled Turtle out of the picture. Despite his troubles with Saigon, Turtle receives a moderate settlement of $40,000 from Saigon. His activities after this episode in terms of producing considerably diminish. Turtle is friends with Kanye West.
At the end of Season 3, Turtle is dating Kelly, the daughter of body shop manager Rufus. In Season 4, Turtle invests $20,000 in his cousin Ronnie's scheme to buy a dying Sandy Koufax's jersey, hoping that he will profit after Koufax dies. However, Turtle learns from the auctioneers that Koufax is actually alive and well, and he has therefore squandered the rest of his Saigon money and a large sum of Drama's money.
In Episode #2.11 "Blue Balls Lagoon", it is revealed that Turtle is Sicilian-American.
It is also revealed that it was because of Turtle that Vincent got to L.A.: Turtle used to be a bookie while in high school, and he paid for everyone's tickets to L.A., and for food when they arrived with fifteen thousand dollars. He shares with Jamie-Lynn his desires to open up a restaurant one day. After much persuasion by Jamie, Turtle begins to attend college in Season 6.
Turtle's newfound appeal to women and Jamie's decision to star in a New Zealand-shot TV series forces the two to end their relationship. Turtle tries to get over Jamie by getting together with Brooke Manning, a UCLAcoed who has a crush on him. He finds himself unable to make love with Brooke, realizing that he truly loves Jamie, and he decides to go see her in New Zealand. Jamie calls him to tell him not to come, because she doesn't want a long distance relationship with someone she loves after a prior heartbreak.
Turtle later promotes a tequila brand called Avión with his girlfriend Alex. He gets into some trouble with the tequila supplier, Carlos, and businessman Mark Cuban. There is a real tequila brand called Avión. Avión was chosen as Turtle's new business because of Doug Ellin's friendship with Kenny Dichter, the creator of Avión. While on tour promoting the tequila, Alex meets a new man off-screen, effectively ending her relationship with Turtle.
This leaves Turtle uncertain as to his future in the tequila venture. Vince steps in to help Turtle as he tries to help a New York friend expand his restaurant business to the west coast. Turtle reveals that he sold all his stock in Avión, and when the company goes public, he laments that he has missed out on making a fortune. Vince reveals that not only did Vince not sell his own stock, but he also bought Turtle's shares to prevent him from making such a mistake. Turtle thus becomes a millionaire. Turtle's last scene in the series is him boarding the private jet to Paris with the rest of the gang. Turtle returns in the movie, and takes an interest in female MMA fighter Ronda Rousey, who agrees to go out with him if he lasts 30 seconds in a bout with her.
Throughout the first 5 seasons, the audience is told his name only once. In Episode 11 of Season 5, he tells actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, with whom he is starting a relationship, that his name is Sal. Also in episode 2 of season 6 he tells an interviewer that he let Jamie call him Sal but she's the only one allowed.
The name "Salvatore Vacara" appears hidden under the boxlid, in the graffiti art, on the Nike Air Force Ones that Fukijama custom made for Turtle in episode 11 of season 3.
Nearing the end of the final season of the Entourage TV show, HBO held an auction for props used during the filming. One set of items was a Turtle Collectable Set, which included a passport with his name being "Salvatore Vacara", evidently his full, real name.
Jerry Ferrara asked that Turtle's real name be "Sal" in tribute to a friend of his who died at a young age.
The Turtle character was based on Mark Wahlberg's real-life assistant, 39-year-old Donnie "Donkey" Carroll. Donkey carried Wahlberg's bags for more than 14 years while trying to launch a career as a rap musician under the name Murda One. Donkey died suddenly on December 18, 2005 of an asthma attack. Donkey and Wahlberg had a dispute earlier in 2005 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. Still, the two remained friends until Donnie's passing.