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|Portrayed by||Jerry Ferrara|
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, Driver, Personal Assistant to Vincent Chase|
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (ex-girlfriend) Alex (ex-girlfriend)Ronda Rousey (girlfriend)
|Relatives||Mother, Cousin Ronnie, Uncle Carmine, Cousin Cory|
Fictional character biography
Turtle is a childhood friend of Vincent Chase's (Adrian Grenier) from Queens. He is the only one of the main characters who is not directly involved with the acting business. Turtle is Vincent's driver and takes care of issues around the house. 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 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. Turtle has a Rottweiler 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 a body shop manager. 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. 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 UCLA coed 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, 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 five 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. One last time in the season 8 finale he tells E and Sloan that if their baby is a boy they should name it Sal. Though the last name "Vacara" appeared on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, which did not give a source, Ferrara says Sal's last name is Assante. This name was later used for the character in the film.
Ferrara said Entourage creator Doug Ellin granted his request that Turtle's real name be "Sal" in tribute to Sal Assante, a friend who died in 2002.
The Turtle character was based on Mark Wahlberg's real-life assistant, Donnie "Donkey" Carroll, who died on December 18, 2005 of an asthma attack, at age 39. At one point, Carroll and Wahlberg had a dispute because Carroll claimed Wahlberg never paid him for appropriating his life story for Entourage, while compensating others, but the two remained friends. During his 14 years working as Wahlberg's personal assistant, Carroll tried to launch a rap music career under the stage name Murda One.
- "Not Sal Vacara. SAL ASSANTE !". Jerry Ferrara verified Twitter account. January 30, 2015. Archived from the original on May 25, 2015. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
- "Friendship got tequila onto 'Entourage'". New York Post. August 6, 2010. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
- Avión (official site)
- Jerry Ferrara (June 26, 2015). "47: European Vacation" (Podcast). Bad 4 Business. Event occurs at ???. Archived from the original on June 28, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
- Hall, Sarah (December 22, 2005). "Wahlberg Loses Entourage Member". E!. Archived from the original on May 25, 2015. Retrieved May 25, 2015.