There’s quite a back story to the hit HBO series about an emerging movie star and his posse of friends and they’re compiled here in this list of ten facts about “Entourage.” Since Season one viewers have watched Vinny Chase ride the Hollywood roller coaster with his brother Johnny “Drama” and two best friends Eric Murphy and “Turtle.” If Vinny’s ups and downs seem far-fetched, you should know that they’re heavily grounded in reality.
- Mark Wahlberg is the inspiration. Number one on the ten facts about “Entourage” has to be that the show is loosely based on the life of movie star, and show executive producer, Mark Wahlberg. As the legend goes, Wahlberg was told that his day-to-day life as an up-and-coming movie star with a posse of friends from Boston, would be entertaining to watch. So rather than shoot a documentary, Marky-Mark decided to create a fictional series about an actor from New York and his close circle of friends.
- Ari Gold has Washington connections.” The character of ruthless agent Ari Gold is based on Wahlberg’s real life agent, Ari Emanuel. The notorious Endeavor agent has D.C. ties–his brother is current White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel.
- President Obama is a fan. Ari Emanuel isn’t the only White House connection on the ten facts about “Entourage” list. Not coincidentally, President Barack Obama mentioned the HBO series on the short but diverse list of TV shows he watches including “Hannah Montana,” “SportsCenter,” “The Wire,” and “SpongeBob SquarePants”
- The real “Turtle” is a donkey. Vince’s lovable gofer, Turtle, was based on Donnie Caroll who performed the same tasks for Mark Wahlberg. The saddest entry on the list of ten facts about “Entourage,” Carroll who was known as “Donkey” died of an asthma attack in 2005. Unfortunately he never wrote his autobiography “From the ‘Hood to Hollywood, A Soldier’s Story,” which was reportedly the basis for the original series idea. “Donkey” tried to land the part of “Turtle” but his Boston accent prevented him from playing the New Yorker.
- “Aquaman” was Vince’s “Perfect Storm.” Indie darling Vince Chase became a superstar when he took on the title role in “Aquaman.” The watery part was a nod to Mark Wahlberg’s first big blockbuster flick “The Perfect Storm.”
- Walhberg’s got an “E” in real life. Kevin Connolly plays Vinny Chase’s best friend turned manager, Eric “E” Murphy. In real life, Mark Wahlberg has his own “E” – buddy and “Entourage” executive producer, Eric “E” Weinstein.
- Jeremy Piven “hugged it out” before “Entourage.” Ari Gold’s bygones greeting “Let’s hug it out,” earned a spot on TV Guide’s list of “TV’s 20 Top Catchphrases” in 2005 – coming in at number 6. But Gold isn’t the first of actor Jeremy Piven’s characters to utter the now famous words. On the short-lived 1998 series, “Cupid,” Piven’s character shouts out, “That’s right good citizens, it’s International Hug a Stranger Day! It’s time to hug it out, you little freak!”
- Johnny “Drama” is NOT based on Donnie Wahlberg. Perhaps the most surprising entry on the list of ten facts about “Entourage,” is that Vince Chase’s actor-brother Johnny “Drama” is not based on Mark Wahlberg’s actor-brother Donnie. The working character actor is actually modeled after the Wahlbergs’ cousin Johnny “Drama” Alves, who Mark credits with getting him into acting. Interestingly enough Kevin Dillon, who plays “Drama” has a big movie star brother himself – Matt Dillon.
- Vince Chase and friends will make one last movie. Vincent Chase might have a rocky movie career but he is guaranteed at least one more opportunity to hit the silver screen. Mark Wahlberg announced in December of 2009 that a feature film is in the works to satisfy fans when the series ends after the final two seasons.
- Peter Berg roomed with Ari. There are many real life Hollywood connections on the list of ten facts about “Entourage,” including this one. Ari Gold’s college roommate actor-director Peter Berg, was actually Ari Emanuel’s bunk buddy at Macalester College in Minnesota and Emanuel is Berg’s agent.
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