Kevin Connolly, PMHS Class of 1992, is a highly successful actor and director, best known for his portrayal of the savvy manager, Eric Murphy, better known as “E”, of a young movie star in the hit HBO comedy Entourage. Connolly began his acting career at age six, appearing in television commercials, including the popular “Betcha bite a chip” campaign for Chips Ahoy! As a 16-year-old in 1990, he landed his first film role, as Chickie in Rocky V. Two years later, Connolly was cast as Shaun Kelly in the film adaptation of Myron Levoy’s novel Alan & Naomi, and co-starred with Tobey Maguire in the short-lived Fox sitcom Great Scott! His appearance in the series later earned him a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Young Actor Co-starring in a Television Series. He portrayed Dabney Coleman’s son in the comedy film The Beverly Hillbillies. Connolly continued guest starring in television series including Wings, Getting By and the medical drama ER.
From 1995-96, Connolly starred in the film Don’s Plum alongside future collaborators Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. Around the same time, he landed the role of Ryan Malloy on the situation comedy Unhappily Ever After. It was also on that series when Connolly first took charge behind the cameras, directing six episodes in the show’s fourth season. In 2007, Connolly made his full-length movie directorial debut with the film Gardener of Eden, which premiered in April 2007 at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Connolly’s best-known and most celebrated role was as Eric Murphy on HBO’s Entourage. “E” is the manager and brains behind his best friend Vincent Chase, played by Adrian Grenier. E, Vince and two other pals move from Queens, New York to Hollywood, where they live lavishly as Vince becomes a mega movie star. Connolly’s work on Entourage earned him a 2009 Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. The show ran for eight seasons, concluding in September 2011. In 2015, Connolly reprised his role as Eric in the film adaptation of Entourage.
In addition to his television work, Connolly has appeared in several major motion pictures, including Antwone Fisher, Secretariat, John Q ,The Notebook and He’s Just Not That Into You. In 2008, Connolly was hired to direct his first music video for rap artist The Game, featuring R&B artist Ne-Yo. The video is for the song “Camera Phone” from The Game’s album LAX.
Connolly attended the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles and announced the final pick of the first round for the New York Islanders. He also directed the documentary film Big Shot, which screened at the 2013 TriBeCa Film Festival and the 2013 Hamptons International Film Festival, The film revisits the fraud perpetrated by would-be Islanders owner John Spano in 1996.
In September 2015 it was announced that Connolly would direct Gotti, a film about the infamous mobster, starring Academy Award-nominee John Travolta as John Gotti.