Rocky Carroll

Rocky Carroll


7/8/1963, Cincinatti, OH, USA

Birth Name

Roscoe Carroll


  • Rocky Carroll of NCIS
  • Rocky Carroll, stars as Vance on NCIS: L...
out of 10
User Rating
151 votes


Rocky Carroll is an American actor who has starred in numerous theater productions, movies, and television shows. He is a native of Cincinatti, Ohio, and also attended theater school there. As of 2008, he stars in the hit crime drama, NCIS as the Director of NCIS, alongside his…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Rocky has an Honorary Doctorate from the Webster University.

    • Rocky says that paying dues made him the actor he is.

    • Rocky Carroll regularly writes a special celebrity blog for the website of TV Guide magazine.

    • Rocky attended the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in Cincinnati. Sarah Jessica Parker attendet this school ass well.

    • Rocky married Gabrielle Bullock on 25 May 1996.

    • Rocky enjoys playing the trumpet.

    • Awards & Nominations:
      - In 1997, Rocky was nominated for a SAG award for Chicago Hope. The category was Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
      - In 1998, Rocky was nominated for a SAG award for Chicago Hope. The category was Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
      - In 1990, Rocky was nominated for a Broadway's Tony Award for August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. The category was Best Actor Featured Role Play.
      - In 1990, Rocky was nominated for a Broadway's Tony Award for August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. The category was Best Actor Featured Role Play.

  • Quotes

    • Rocky: The actors that I've always looked up to, De Niro, Pacino, Meryl Streep, when I was growing up, Jack Nicholson… even now, there's still an air of mystery about them. You may know a lot about them but you're not inundated with their personal lives. And it allows you, when you see them on the screen, and when they say I'm playing a lawyer, or a construction worker, you buy it. You go with them on it because your mind is not cluttered with all these preconceived images about their life. Does that make sense?

    • Rocky: I always said I don't want to be one of those actors who, when my face first comes up on the screen, people spend the first 10 minutes talking about my pending divorce, my DUI charge or whether or not I just got out of rehab, as opposed to really believing me as a character.

    • Rocky: You know, there's an old saying, most great careers are 15 to 20 years in the making. In our American Idol type of society these days, it's kind of like, "Hey, I've been waiting 6 weeks for fame and success. How come things haven't taken off?" For me, in the 19 years I've been in this town as an actor, I've seen the hottest names come and go. There's an art to being a good actor, there's an art to being a celebrity, and there's an art to longevity. Samuel L. Jackson is a friend of mine, and he's one of the few people who have mastered it all. He's always good, he stays current, and he understands the public. It's the art of surviving in this town.

    • Rocky: (about the story behind his nickname: Rocky) It's a nickname. I've had it ever since I was a kid, and I just liked it. It's nice to have a nickname that you like, because a lot of people have nicknames that they don't like. I guess I'll have to come up with a more interesting scenario, where I won the Golden Gloves or something for the future.

    • Rocky: Because once the public gets tired of you as the leading man, or the funny guy, what else can you do? And that was my training. You better be good at a whole lot of things because one of those things is gonna dry up. Things change. The public gets very fickle and if you can't change with the times, you've got about a four year career.

    • Rocky: And I'm still working to live up to that title of being an actor. I always believed that before you can do anything professionally you have to be able to do three things really well. Singing, dancing, juggling, comedy… whatever. You didn't go to Hollywood with only one bullet in your gun.

    • Rocky: (about what he likes doing better; drama or comedy) I like them both. I've been very fortunate because being in Hollywood, you can fall into the trap of being labeled a quote unquote "Comedic Actor" or "Dramatic Actor" but it's really up to you to shatter any preconceived notions that people may have with that. I came from the theater. I studied acting, I was on Broadway before coming here so my whole concept of being an actor was that it's a very arrogant thing to call yourself an actor. There are a lot of talented people in this town but there's only a very small handful of actors who can do anything. People who can be believed in any scenario. I think you can put them all in one room, the people who can actually do that.

    • Rocky: It takes a pretty grounded person to absorb that reality. That's why when I meet people who tell me that they want to get into show business, I ask them, "Are you sure that there's nothing else that you'd rather do?" OK, I have to somehow try and tie up this subject that I've wandered into... the ability to "love" the business even when the business is not showing much love for you... to not become bitter or envious of others' success and to remember the hard truth that this town "owes you nothing" is the key, in my opinion, to career longevity. It allows you to still be able to walk into an audition or a producer's meeting with no chip on your shoulder and present your talents in a way that makes directors, producers, etc; think, "Here's someone that I want to work with!"

    • Rocky: People always say actors only complain on two occasions. When they're working and when they're not. If an actor is out of work, he will say, oh God, just give me something. I just want to get into the room. Any role, any part. I would be so grateful. Then they get a role, a part or a hit series and they start complaining that they don't like this, they don't like's a vicious circle. So I reached the point after the whole experience of my career where I can honestly say that this is a time in my life, with the people I'm working with and the scripts, that it's a great place to be. I have no desire to peak over the fence.

    • Rocky: (about his favorite story from the set) Well, you know, I'm still the new guy, so they're in the making. But, you know, they are practical jokers on the set and for the last episode, the final episode of last season, when Vance breaks up the team and I'm standing at my desk with the other cast members standing there so I can give them their assignments and sending them off to different parts of the world...Vance usually has a toothpick in his mouth. They all decided that on my closeup, they were all going to have toothpicks in their mouths. So when their backs were to the camera and where you couldn't see them, each one of them, very calmly grabs a toothpick in the middle of the scene. When the first couple people did it, I thought, Ok, I got away with it. But then Harmon's got a toothpick in his I said. You work 14 to 16 hour days. And everybody's there because they deserve to be there...people think we take the work very seriously. But you can't have an attitude about it. What's the point?

    • Rocky: Theater is such a collaborative art. Hollywood is a competitive sport. I'm still adapting to that reality. I was talking to a friend of mine who is a director, someone I really respect. And I said, 'Why is that the case?' And she said to me that you have to understand that in Hollywood, a lot of times your career is based on things you have absolutely no control over whatsoever. If it were purely based on your talent it would be one thing. But we all know that that's not the case. There are some incredibly talented people in this town who can't get a break. And then there are some people who's talent we may or may not be so high on, but they're well connected. There are so many way to have a career in this town. And I think sometimes that plays into it. And a lot of friends of mine have come from theater or come from other aspects before coming to Hollywood. It takes a long time before you realize that you don't have much control. And even the ones who are successful, there's the same sort of uncertainty and neurosis in some of the most successful, A-list actors. Any day the tide could turn. You have one or two bad films and now you've got to make a comeback.

    • Rocky: (about working with Mark Harmon again) We have a really good time. You know, it's funny because I do a blog for TV Guide and people ask all the time. There's such a tension between the characters. They're so mano a mano and at any time the wheels could come off in regards to them being civil to each other. But if people really knew how much fun we had playing opposite each other, they wouldn't take us seriously. I think when you really get along and you really appreciate each other, it's easy to get adversarial on screen. There's a level of trust there. It's great. Mark is the ultimate collaborator. He really is a quarterback. He was one in college...he has such a great inquisitive sort of personality. It makes him very easy to work with. He's one of those people in my business that I really appreciate...what we do is a collaborative effort and it's sometimes made out to be a competitive sport. But it's not. When movies work or a TV series, when they really work, it's because of the collaborative effort. Competition is the death knell for anything, in my opinion. Especially in Hollywood. When actors are competing against each other, or when directors are competing against actors, it's usually the beginning of the end. And this show has survived for six seasons and it's doing better because it has such a great collaborative effort. The actors actually get along. They like each other...I've worked on shows where the actors don't talk to each other and if they want to talk to each other, they talk through the director. What kind of existence is this? If I have to spend 14 hours a day with somebody, we're in a relationship. We'd better talk it out. It's just mind-boggling to me.

    • Rocky: I've been asked if there's a secret for longevity in show business. I don't think there's an actual secret, but the performers that I've met and have had the pleasure of working with - like Mark Harmon, who I worked with on Chicago Hope and now NCIS - all seem to share a common trait. The people with long, sustained careers still love what they do, as much as they did when they started. There's no sense of entitlement; they know that this business owes them nothing. They give their all, they expect very little in return, and they are truly grateful and humbled when the business is good to them.

    • Rocky: When a performer understands their ability to influence others, it colors their decisions and gives them a profound sense of purpose. There are projects/roles that I have turned down or walked away from because I believed they could have a negative impact on others. Someone is always watching and taking their cues from your actions.

    • Rocky: Many times we impact others without knowing it. I'm very aware of that. I wish more people who are in the public eye had some degree of awareness. I don't think every public figure is equipped to be a "role model" for others. I think that's one of the most overused terms in the English language. How often do you read an article or see a clip of celebrities behaving badly and think, "Don't they know that people are watching?" "Don't they know that their actions could somehow influence/impact others?" I guess the answer is no, for some of them.

    • Rocky: When my daughter was in preschool we had an informal get-together at the school with all the kid's parents. I mentioned to a few of the parents that I was an actor. The next time I saw those parents, they had questions about my stint on Broadway, what it was like to work with Gene Hackman, was it fun working on The West Wing ... etc. Thank you, IMDb.

    • Rocky: (about having a favorite type of role to play) No, I mean, I've been very fortunate...I think the primary difference between stage and's very easy to adapt a persona or to be labeled a comedic actor or a dramatic actor in the film and TV world. Actors on stage, you can go from playing a myriad of roles, from Shakespeare to a Eugene O'Neil drama, and it's the norm. I came up in a world where you're supposed to be able to do three things very well. Act, sing, dance, paint, do something. The emphasis was on versatility. It's so funny because, here in Hollywood, and actor who really is versatile and who has the ability to transform between comedy and drama roles is considered a rarity. You know, you can play yourself and make a very good career out of it. Do the same type of role, the daring, good-looking, dashing kind of guy. I mean, there's a role for that guy in television, films, whatever. But people who are able to shape-shift and go from drama to comedy to whatever, there's an art to it. Especially in Hollywood. The actor has to really be emphatic about doing it. Because you get in a successful drama or a successful comedy, all of a sudden your agents and your managers are saying, hey, this works. Let's stick with this for the next 15 years. I guess I've been very fortunate. After the series Roc ended, every role offer I got was for the wise-cracking, ne'er-do-well brother or boyfriend and I could have made a very good career doing those characters. A different name on a different network. But it was a conscious choice I made.

    • Rocky: I recently started to think about my time here, in Hollywood. I came to L.A. 18 years ago from the New York City theatre scene. I had just finished a successful run on Broadway and was invited by my friend, Charles Dutton, to come to Hollywood and audition for a pilot for the Fox network that he was starring in. Roc went on to become a success for three seasons and pretty much wiped out any chance that I'd be headed back east anytime soon. I was smitten with the town and the industry. I love living in Los Angeles and I was learning a new craft. Television and film were new to me. I had (and still have) so much to learn about acting on camera. I'm still fascinated with the business and I'm still fascinated by the people in front of and behind the camera.

    • Rocky: You wouldn't believe how close we came to having Charles Dutton star in and direct an episode of NCIS. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will happen soon. Dutton's one of my favorite people on the planet. We shared the Broadway stage together. How can I even begin to describe that experience?

    • Rocky: (about his favorite Shakespeare role) A favorite role. Let's see. I've done so many of wouldn't be any of the big ones. I think Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet would be my favorite role. I've never played it but I would love to do it.

    • Rocky: (about how he got involved with acting) I think it has more to do with location than anything else. When I grew up in Cincinnati, OH, in 1974, the Board of Education set up the performing school, similar to the New York performing arts school and it was in walking distance from my school. So the art teacher at the elementary school that I was already going to said, 'You're a class clown. You're always getting in trouble for being obnoxious. So audition for this school.' And literally, that's how it happened...I went in and from grade 6 through the rest of my education.

    • Rocky: I'm a firm believer that getting the job is important, but doing the job well is mandatory.

    • Rocky: I brought my wife out kicking and screaming five years ago from New York City. So now I come home and say, 'Guess what, I got this job in New York and I'll only be home one week of every month now.

    • Rocky: I could have fallen through the cracks socially and racially if it hadn't been for SCPA. I could have lived a polarized life.

    • Rocky: I never followed some guy at a party and tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'How do I get to meet your agent?' Those words never passed my lips.

    • Rocky: Portraying different characters is what being an actor is all about. You have to say to yourself, `I can do anything.' My goal is to breathe life into each character and make them real.

    • Rocky: (about his love for acting) It's a calling, a passion. A lot of people make the mistake of slipping into it to see if something happens. But overnight success takes years of hard work, luck and God-given talent.

  • I love NCIS but I don't like the director. Could the writer bring Jennie back? I love the spark between Gibbs and Jennie, it was for a good show, really kept you on the edge of your seat.moreless

    I love NCIS but I don't lkie the director. Could the writer bring Jennie back? Ilove the turmoil between Jennie and Gibbs, really kept you on the edge of your seat. On the marathons I wish the stations would have the shows in order. I sit here during a marathon and get completely lost. Altho I have seen all the shows several times I still watch every series. The part of the director is a very important role, but Rocky is a bit much. He talks down to the agents like he's a lot better than them.

    I will continue to watch NCIS no matter who is the director.moreless
  • Unsure how to rate this guy.

    Have only seen this guy once - when he replaced Jenny. (Wasn't thrilled with Jenny either. I'm watching re-runs now because I never watched NCIS before July 2009. I know, STUPID.) I think a better choice would have been another female so there was some sexual tension between her and Gibbs. Perhaps someone from a different agency? Or maybe the mystery redhead who is occasionally seen picking him up or dropping him off? However, I'll give this guy a chance and see what happens. Won't like anyone telling Gibbs how to run his team, however; and certainly do NOT like the idea of completely replacing the team. THAT will NOT work.moreless