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He Played Joey Emerson on "Roc." See Rocky Carroll Now at 59.

The actor starred on the '90s sitcom before moving on to two long-running dramas.

When Rocky Carroll transitioned from theater to television, he never could have anticipated that today, he'd be starring on a long-running TV show for 14 years and counting. But, while Carroll is on a popular drama now, the series that got him into the medium in the first place was a comedy that aired back in the early '90s. From 1991 to 1994, Carroll starred on Roc as Joey Emerson, the brother of main character, Roc Emerson. Joey was a struggling jazz musician, who returned to his family's Baltimore neighborhood.

Roc was unique in that three of its stars were theater actors, first and foremost. Taking advantage of their talents, the second season of the show featured live episodes, which was very rare for a sitcom.

After the sitcom, Carroll moved on to many more TV roles, before landing his current long-standing gig. Read on to find out more about his life and career.

READ THIS NEXT: See Charmaine From The Cosby Show & "A Different World" Now at 57.

Carroll is a Tony-nominated stage actor.

Rocky Carroll on "Roc"
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Before he started acting on Roc, Carroll had made a couple of small TV appearances and had a role in the 1989 movie Born on the Fourth of July, but he was primarily a theater actor. In fact, he and his Roc co-stars Charles Dutton and Carl Gordon all starred in the August Wilson play The Piano Lesson together before being cast on the show. For that performance, Carroll was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

"What I miss most is the live response that you would get. I miss that sort of live interaction," Caroll told The Couch of acting on stage in 2014. "I say this all the time, I had to learn a new language: the language of acting in front of the camera. Because when I first started, when I first did the series Roc, I literally came from the Broadway stage and suddenly I was doing a sitcom."

He's still on TV today.

Rocky Carroll at the 2001 CBS Summer Press Tour
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage via Getty Images

After Roc, Carroll went on to star in the series Chicago Hope from 1996 to 2000. He's appeared on episodes of The West Wing, ER, Boston Legal, and The Game, among other series. He was also in the movies Crimson Tide, Yes Man, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

But, the role Carroll is best known for is playing NCIS director Leon Vance on NCIS. He's also been featured on its spinoffs NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, and NCIS: Hawaii. He's been starring on the flagship series since 2008.

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He's also a director.

Rocky Carroll at PaleyFest LA in April 2022
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

In addition to starring on the show, Carroll has stepped behind the camera on NCIS, directing 19 episodes of the drama. He's also directed an episode of another CBS show, Magnum P.I.

"I've been given a nickname at work when I'm behind the camera. I'm now Director Director because I play the director and I am the director," Carroll told CBS Los Angeles in 2021. "This all came about maybe five years ago now. I was curious and I told the producers I'd like to shadow the director. I had been entertaining the idea of directing. About six weeks later, I was given my first shot. I guess I must have done something right because now I've got 10 or 11 episodes of NCIS under my belt."

He's a husband and father.

Rocky Carroll and daughter Elissa at the premiere of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" in 2017
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Carroll has been married to Gabrielle Bullock, an accomplished architect, since 1996. According to her bio at the firm Perkins & Will, she was the second Black woman graduate from the architecture department at the Rhode Island School of Design and the first African American and first woman to become managing director of the firm. The couple share a daughter, Elissa.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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