AARP Eye Center
Veteran actor Rocky Carroll, 59, just wrapped up another season playing Leon Vance on the long-running CBS hit show NCIS. The Cincinnati native is looking forward to his summer hiatus, and he tells AARP how he plans to spend his time, why he decided to study acting and how he’s gearing up to celebrate his 60th birthday.
The show’s season finale airs May 22. Have you finished production?
We just wrapped. It’s almost like the public school year: We start in July and we go until April of the following year. Our show’s a bit of a dinosaur. Most new series now, a full season can be 13, 15 episodes; we still do more than 20 episodes. People always ask, “Are you going to do any projects during the hiatus?” Well, the fact that I have a little bit of job security because the show is 20 years on the air, I just like to take it easy and try to regroup and recharge my batteries between now and July.
What do you do to recharge?
I try to be outside as much as I can. I love to play golf and go fishing. It’s a 20-minute drive to the ocean, so I’ll probably be on a fishing boat somewhere in Catalina as soon as [I can].
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
What do you fish for?
Whatever is biting. As the water warms up, there’s all sorts of fish. Everything you can order in a sushi bar is what I fish for. I do keep [what I catch and] give most of it away. On charter fishing boats, they will filet and bag it so by the time you get off the boat you can literally put it on the grill when you get home. You don’t have to spend hours trying to debone it and all that stuff. It’s really more the sport. I can go to the grocery store if I really want to eat fish. It’s being out in the elements, on the water. … What most people don’t understand is that even on a day when you don’t catch any fish, it still beats most things in life.
Did you start fishing as a kid?
I did. Me and my dad used to fish back in Ohio. I fished every little lake and farm pond growing up as a kid, and then once I moved to Southern California, my first time fishing on the ocean was when I was in the cast of Chicago Hope. I fell in love with the ocean. That’s been my passion ever since I was a little kid.