Salisbury-born actor Kevin Carroll keeps looking forward as HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’ comes to a close

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

By Susan Shinn Turner

For the Salisbury Post

Fans of Salisbury native and actor Kevin Carroll most likely know he just finished his second season on HBO’s “The Leftovers,” a critically acclaimed show that ends this year, its third year of production.

What’s next? Even Carroll doesn’t know the answer.

More auditions. More opportunities. The chance to learn something.

Carroll has worked steadily since the 1990s on stage and in films and television, so he’s got the right attitude when it comes to that next audition.

“When you’re in it for the craft, you can appreciate continuing to learn,” he says. “The context is on motivation rather than focusing on rejection.”

Carroll was given a great foundation by his mother, Mae Carroll, who never missed a day of work at the VA Medical Center, and his father, the late Kenneth Carroll, who was a teacher, house painter and stand-up bass musician. Carroll says his father was always practicing the next lick.

“So you’re contextualizing the process and allowing these challenges to be exciting,” he says.

Carroll, who is based in Los Angeles, is pleased with the critical acclaim that “The Leftovers” has garnered. He was also pleased that his character was so complex. That can be rare in roles for people of color, he says.

The fact that the show is ending is tough, Carroll admits. The third season premiered April 16 and is expected to run for eight episodes. A recent Variety review calls it “spectacular.”

The series explores what happens when people suddenly disappear — and what happens to those who are “left over.”

“This has universal appeal with its subject matter,” Carroll says. “We’re talking about human existence. What happens when we leave, and how do we use our time when we’re here?”

Carroll describes his character, John Murphy, as “a whole person, with flaws.”

The show has run an emotional spectrum, he says. “There’s fun in the midst of tragedy. This, for me, has been a great journey with the character and an amazing journey for me as a person.”

Questions about human existence and connections with one another seem to have a resonance with writers today, Carroll says, “because we are in a very unique time in the world. When art is doing its job, it communicates ideas that turn into conversations that serve our culture. Artists are reflecting where we are in time.”

For now, Carroll is concentrating on getting the next project. He’s done recent guest-star roles on televisions shows, including “The Catch,” “Snowfall” and “The Last Tycoon.”

He still visits Salisbury to see his mother and brother and says he’d love to do a film here someday.

For more information on Carroll, go to or follow him on Twitter at