‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Producers Reveal What Everyone Calls LL Cool J on Set

by Leanne Stahulak

Despite being a famous rapper and star on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” LL Cool J would rather people on-set call him something else.

Earlier this week, Outsider sat in on a Q&A with “NCIS: Los Angeles” supervising producer Chris Molnar and “NCIS” supervising producer Richie Owens. The two graduated from Miami University and appeared on a webinar with Miami alumni to talk about the two shows.

Molnar revealed some interesting tidbits about his time with the cast of the Los Angeles spin-off series, which debuted in 2009. When asked about the famous Grammy-winning artist, Molnar said that the cast and crew don’t typically call him LL Cool J.

“[His] real name is James Todd Smith, we’ll call him Todd on set,” Molnar revealed.

James Todd Smith adopted the stage name “LL Cool J” back in 1984. At the time, his rapping career was just taking off. He wanted a catchy name to put on his eventual records and vinyl. Finally, he landed on “Ladies Love Cool James,” and he shortened it to LL Cool J so it would fit better on the vinyl. The rapper landed a record deal with Def Jam just one year later, according to Hello! Magazine.

The “NCIS: Los Angeles” star has mentioned that he prefers the name Todd on set before. Back in 2014, LL Cool J told Glamour that it felt more “personal.”

“I let everybody call me Todd because I think that one, it’s more personal, and I can connect with people. And two, I don’t want it to be about my career, my brand, my persona,” he said.

“I’m here working, and I just like Todd Smith on the call sheet,” the actor continued. “It just keeps it simple. I don’t feel like they’ll take me more seriously or anything like that because I’m still LL Cool J on billing. But I think it’s more personal.”

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star LL Cool J is ‘Wonderful’ With Fans

“NCIS: Los Angeles” supervising producer Chris Molnar also mentioned how LL Cool J is really “wonderful” with fans.

“He really appreciates the fans and knows that he would not be where he is without them,” Molnar said during the Q&A. “So whenever he’s on set or on location and fans come up for an autograph, he will absolutely sign. Or take pictures, provided there’s time for that.”

Molnar revealed that LL Cool J also interacts with Miami film students who visit the set through the “Inside Hollywood” program.

“He’s absolutely there for the fans and for the Inside Hollywood Folks. [LL Cool J] always sits with them when they when they’re visiting, when there’s a chance they’ll take pictures, and talk about experience, about where they’re from, [he’ll] learn about what they want to do,” Molnar said.

Aside from LL Cool J, the other “NCIS: Los Angeles” cast members are also pretty spectacular, per the supervising producer.

“Both he and Chris [O’Donnell] hosted several after-work parties in the bar across the street of the backlot,” Molnar mentioned. “They’re all just very welcoming and open. And the people who play Kensi and Deeks, they’re just so nice and open.”