The AvatarsBen Hawkins - The Prince - Creature of Light
Played by Nick Stahl
Ben Hawkins - A troubled young man picked up by the carnival in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, circa 1934. Abandoned as an infant by his father, Henry "Hack" Scudder, Ben was raised on an isolated farm by his fanatically religious, mentally ill mother, Flora Hawkins. At an early age, he began manifesting supernatural healing powers. Frightened, his mother condemned him as devil-spawn, rejecting him emotionally and physically until her death in 1934 due to complications of dust pneumonia. He was subsequently picked up by Carnivale. Since joining the odd troupe, Ben has been plagued by disturbing and mysterious dreams. Forces within the carnival-specifically Professor Lodz, a blind mentalist, working under orders of a mysterious overseer known only as "Management"-seem to be manipulating him into using his healing powers, despite their terrible cost. Clues and strange signs seem to indicate that Ben's past-and his future-are inexorably entwined with that of Carnivale. Season 2 concludes with Ben's setting out to confront Brother Justin in California, where they finally meet in battle in a cornfield. The carnies find Brother Justin slain and Ben passed out from his own grievous wounds. They take Ben back to their camp and leave New Canaan.
Brother Justin Crowe - The Usher - Creature of Darkness
Played by Clancy Brown
Brother Justin Crowe - A Methodist minister in California's rich Central Valley, Justin and his sister, Iris, were tragically orphaned when their mother, Plemina, died in a train-crash. Like Ben Hawkins, Justin also experienced manifestation of supernatural powers at a young age-specifically the ability to see into others' souls accompanied by the powers of illusion and telekinesis. Horrified, traumatized by their fatal effect, young Justin sublimated these abilities into adulthood. Raised by his surrogate father, Rev. Norman Balthus, Justin focused his energy into religious studies, eventually taking his vows as a minister. In 1934, devoted not only to his flock, but also to the poor Okies pouring in from the Dust Bowl, Justin began experiencing apocalyptic dreams and visions as, once again, the powers he buried so long ago have begun reasserting themselves. Along with the manipulations of Iris, Justin stands poised on the brink of fame as a radio evangelist. Brother Justin at long last meets his adversary, Ben, in the final episode of the series. Brother Justin is killed in a battle in a cornfield near his home, but Sofie as the Omega arrives and places her hands on his chest, causing the corn stalks around them to wither and fall away.
Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya - The Omega
Played By Clea Duvall
Sofie Agnesh Bojakshiya - The Gypsy daughter of Apollonia Bojakshiya, a once renowned tarot-card reader, now catatonic due to complications during Sofie's birth. Sofie shares a telepathic link with her mother, which allows her to lend voice to Apollonia's predictions. Though this symbiotic relationship allows the two to make a living, it also gives Apollonia access to every thought and feeling Sofie may have. Furthermore, Sofie has never developed a true "inner-voice," that role having long-been usurped by her mother. But as Sofie matures, the cloying control her mother holds over her combined with the physical demands of nursing an invalid have become intolerable. Sofie longs to break free of her mother's influence. After a short-lived relationship with Ben, Sofie leaves the carnival altogether and becomes the Crowes' maid in California . Brother Justin introduces her to the world of religion, but several signs suggest that the preacher is not the good man Sofie thought. After berating Brother Justin in the final episode, Sofie is locked in a barn where visions insinuate her as the Omega and Brother Justin as her father. She later shoots Jonesy, and her eyes have taken on the coal black appearance of Brother Justin's eyes. The final minutes of the series show Sofie finding Brother Justin dead in a cornfield. She lays her hands on his chest, and the corn around them dies.
Henry Scudder - Prophet - Creature of Darkness
Played by John Savage
Henry "Hack" Scudder - Born in 1889 in Ingram, Texas, the only son of Hilton Scudder, a notorious Grand Dragon in the Texas Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and Emma Krohn Scudder. Accounts vary, but it has been alleged that, the night of Henry's birth, his mother went mad and murdered her husband and several of her own children by a previous marriage. Early in childhood, the boy's powers began to manifest themselves. Besides incipient psychokinesis, Scudder could read minds and divine the past and future from touching objects. Scudder joined the 1st Canadian Depot Battalion in 1914, stationed in Lemberg as an observer with the Austro-Hungarian army. An assassination attempt by a Russian officer, Lucius Belyakov, was thwarted by a runaway circus-bear, Bruno, whose master, Professor Ernst Lodz, soon became aware of the American's uncanny powers. The two traveled together for several months, performing for (and fleecing) the wealthy in European salons from Belgrade to Paris. Aware that Belyakov was still pursuing him, Scudder fled to the United States in 1915. There he met Flora Hawkins, who became his common-law wife. The two had a son, Ben Hawkins. Once again sensing the Russian in pursuit, Scudder left his wife and infant son, taking a job as "The Gentleman Geek" with the Hyde & Teller Company until it was purchased by Belyakov. By now a heavy drinker, Scudder wandered the Southwest as an itinerant laborer--including a stint at the ill-fated Babylon Mine--before vanishing in 1922. Season 2 forces both Ben and Brother Justin to find Scudder for their own purposes. After a long journey, Ben finds Scudder in Damascus, Nebraska and brings him to the carnival's Management. When Scudder flees moments later, escaped convict Stroud kidnaps him and brings him to Brother Justin. Brother Justin anticipates Scudder's renewed escape and decapitates him.
Lucius Belyakov/The Management - Prophet - Creature of Light
Played by Michael Massee and Vladislav Kozlov (Russian soldier), Cameron Clapp (body), Linda Hunt (voice)
Lucius Belyakov is a mysterious man who appears in Ben's and Brother Justin's dreams as a Russian soldier. Unknown at first, he is also the carnival's Management, hiding in his trailer and communicating with his carny workers solely through Samson. As Management remains unseen during the first season, it is unclear at first whether Management exists at all. Late in the season however, Management is shown to have a conversation with Lodz. In the second season, Management reveals himself to Ben as Lucius Belyakov, the soldier of his dreams who was once badly injured by a bear. Management wants Ben to break an unfolding chain of catastrophic events, and urges him to find and bring Scudder to him. After Ben's accomplished mission, Management attacks Scudder and is stabbed by Ben. With his last breath, Management tells Ben how to defeat the Usher, Ben's ultimate nemesis.
The CarniesEdgar "Samson" Leonhardt
Played By Michael J. Anderson
Edgar "Samson" Leonhardt - Began his career as a "mighty-mite," dwarf strongman act at Coney Island's Lilliputia in 1904, a miniature village built to resemble 15th-century Nuremberg (also known as "Midget City"). In 1912, Samson began working with traveling shows, including Carnivale, which was then owned by the Hyde & Teller Company. Quick-witted, a consummate con-man, Samson was soon elevated from his position as a performer to general manager, a position he lost for a brief period after the show was purchased by Management and his responsibilities were passed on to Professor Lodz. In time, however, he regained his job, becoming Management's right hand. Samson temporarily loses his position to Lodz for a second time near the end of the first season but retains Management's trust. The death of Management in season 2 leads to Samson's secret deal with Ben to make the boy the new commander of the carnival
Clayton "Jonesy" Jones
Played By Tim DeKay
Clayton "Jonesy" Jones - Samson's right hand man, head of the rousties, or carnival workers. Strong, tough, but bull-headed, Jonesy was once a star pitcher in the major leagues, whose career was cut short by a crippling injury to his knee when he refused to throw a game for the mob. Broke, he subsequently eked out bare sustenance as a low-level rumrunner, living on the edge of society, gradually climbing further into the bottle until he joined Carnivale. There, Jones found redemption in the eyes of a little girl named Sofie. The two became inseparable until Sofie grew into a woman, making their relationship awkward. At the beginning of the series, Jonesy is faced with Sofie avoiding his advances. While she retreats into a friendship with cootch dancer Libby Dreifuss, Jonesy finds sexual relief with Libby's mother Rita Sue. Following Sofie's revenge at the end of season 1, Jonesy remains cold towards her yet finds new affection in Libby. Shortly after their elopement, Jonesy is kidnapped, tortured and left for dead by a man who had lost his wife in a Ferris wheel accident. Ben is able to heal Jonesy including his crippled knee, and Jonesy joins Ben on his last mission. In the series' final minutes, Jonesy and Sofie meet again, and she shoots him in cold blood.
Professor Ernst Lodz
Played By Patrick Bauchau
Professor Ernst Lodz - While searching for his dancing bear, Bruno, Lodz discovered an American expatriate, Henry Scudder, wandering in a Lemberg battlefield. Tragically, the bear was shot by a Russian officer. However, saving Scudder turned out to be fortuitous for Lodz when he became aware of the American's uncanny powers. Besides incipient psychokinesis, Scudder could read minds, divine the past and future from touching objects. The two traveled together, performing for the wealthy in European salons from Belgrade to Paris. Aware that the Russian was still pursuing him, Scudder decided to leave the act. Lodz tried to stop him, coveting a fraction of his partner's power. Scudder fulfilled Lodz's wish, gifting him with psychic power while exacting a terrible price: Lodz's sight. Bitter, Lodz has pursued Scudder ever since-at first alone, then in league with Management, a pursuit he will continue even beyond death itself. Lodz unsuccessfully hassles the boy to work with him and to listen to his dreams. He later initiates Ruthie's death with Management's blessing to get his sight back. Upon finding out these circumstances, Ben strangles Lodz to death, reviving Ruthie in the process. Using Ruthie's body, Lodz visits his lover Lila and informs her about the events leading to his death.
Played By Debra Christofferson
Lila Villanueva - The so called "Bearded Lady of Brussels" was born in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, to a circus family in 1890. She is the lover of Lodz and the dressmaker of the carnival. At sixteen, already graced with a thick, silky beard, Lila married for the first time to a ventriloquist, Paco Soza. After less than six weeks, the marriage was annulled. Over the next fifty years, Lila was married over nineteen times, "twenty if you count Gordito." But the one, true love of her life was Professor Lodz. By all accounts, she never emotionally recovered from his disappearance in late 1934. Lila's arc of the first season is limited to being with Lodz until she notices his growing contact with Management. His sudden disappearance at the beginning of season 2 however make her suspicious. Samson's subsequent evasive behavior suggests external forces, but Lila finds herself unable to obtain proof. Ruthie repeatedly approaches Lila at night, seemingly possessed by Lodz, and leaves her clues. When Lila finally learns of the circumstances surrounding Lodz's death, she suborns the carnival crew to a mutiny that almost prevents the troupe from meeting with Brother Justin in California.
Played By Diane Salinger
Apollonia Bojakshiya - A once renowned seer who read cards for the rich and famous on the eastern seaboard. In 1913, during childbirth or soon thereafter (reports vary), Apollonia suffered a series of devastating seizures that left her paralyzed and catatonic. She was subsequently cared for by her sister, Anash, and later by her daughter, Sofie the Younger. The two eventually began working the travelling circuits as a mother-daughter act. When the series starts with Ben joining the carnival, Apollonia can no longer shield Sofie from her own true self. Sofie begins to evade and rebel against her mother's mental control, but Apollonia counters by first trying to drive Sofie to suicide, then by attempting to kill her in a trailer fire at the end of the first season. Only Sofie and Jonesy, can escape the inferno; Apollonia dies.
Felix (Stumpy) Dreifuss
Played By Toby Huss
Felix "Stumpy" Dreifuss is the manager of the cootch ( striptease ) show. He began his career as a talker for the famed fat-lady twins, Gillian and Shannon Bartholomew in 1910. He then joined the infamous Red Rutherford Traveling Crazy Horse Revue, where he met his future wife and business partner, Rita Sue Menninger. Upon Rutherford's death, the young couple began traveling with various carnival companies as The Gay Paree Show, eventually joined by their two daughters, Libby and Dora Mae.
Rita Sue (Menninger) Dreifuss
Played By Cynthia Ettinger
Rita Sue (Menninger) Dreifuss - was born in Kansas City, MI, in 1895. Her father, Thomas, a prosperous merchant, and mother, Emma, doted on their only child, educating her at the finest Eastern boarding schools. Thomas's premature death in 1903, however, had a catastrophic effect on the family's financial fortunes, forcing Emma to seek employment as a domestic worker. Rita Sue left home in 1908, gravitating to vaudeville and, eventually, the Red Rutherford Traveling Crazy Horse Revue, traveling the eastern seaboard and sharing the stage with strip-show luminaries such as Bonnie Fellows and Katie McCook, and meeting her future husband, Felix (Stumpy) Dreifuss. When they were married in Atlantic City in 1914, Rita Sue was already seven months pregnant with their first child, Libby. Her birth was soon followed by that of their second daughter, Dora Mae, in 1916.
Played By Carla Gallo
Libby Dreifuss was born in 1914, the eldest child of Felix (Stumpy) and Rita Sue Dreifuss. She joined the Gay Paree Show as a performer in 1928. The Cootch Show is, in fact, the girlie show, nudity required. After the death of her sister Dora Mae, she gets closer to Sofie and wants to leave the Carnivale. During season 2 she gets closer to Jonesy, To whom she gets married after a night of booze-up.
Dora Mae Dreifuss
played by Amanda Aday
Dora Mae was born in 1916, she is the child of Felix (Stumpy) and Rita Sue Dreifuss and the little sister of Libby. She was murdered during the stay of Carnivàle to Babylon, and henceforth she lives among the deaths of the mine.
Played By Adrienne Barbeau
Ruthie - A retired snake charmer, Ruthie is the "talker" (what rubes might call a "barker") for her son, Gabriel, who performs a strong man act. Anyone who can wrestle Gabriel to the ground wins five dollars-a prize Ruthie has never had to shell out. She became Henry Scudder's lover during his brief tenure with the Hyde & Teller Company. Now, with the arrival of Scudder's son, Ben Hawkins, Ruthie once again finds herself drawn in emotionally. Ever pragmatic, no matter how much she tries to extricate herself from her relationship with the charismatic young Ben, the further entangled she becomes. Shortly after Ruthie and Ben grow close, Ruthie dies in a snakebite, and Gabriel helps Ben in the secret attempt to resurrect Ruthie. The mission succeeds at last at the expense of Lodz's life, the carnival's blind mentalist. In season 2, Ruthie starts to encounter people who have died a long time ago. Being possessed by Lodz at night, Ruthie repeatedly approaches Lila, leading to Lila turning into a major obstacle for the carnival's success.
Played By Brian Turk
Gabriel - The Carnivale strong man. Anyone who can wrestle Gabriel to the ground wins five dollars - a prize Ruthie has almost never had to shell out. Gabriel is huge and powerful and has the I.Q. of a six-year-old.
Gecko played by John Fleck
Gecko is the Lizard Man at the carnival. His disappearance in-between seasons is unexplained.
Alexandria and Caladonia Potter played by Karyne and Sarah Steben
Alexandria and Caladonia are twins conjoined at the hip. Their disappearance in-between seasons is unexplained.
Burley played by Scott MacDonald
Burley is a roustabout at the carnival.
Osgood played by Blake Shields
Osgood is a roustabout at the carnival.
Possum played by Bill Moseley
Possum is the cook of the carnival.
Jasper played by Frank Collison
Jasper is a barker at the carnival.
Giant played by Matthew McGrory
The giant demonstrates his size in the Ten-in-One .
Sabina Engstrom played by Bree Walker
Until its closure, Sabina the Scorpion Lady worked at the Daily Brothers Show. She was married to Samson for nine years.
Bert/Bertha Hagenbeck played by Paul Hipp
Bert/Bertha is the current husband of Sabina. He dresses as half a man, half a woman.
Rollo the Rubberboy/Boneless Billy Benson played by Daniel Browning Smith
Rollo is a contortionist .
Justin's circleIris Crowe
Played By Amy Madigan
Iris Crowe - Brother Justin's older sister, she cared for him after the death of their mother, Plemina Belyakov, in a train crash in the California Sierras. Though her brother had long since forgotten about his strange powers, she alone kept his secret, fervently praying for the day when the Lord would make His wishes known. With the onset of Justin's visions, she takes action, ruthlessly pursuing what she sees as her brother's divine destiny. Intensely loyal, fiercely protective, she sees her station in life as one of service and devotion to Justin. To prevent the revelation of Brother Justin's true nature, Iris murders an innocent Okie, Eleanor. Late in the second season, Iris joins her foster father Norman in an ultimately unsuccessful plot against Brother Justin.
Reverend Norman Balthus
Played By Ralph Waite
Reverend Norman Balthus is Justin Crowe's mentor and former guardian. Ran an orphanage in Stockton, taking Justin and Iris in as children. Norman and his wife, Rose (d. 1927) were surrogate parents to the two children. Highly respected within the California Methodist Church, Balthus has helped Justin throughout his career, paving the way for his young, gifted protege, lending moral and financial support. Late in the first season, Norman grows suspicious of Brother Justin's inner motivations. He confronts his foster son but does not carry out Brother Justin's plea to kill him. At the beginning of season 2, Norman suffers a stroke that leaves him unable to move or speak. He remains in the care of Brother Justin and Iris until the carnival sets up near Brother Justin's home at the end of the series. Ben heals Norman, but the reverend is fatally lacerated by Brother Justin seconds later.
Varlyn "Bird Dog" Stroud
Played By John Carroll Lynch
Varlyn "Bird Dog" Stroud - Committed his first murder at the age of 9, when he deliberately upset a Ferris-wheel car, his younger sister, Clara, falling to her death. Three years later, he killed his grandfather in a "hunting" accident. Since then, he has been a suspect in over a dozen contract-killings for the Milwaukee mob. His specialty is tracking down witnesses under protection by law enforcement. Though never convicted of homicide, Stroud had spent most of his life in prison on a variety of charges. Stroud's story arc in the series begins in season 2 when he hears Brother Justin's radio sermon. Made Brother Justin's apostle in a subliminal message, Stroud escapes prison to find and bring Henry Scudder to Brother Justin. Stroud first tracks Scudder's old life and later follows the route of the carnival. With Ben's unintentional aid, Stroud finally finds the man he is looking for. After delivering Scudder to Brother Justin, Stroud becomes his security manager, which significantly hinders the carnival's aim to kill Brother Justin.
Played By Robert Knepper
Thomas Dolan - Pioneered the "roving reporter" concept in broadcast journalism on KZAK Radio, Los Angeles in 1932. His "On the Road" series was a ratings success, spawning a number of copy-cat programs nationwide. His first appearance in the series occurs when he meets Brother Justin around a campfire. After retelling Brother Justin's story of the burned-down ministry in his radio show, Dolan approaches Brother Justin's sister Iris and helps her with receiving funds for a new church. Dolan is seemingly attracted to Iris, but Brother Justin's return prevents further advances. Dolan left his post at KZAK to produce Brother Justin Crowe's highly successful radio ministry, "Brother Justin's Church of the Air" in 1934. By the beginning of season 2, Dolan has fulfilled Brother Justin's wish to become a radio preacher, yet police evidence surfaces that first hints at Brother Justin's, then Iris's guilt in the arson. Trying to further his career, Dolan collects evidence until Brother Justin accepts the arrangement of a special confession announcement for Iris. The confession backfires and Dolan is arrested, with Iris's guilt never proven.
Eleanor McGill played by K Callan
Eleanor McGill is an Okie who becomes a devoted follower of Brother Justin. She is killed by Iris who wants prevent the revelation of Brother Justin's true nature. ( 2.09 - Lincoln Highway)
Val Templeton played by Glenn Shadix
Val Templeton, cousin of Chin's owner Carol Templeton, is a councilman in Mintern.
Ned Munson played by Matt McCoy
Ned Munson is a councilman in Mintern California, assisting Val Templeton.
Wilfred Talbot Smith played by Time Winters
Wilfred Talbot Smith advises Brother Justin in occult matters in relation to the Usher.
Bishop McNaughton played by John Aylward
Bishop McNaughton oversees the church of Reverend Norman Balthus and Brother Justin.