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"Quantum Leap" actor Dean Stockwell dies at 85: "How lucky were we to get him?"

"Quantum Leap" actor Dean Stockwell dies at 85: "How lucky were we to get him?"

"I have a particular fondness for Admiral Al Calavicci," Stockwell said about his role in Quantum Leap.  "...I guess people say that actors take a little bit of the part away with them, but if I really was as streetwise and cocky as Al, I'd probably have been a bigger star."

He entered the golden age of Hollywood as a child actor and was acting beside Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly by the age of 7. For the next several decades, he continued giving authentic and nuanced performances on-screen before passing away at the age of 85.

Dean Stockwell, the Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor with 200 credits, has passed away peacefully of natural causes at the age of 85. A rep for Stockwell's family confirmed that he was at home when he breathed his last on November 7, 2021.



 

A man of varied interests, Stockwell is remembered by his loved ones for his generosity to his fellow actors. His co-star, Scott Bakula, who acted with Stockwell in the much-acclaimed TV series, Quantum Leap, said in a statement: "We connected immediately and my career and my life were changed that day in Brandon Tartikoff’s office. How lucky were we to get him?"

"Dean was such a passionate man... about life, his work, his art (he was an amazing artist!), his family, all kinds of causes, people, music, the planet, cigars, golf, and on and on!" Bakula added, as quoted by Variety. "Having been a famous child actor, he had a soft spot for every young actor who came on our set. He was very protective of their rights and safety and always checked in with them to make sure that they were ok... In spite of having a career that came and went several times during his seventy-plus years in the business, he was always grateful and delighted to have the chance to keep working."



 

Stockwell's acting career began when he was only a child. He appeared in Anchors Aweigh when he was only 7 years old and performed alongside Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. He continued taking on several roles as a young actor and earned himself Best Actor awards at the Cannes Film Festival during his years of young adulthood.

In the 60s, he briefly stepped back from showbiz to explore his hippy side. He joined the Topanga Canyon hippie community, of which musician Neil Young was also a member, as reported by BBC.

"I did some drugs and went to some love-ins," Stockwell once said about that phase of his life. "The experience of those days provided me with a huge, panoramic view of my existence that I didn't have before. I have no regrets."



 

At one point of time in his life, Stockwell nearly bid farewell to the world of acting and got himself a real estate license. But just as he was planning to leave Hollywood with his family, he received a phone call from Harry Dean Stanton. Their conversation led to Stockwell being on the set of Paris, Texas, the 1984 film by Wim Wenders. His performance in the movie was followed by more unforgettable roles in films such as Blue Velvet, Dune, Married to the Mob, The Rainmaker, and The Player.

Stockwell received an Academy Award nomination for Supporting Actor for his role in Married to the Mob, according to Deadline. When he received his nomination, he was delivering one of his most memorable performances as Admiral Al Calavicci on the TV series, Quantum Leap.

"I have a particular fondness for Admiral Al Calavicci," Stockwell said in a 1994 interview.  "...I guess people say that actors take a little bit of the part away with them, but if I really was as streetwise and cocky as Al, I'd probably have been a bigger star."

Until he retired from acting in 2015, Stockwell continued taking on different roles before going on to make art and have exhibitions across the US.



 

After news of Stockwell's death came out, many fondly remembered the prolific actor for the work he has left behind. "I loved him dearly and was honored to know him," said his co-star, Bakula, as quoted by Variety. "He made me a better human being."

Stockwell is survived by his wife, Joy Stockwell, and his two children, Austin and Sophie Stockwell.

Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Diane Freed