Beloved actor Dean Stockwell has passed away.
The Emmy-nominated star of screen and stage, best known for his role opposite Scott Bakula in the sci-fi series “Quantum Leap”, died in the early morning on Nov. 7 at age 85.
Stockwell’s career spanned more than 70 years, beginning as a child actor on Broadway at just seven years old, leading him to film roles in classics from the ’40s like “Anchors Aweigh”, “Gentleman’s Agreement”, and “The Boy with the Green Hair”.
He went on to star on stage in Compulsion, later reprising his role for a film version, which won him his first of two Best Actor prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.
After struggling in Hollywood and nearly retiring from acting, Stockwell reignited his career after starring in Wim Wenders’ 1984 classic “Paris, Texas”, co-starring Harry Dean Stanton.
Stockwell also appeared in films like “Dune”, “Blue Velvet”, “The Rainmaker”, and “The Player”. He received an Academy Award nomination for his supporting role in the Jonathan Demme hit “Married to the Mob”.
On television, the actor gained even more prominence with his role in “Quantum Leap”, which ran from 1989 to 1993.
In a statement to ET Canada, Bakula fondly remembered his friendship with Stockwell, writing about casting the actor in “Quantum Leap”.
“How lucky were we to get him?” Bakula said. “A few months later he would be nominated for an Academy Award for his role in ‘Married to the Mob’, but he was stuck with us. Serendipity? All I know is, he never tried to get out or complain, he loved the role and the show and the rest was history.”
Bakula went on, “He became a dear friend and a mentor and we grew very close over the next five, very intense years. 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! 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. His big hearted response to the kids made all of us take notice and be better guardians ourselves.
“The only time he ever complained was when we called him on the golf course and told him we were ready for him to come to work!” he continued. “He used to announce his presence on the sound stage (if we hadn’t already caught a whiff of cigar smoke trailing in behind him), with a bellowed, ‘The fun starts now!’ Truer words were never spoken.”
Finally, Bakula added, “I loved him dearly and was honored to know him. He made me a better human being…”
Stockwell would also go on to make numerous appearances on TV shows, including “Battlestar Galactica” and “JAG”, as well as reuniting with Bakula on “NCIS: New Orleans”.
In 2015, Stockwell retired from acting to pursue art.
On social media, tributes to the actor poured in from fans and celebrities alike.
A true giant of a human being has passed. I was so fortunate to have worked with him on Miami Vice and Battlestar. I will cherish the years we spent together He was a gift to all who truly knew him. #RIP #SoSayWeAll https://t.co/PBYvOKUczA
— Edward James Olmos (@edwardjolmos) November 9, 2021
Dean. My oldest friend. A godfather-figure to my daughter, Amber. Brilliant artist. Loving dad. We met on the set of The Boy With Green Hair, stayed close til his last breath.
— Russ Tamblyn (@RussTamblyn) November 9, 2021
Rest in Peace Dean Stockwell. 💖 What an amazing actor. He always had a mischevious glint of humor in his eyes. I was honored to work with him in the pilot for "Quantum Leap" at @NBCUniversal along with Scott Bakula. #deanstockwell pic.twitter.com/clTJUvNx54
— Lydia Cornell (@LydiaCornell) November 9, 2021
Dean Stockwell was one of the greatest actors of his generation. Less showboaty and affected than many of his more famous contemporaries, but often more nuanced and interesting. I wanted him badly for my Showbiz Kids doc but he politely refused, he was done with the camera. RIP https://t.co/Xb4A92VzRv
— Alex Winter (@Winter) November 9, 2021
Stockwell is survived by his wife Joy, and their children Austin and Sophie.