Dean Stockwell, best known for his role on the TV series Quantum Leap, has died at 85.
Stockwell, whose birth name was Robert Dean Stockwell, was born into the world of acting. A native to Los Angeles, his parents, Nina Olivette and Harry Stockwell, were also actors. He made his Broadway and film debut before the age of 10, signing with MGM for a several-picture deal in 1945.
Stockwell held over 200 credits in his career, which spanned over seven decades. Along with the cult classic sci-fi series Quantum Leap, Stockwell is also known for his role in David Lynch‘s Blue Velvet. As Ben, Stockwell‘s role balanced well with Dennis Hopper‘s more outlandishly creepy, more signature Lynchian character Frank Booth. Stockwell also worked with Lynch on the director’s adaptation of Dune, inhabiting the role of Dr. Yueh, and starred in the TV reboot of Battlestar Galactica as Number One.
However, it is his role as Admiral ‘Al’ Calavicci in Quantum Leap for which Stockwell is best known. His boisterous, humourous portrayal of Al proved to be an apt foil for Scott Bakula’s body-leaping Dr. Scott Beckett. In the series, Al guided Beckett through many quantum leaps into various different bodies ranging in place and time. The series spanned genres, incorporating sci-fi, historical drama, comedy, and social commentary. Within such an expansive series, Stockwell‘s portrayal of Al proved to be a stabilizing force, giving a center to an ever-shifting show. The series ran from 1989 through 1993.
In 1992, Stockwell received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His career was marked by many award nominations, including several for Quantum Leap, but much of his work, consisting of many outstanding supporting roles, is only now coming to be appreciated.
In 2015, Stockwell retired from acting. After retirement, he began making and exhibiting his own art. He is survived by his wife, Joy Stockwell, and his two children, Sophie and Austin Stockwell. Our condolences go out to his family and friends in the wake of their loss.