Dean Stockwell Dies: ‘Quantum Leap’ Star Was 85

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Colleagues React


Scott Bakula

I met Dean at his audition for Quantum Leap in 1988. He had agreed to ‘read’ for the Network, I was already cast. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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 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. I loved him dearly and was honored to know him. He made me a better human being…

Donald P. Bellisario

Dean and I were both in our mid-fifties when I hired him to play the smart-mouthed hologram Al Calavicci on Quantum Leap. He had just been nominated for an Oscar for his role in Married to the Mob when our series premiered. His friends in the business were all puzzled by why, at the height of his feature career, he chose to do television. Once we started filming, I once asked him the same question. He said “Work is work and I have a family to support.” And work he did. Along with Scott Bakula, Dean set the work ethic for the rest of the actors on the show.
Television films long hours, much longer than most of the feature films Dean had worked in. Yet he never complained…and if a star like Dean doesn’t complain, who can?
Dean brought a sense of fun to the set that lifted everyone’s spirits. He was constantly asked about the features he starred in and always took time to answer with stories like the one he told me:
As a child actor he did a film with Errol Flynn. He recalled how they first met. He was walking toward a sound stage hand-in-hand with his mother and his teacher when Errol Flynn approached them. He said Errol ignored his mother, ignored his teacher, and stuck his hand out saying “Hi kid. Had your first f*ck, yet?” Dean said from that moment on, he knew he was in for a great time.
Dean was never that uncouth, but he always gave us a great time.
I shall miss him.


Carolyn Seymour

Oh this makes me sad! We had so much fun together on Quantum Leap! We were like a couple of naughty kids……I liked knowing he was still around! My deepest condolences to his family and friends……a wonderful, talented man!❤️❤️

Deborah Pratt

Dean Stockwell left us today. The world lost an amazing talent, and a kind, generous, funny, clever man. He was a dedicated artist and actor. He was a good father and husband. I lost a beautiful friend. My heart hurts today and will for a long time. There is an old Egyptian saying, that you die twice in this world. Once when you leave and once when people stop saying your name. Say his name. @deanstockwell @robertdeanstockwell Dean left a long and beautiful legacy for us all. 💙 @scottbakula @donaldbellisario @sleepinthegardn 💔@deborahmpratt

Tommy Thompson

With the sad news of DEAN STOCKWELL’S passing, I offer up the following story. I always felt Dean had too little to do on the show and we were wasting his immense talent. I pitched a story that was mostly a Dean vehicle where the person Sam has lept into escapes the facility and Dean’s character, AL, is forced to hunt him down and bring him back before Sam leaps into his next life. Some of these stories were like math problems but this one ended up being fun. So Dean is hunting this escaped killer in the futuristic world which included him having to deal with a holographic stripper. TO set this up I think I had seen Dean outside his trailer….NEVER unless he was filming. So the day comes where we are going to shoot the stripper footage. The young lady we hired climbed up onto a platform and began dancing and taking off her clothes. Our amazing camera operator Michael Watkins was shooting her with a handheld camera and it was going well. Suddenly I look to my left and there stands Dean casually puffing on his ever-present cigar and taking in the action on stage. He looks at me and says, ‘I guess I need to come out of my trailer more often.” He winks at me and we both continue watching the dance. This will be my ever-lasting memory of Dean Stockwell. Rest in peace.

Jean-Pierre Dorleac

There are no words to express the loss & sadness I feel w/Dean Stockwell’s passing. I had always admired him & was totally overwhelmed when he turned out to be one of the kindest, talented, nice people I would ever work w/in Hollywood. There aren’t that many I can say that about.

Jane Sibbett

Working with these two as a guest star changed my life. It wasn’t just the quality of the show or the freedom I was allowed to play my crazy character, but the quality of love these two had for the work, the camaraderie, the crew, and the sheer joy of Quantum Leap(s) Only one person knows how it completely changed my life. @scottbakula called him “Happy.” Best nickname ever. I aspired to know such love from a partner in any leap of heart or work. Fly free, Happy. #love #always @deanstockwell @quantumleappodcast #quantumleap #friends #infinite #life #peace #jump #happy #heaven #blessed

Ming-Na Wen

Dean Stockwell was the coolest. Such a privilege to have worked with this legend. His career spanned 70 years! RIP, Dean. Photo: Jaime Walters, me & Dean. #vanishingson2

Tricia Helfer

Such an honor to have gotten to work with Dean Stockwell. An incredible career and a truly unique and lovely man. RIP Dean. #SoSayWeAll

Edward James Olmos

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


Kyle MacLauchlan

My first two films were with Dean Stockwell. In Dune, as Dr. Yeuh, and as Ben in Blue Velvet. He was an actor I looked up to, one of the elite, the very best of his generation of actors. I was lucky to have worked alongside him.
Here’s to Dean, may he Rest in Peace.

Lydia Cornell

Rest in Peace Dean Stockwell. 💖 What an amazing actor. He always had a mischievous glint of humor in his eyes. I was honored to work with him in the pilot for “Quantum Leap” at NBC Universal along with Scott Bakula, Jennifer Runyon, and Lela Ivey, as a pregnant 1950’s Air Force wife and we filmed at Edwards Airforce Base.

Jeff Corbett

My first guest-starring role on a prime time show was on Quantum Leap in the spring of 1992. I got to work with Dean Stockwell and I was in awe. Six years earlier he had been a part of a film that made me look at cinema through a new and different lens. What he did in Blue Velvet was bold and creepy and beautiful. And here I was working alongside him. As Spencer Garrett said, Dean Stockwell made acting look easy and fun. This was a guy who was a child star during Hollywood’s Golden Era. He was part of the hippie scene in Topanga in the ’60s. What a life. What a guy. Thanks for being kind to me Dean. And thanks for decades of making it look easy, cuz it ain’t.

Russ Tamblin

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 till his last breath.
Rest easy now, brother. Give Dennis a hug from me when you see him on the other side. #DeanStockwell

Michael Stern – Editor on Quantum Leap

I had the good fortune and honor to be an editor on the final two seasons of QUANTUM LEAP,
Dean Stockwell was such a pleasure and an amazing talent.
Gentle rest kind sir, you will be missed.

Michelle Joyner

Oh no! I hadn’t heard. He was a great guy. Such a generous actor. Sad news. Wonderful career.

Diedrich Bader

Lovely guy and a great underrated actor.

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