The Nerd Side Of Life

Scott Bakula Offers Thoughts on “Quantum Leap” Costar Dean Stockwell

On November 8th 2021, we lost a great actor with a 70-year plus career. Dean Stockwell had one of those lives destined for Hollywood longevity, albeit with some starts and stops. He was a child actor, he won an Oscar, he was a staple of genre film and tv. He passed away at the age of 85.

Collaborators like Edward James Olmos, Russ Tamblyn, and David Lynch have offered their memories and stories about Stockwell.

“Here in L.A., a cloudy morning,” Lynch said in his daily weather report. “Very still right now, 55 degrees Fahrenheit, 13 Celsius. In honor of the great Dean Stockwell, I’d like to recommend today ‘Honky Tonk, Part 1’ by Bill Doggett. This afternoon it’ll be going up to only 64 degrees Fahrenheit, around 18 Celsius and it’s gonna be cloudy for sure till this afternoon. This afternoon there will be clouds but also a chance for blue skies and golden sunshine along the way. Everyone have a great day.”

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Quantum Leap” star Scott Bakula has also offered his statement about his late costar.

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.

Last we heard, there were rumblings of a possible Quantum Leap” reboot, but nothing really firmed up.

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