Dean Stockwell, Quantum Leap and Battlestar Galactica actor, dies at 85

Dean Stockwell, the award-winning actor who was best known for playing Admiral "Al" Calavicci on the popular sci-fi series Quantum Leap, died on Sunday from natural causes. He was 85. The actor's representative confirmed his death in New Zealand to EW.

Born Robert Dean Stockwell in 1936, the actor had a long and prominent career that spanned both film and television, with roles in features like Air Force One and David Lynch's Dune. He began his career as a child actor in the 1940s, performing on Broadway and working under Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in films alongside Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Gregory Peck. In 1948, he achieved fame in the form of a cult star with the sleeper hit The Boy With the Green Hair.

Dean Stockwell
Dean Stockwell

Nancy R. Schiff/Getty Images Dean Stockwell

Stockwell continued to act in television, Broadway, and film until he decided to make a career change and leave Hollywood. He was famously drawn back in by a phone call from Harry Dean Stanton, who convinced him to return and join him on the film Paris, Texas. The role reignited his career leading to memorable appearances in films like Blue Velvet, Dune, The Rainmaker, and Married to the Mob which earned Stockell a 1989 supporting actor Oscar nomination.

In 1989, he became a household name when he starred opposite Scott Bakula as Admiral "Al" Calavicci on the quirky NBC series Quantum Leap. The show ran for five seasons, earning Stockwell multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations as well as a Golden Globe win in 1990. In 1992, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his achievements.

QUANTUM LEAP, Dean Stockwell, Scott Bakula, 1989-93. © Universal Television  / Courtesy: Everett Col
QUANTUM LEAP, Dean Stockwell, Scott Bakula, 1989-93. © Universal Television / Courtesy: Everett Col

Everett Collection Dean Stockwell, left, and 'Quantum Leap' costar Scott Bakula in the early-1990s.

Multiple television projects followed, including shows like Battlestar Galactica; JAG, The Tony Danza Show and NCIS: New Orleans.

Stockwell officially retired from acting in 2015 and spent the last few years creating and exhibiting art under his full name.

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