Scott Bakula, David Lynch, and more pay tribute to Dean Stockwell: 'Honored to know him'

Dean Stockwell's death at age 85 prompted an outpouring of tributes from his friends, former coworkers, and admirers in the film and TV communities, with many sharing their fond memories of and respect for the beloved character actor.

Stockwell's Quantum Leap costar Scott Bakula posted a lengthy tribute on Instagram, recalling his first meeting with the actor at Stockwell's audition for the sci-fi series. "We connected immediately and my career and my life were changed that day," Bakula wrote. "He became a dear friend and a mentor and we grew very close over the next five, very intense years... I loved him dearly and was honored to know him. He made me a better human being."

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.

Bakula also remembered Stockwell's passion for "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," his "soft spot for every young actor" on Quantum Leap — "Having been a famous child actor... he was very protective of their rights and safety and always checked in with them to make sure that they were ok" — and his attitude toward his work: "In spite of having a career that came and went several times during his 70-plus years in the business, he was always grateful and delighted to have the chance to keep working."

Another tribute came from David Lynch, who directed Stockwell in 1984's Dune and 1986's Blue Velvet, in which his character famously lip-syncs to Roy Orbison's "In Dreams." The filmmaker honored Stockwell in his daily weather report video for Tuesday, Nov. 9, paying tribute in a typically unique fashion.

"In honor of the great Dean Stockwell, I'd like to recommend today 'Honky Tonk, Part 1' by Bill Doggett," Lynch said in the video, referring to another song featured in Blue Velvet.

Stockwell's longtime friend and fellow child actor Russ Tamblyn honored him as well, sharing an emotional tribute on Twitter. "Dean. My oldest friend. A godfather-figure to my daughter, Amber. Brilliant artist. Loving dad," Tamblyn wrote. "We met on the set of [1948's] The Boy With Green Hair, stayed close til his last breath. Rest easy now, brother. Give Dennis [Hopper] a hug from me when you see him on the other side."

Stockwell died Sunday of natural causes at his home, the actor's representative confirmed to EW. His career spanned more than 70 years, with roles in such films as Paris, Texas, The Rainmaker, and Married to the Mob, which earned Stockell a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination in 1989, as well as TV shows including Battlestar Galactica, JAG, and NCIS: New Orleans.

See more tributes to Stockwell below.

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