Dean Stockwell death: Quantum Leap and Dune star dies aged 85

Actor also featured in ‘Married to the Mob’ and ‘Paris, Texas’

Louis Chilton
Tuesday 09 November 2021 08:16
Dean Stockwell as Al Calavicci in a scene from Quantum Leap
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Actor Dean Stockwell died on Sunday (7 November) at the age of 85.

He was known for a litany of acclaimed roles across film and TV, including in the sci-fi series Quantum Leap and David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Dune.

A representative for Stockwell told TMZ that the actor died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes.

Over the course of his seven-decade screen career, Stockwell was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar (for his role in 1988’s Married to the Mob) and won the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival (for 1962’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night).

Born Robert Dean Stockwell in March 1936, Stockwell started out as a child actor, starring in several films – including The Green Years and Gentleman’s Agreement – while under contract at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio.

As an adult, his early projects included Compulsion on the Broadway stage (adapted into a film also starring Stockwell in 1959), and Long Day’s Journey into Night, Sidney Lumet’s adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s famous play.

In the 1960s, Stockwell stepped back from the industry and became part of the subculture movement, before returning to regular acting in the 1970s.

After another brief disappearance from Hollywood, the Eighties brought renewed critical success for Stockwell, as he appeared in a spate of significant films, including William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in LA, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, and Jonathan Demme’s Married to the Mob.

Dean Stockwell was renowned for his seven-decade career across film and TV

It was his part as Admiral Al Calavicci opposite Scott Bacula in Quantum Leap that become perhaps Stockwell’s best-known role, however.

The actor appeared in all 97 episodes of the show, between 1989 and 1993.

Later roles included appearances in Air Force One (1997), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), and Battlestar Galactica.

Tributes to Stockwell have poured in on social media.

“RIP Dean Stockwell, a great actor who never met a scene he couldn’t steal,” wrote one commenter.

“Rest in peace Dean Stockwell, singular and unforgettable in nearly every role he inhabited,” wrote another.

Someone else wrote: “I think Dean Stockwell was probably the first actor I ever loved, he was just so goddamned suave on Quantum Leap. Then you get older and see him pop up all over and realize he was actually one of the greatest character actors of all time. What a legacy! RIP.”

Stockwell is survived by his wife, Joy Stockwell, and their two children, Austin and Sophie.

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