Actor Dean Stockwell, best known to American audiences for his role in the classic sci-fi series Quantum Leap, has died at the age of 85. In a career spanning more than 70 years, he touched all the bases: as a child star in post-war Hollywood, a lead on 1950s Broadway, and an award-winning character actor in both movies and TV over the subsequent decades.
Stockwell, who died peacefully at his home on Sunday, first came to attention in 1945's Anchors Aweigh, starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as sailors enjoying shore leave in Hollywood. Other early appearances included the title role in the 1948 fantasy drama The Boy With Green Hair. Despite success on Broadway and in Hollywood, Stockwell never quite seemed sure about acting as a career and briefly worked in real estate before being persuaded to return for Wim Wenders’ 1984 classic Paris, Texas, which launched what he called his “third career.” A favorite of the director David Lynch, he made a movie-stealing appearance in Blue Velvet as the lip-syncing criminal Ben. In 1989, Stockwell took the part of the womanizing Admiral Al Calavicci in Quantum Leap, which ran for five seasons. He retired from acting in 2015 and started to exhibit his art under his full name, Robert Dean Stockwell.