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The Oscar-nominated Stockwell died Sunday. He was 85.
Having worked together for five years on the classic sci-fi television program, Bakula said that he learned a lot about the business and life from his dear pal.
“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!” Bakula wrote in a lengthy statement. “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.”
Stockwell played Albert “Al” Calavicci opposite Bakula’s Dr. Samuel “Sam” Beckett on the Donald P. Bellisario created drama, which ran on NBC for five seasons from March 1989 through May 1993.
Bakula recalled meeting Stockwell for the first time at his audition for Quantum Leap in 1988. “He had agreed to ‘read’ for the network, I was already cast,” Bakula said. “We connected immediately and my career and my life were changed that day in Brandon Tartikoff’s office.”
Not long after being cast in Quantum Leap, Stockwell was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Married to the Mob, with Bakula noting how “lucky” the show was to have him already aboard.
“All I know is, he never tried to get out or complain, he loved the role and the show and the rest was history,” Bakula said of Stockwell not rocking the boat amid the huge recognition. “He became a dear friend and a mentor and we grew very close over the next five, very intense years.”
Concluded Bakula, “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.”
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