Veteran actor Dean Stockwell has passed away, leaving those who knew him in mourning along with fans all across the world. With a career in Hollywood that spanned over seven decades, Stockwell is particularly well known for his iconic role as Al on Quantum Leap alongside Scott Bakula’s Dr. Sam Beckett. Shortly after the news of Stockwell’s death was announced, Bakula released a statement expressing his sorrow over losing his longtime friend.
“I met Dean at his audition for Quantum Leap in 1988,” Bakula says of first meeting the late actor, per Deadline. “He had agreed to ‘read’ for the Network, I was already cast. We connected immediately and my career and my life were changed that day in Brandon Tartikoff’s office. How lucky were we to get him? A few months later he would be nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Married to the Mob, but he was stuck with us. Serendipity? All I know is, he never tried to get out or complain, he loved the role and the show and the rest was history.”
Scott Bakula added, “He became a dear friend and a mentor and we grew very close over the next five, very intense years. 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! 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.”
“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,” Bakula also said of Stockwell. “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…”
Dean Stockwell and Scott Bakula co-starred for all five seasons of Quantum Leap on NBC between 1989-1993. Bakula played a physicist stuck traveling through space and time from one person’s body to another, all the while with Stockwell’s Admiral Al Calavacci – a hologram – serving as his mentor and best friend throughout his adventures. The series remains very popular with fans, having maintained a following in the years since going off the air.
In recent years, there have been rumors of Quantum Leap getting a reboot or revival. Bakula has been very open about the fact that he’d be happy to reprise the role of Dr. Beckett, if for nothing else to give the character some closure. In September, Bakula said on Bob Saget’s Here for You podcast that series creator Donald P. Bellisario didn’t want to do a revival without including Bakula and Stockwell.
“Don, for years, he and I would talk about it periodically, and he would always say, ‘I can’t write it without thinking of you and Dean,'” Bakula told Saget. “I said, ‘Just think about me and Dean and write your show. Get it out there. If you have an idea, just write it. I am sure it’ll be great.’ I don’t know what that idea would be if we did.”
Bakula then joked to Saget that bringing back Stockwell “costs too much money” when asked why they couldn’t just go ahead and start filming new Quantum Leap episodes. Whether or not that rumored revival ends up happening remains to be seen, and while many fans may feel that it’s not the same without Stockwell, perhaps there’s a way to find closure for their storyline while paying tribute to the late actor. This news comes to us from Deadline.