Scott Bakula Remembers Quantum Leap Co-Star Dean Stockwell: ‘He Made Me a Better Human Being’

Scott Bakula remembers Quantum Leap co-star Dean Stockwell as a “dear friend” and mentor, in a statement issued Tuesday. As reported earlier today, Stockwell died on Nov. 7 of natural causes, at age 85.

Bakula and Stockwell co-starred on Quantum Leap for all of its 97 episodes, respectively playing Dr. Sam Beckett and Admiral Al Calavicci on the NBC sci-fi series. Stockwell’s turn as Al, Sam’s hologram companion, earned him four Emmy nods for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a Golden Globe win for Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television.

In an Instagram post accompanied by a still from what Bakula said is his favorite Quantum Leap/Stockwell scene, the TV vet shared the following:

I met Dean at his audition for Quantum Leap in 1988. 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.

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. 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…

Stockwell went on to appear in Syfy’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica (as the villainous John Cavil), JAG and The Tony Danza Show. His final TV credit was a Season 1 episode of NCIS: New Orleans in 2014, which reunited Stockwell and Bakula.

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