Scott Bakula paid tribute to his good friend and Quantum Leap co-star, Dean Stockwell, on Tuesday.
Oscar-nominated Stockwell passed away on Sunday. He was 85.
After working together on the classic sci-fi television show for five years, Bakula said he learned a lot about the company and life from his dear friend.
“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 so on! ” Bakula wrote in a lengthy statement. “Being 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 they were okay. His warm response to the children made us all mindful and become 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 to May 1993.
Bakula recalled meeting Stockwell for the first time during his audition for Quantum Leap in 1988. “He had agreed to ‘read’ for the network, I was already cast,” Bakula said. “We were in touch right away and my career and my life were changed that day in Brandon Tartikoff’s office.”
Not long after they are poured in Quantum Leap, Stockwell was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Married to the mafia, with Bakula noting how “lucky” the show was to have him on board already.
“All I know is he never tried to get out or complain, he loved the part and the show and the rest was history,” Bakula said of Stockwell not shaking the boat amid the massive recognition. “He became a dear friend and mentor and we have become very close over the next five, very intense years.”
Bakula’s conclusion: “Despite having a career that came and went several times during his more than seventy years in the business, he was always grateful and delighted to have the opportunity to continue working. The only time he ever complained, was when we called him on the golf course and told him we were ready to take him to work! He always announced his presence on the soundstage (if we hadn’t already smelled a whiff of cigar smoke coming after him ), with a roar: ‘The fun begins now!’ Truer words were never spoken. I loved him dearly and was honored to know him. He has made me a better person.”