Dean Stockwell of ‘Quantum Leap,’ ‘Blue Velvet’ dies at 85

NEW YORK – Dean Stockwell, a leading Hollywood child actor who obtained new accomplishment in middle age in the sci-fi collection “Quantum Leap” and in a string of indelible performances in movie, which includes David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet,” Wim Wenders’ “Paris, Texas” and Jonathan Demme’s “Married to the Mob,” has died. He was 85.

Jay Schwartz, a relatives spokesperson, mentioned Stockwell died of natural results in at home Sunday.

Stockwell was Oscar-nominated for his comedian mafia kingpin in “Married to the Mob” and was 4 times an Emmy-nominee for “Quantum Leap.” But in a occupation that spanned 7 many years, Stockwell was a supreme character actor whose performances — lip-syncing Roy Orbison in a nightmarish party scene in “Blue Velvet,” a determined agent in Robert Altman’s “The Player,” Howard Hughes in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” — did not have to be prolonged to be mesmerizing.

Stockwell’s own partnership with performing, getting started off on Broadway at age 7, was sophisticated. In a peripatetic vocation, he give up demonstrate enterprise quite a few periods, like at age 16 and all over again in the 1980s, when he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to provide true estate.


“Dean expended a life span yo-yoing again and forth between fame and anonymity,” his household stated in a assertion. “Because of that, when he experienced a occupation, he was grateful. He never ever took the company for granted. He was a rebel, wildly talented and usually a breath of fresh new air.”

The darkish-haired Stockwell was a Hollywood veteran by the time he reached his teens. In his 20s, he starred on Broadway as a younger killer in the participate in “Compulsion” and in prestigious films this kind of as “Sons and Fans.” He was awarded most effective actor at the Cannes Movie Pageant twice, in 1959 for the huge-display edition of “Compulsion” and in 1962 for Sidney Lumet’s adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” When his occupation experienced some lean times, he reached his total stride in the 1980s.

“My way of doing the job is even now the similar as it was in the beginning — totally intuitive and instinctive,” he informed The New York Times in 1987. “But as you reside your everyday living, you compile so numerous tens of millions of experiences and bits of details that you turn out to be a richer vessel as a particular person. You draw on additional working experience.”


His Oscar-nominated job as Tony “The Tiger” Russo, a flamboyant gangster, in the 1988 hit “Married to the Mob” led to his most notable Tv set position the subsequent calendar year, in NBC’s science fiction sequence “Quantum Leap.” Both roles experienced solid comedian factors.

“It’s the first time anyone’s supplied me a series and the 1st time I’ve ever wished to do a single,” he claimed in 1989. “If folks hadn’t observed me in ‘Married To the Mob’ they wouldn’t have realized I could do comedy.”

Starring with Stockwell in “Quantum Leap” was Scott Bakula, playing a scientist who assumes various identities in different eras following a time-journey experiment goes awry. As his colleague, “The Observer,” Stockwell lends his aid but is witnessed only on a holographic computer image. The clearly show lasted from 1989 to 1993.

“The only time he at any time complained was when we known as him on the golfing training course and advised him we were all set for him to appear to operate,” recalled Bakula in a statement Tuesday. “He made use of to announce his existence on the sound stage (if we hadn’t presently caught a whiff of cigar smoke trailing in guiding him), with a bellowed, ‘The entertaining commences now!’ More true words had been hardly ever spoken.”


He continued enjoying roles, large and modest, in movies and Television, into the 21st century, which include a standard position in a further science fiction collection, “Battlestar Galactica.”

Stockwell turned an actor at an early age. His father, Harry Stockwell, voiced the position of Prince Charming in Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and appeared in many Broadway musicals.

At age 7, Dean made his display business enterprise debut in the 1943 Broadway present “The Harmless Voyage,” the story of orphaned small children entangled with pirates. His more mature brother, Male, also was in the forged.

A producer at MGM was amazed by Dean and persuaded the studio to sign him. His very first substantial part was as Kathryn Grayson’s nephew in the 1945 musical “Anchors Aweigh,” which starred Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.

In the up coming couple of several years, Stockwell appeared in this sort of films as the Oscar-profitable anti-Semitism drama “Gentlemen’s Arrangement,” with Gregory Peck, as effectively as “Song of the Thin Male,” the very last of the William Powell-Myrna Loy thriller sequence, with Stockwell actively playing their son.


He had the title roles in the 1948 anti-war film “The Boy With Green Hair,” about a war orphan whose hair variations coloration, and “Kim,” the 1950 variation of the Rudyard Kipling tale, which starred Errol Flynn. Movies in his youth also provided “Down to the Sea in Ships,” with Lionel Barrymore “The Top secret Yard,” with Margaret O’Brien and “Stars in My Crown” with Joel McCrea.

“I was pretty fortunate to have a loving and caring and sympathetic mom and not a phase mother,” he informed The Connected Push in 1989. Nevertheless, he stressed, it wasn’t constantly easy, and he dropped out of the enterprise when he arrived at 16.

“I by no means definitely required to be an actor,” he claimed. “I uncovered acting very hard from the starting. I worked lengthy hours, six days a 7 days. It wasn’t enjoyment.” It was not the only time he dropped out. But, he mentioned, “I came again each individual time because I experienced no other teaching.”

Reviving his career after five several years, Stockwell returned to New York in which he co-starred with Roddy McDowall on Broadway in “Compulsion,” a 1957 drama based mostly on the infamous Leopold-Loeb murder case in which two faculty college students killed a 14-calendar year-previous boy for the thrill of it. The movie edition starred Orson Welles.


Stockwell had two additional prestigious film roles in the early 1960s. He was the battling son in D.H. Lawrence’s “Sons and Lovers” — an Oscar nominee for most effective photo — and the delicate younger brother in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” with Ralph Richardson and Katharine Hepburn.

He also tried using his hand at theater directing, putting on a very well-received system of Beckett and Ionesco plays in Los Angeles in 1961.

In 1960, Stockwell married Millie Perkins, very best acknowledged for her starring convert as Anne in the 1959 film “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The relationship finished in divorce after only two several years.

In the mid-60s, Stockwell dropped out of Hollywood and became a normal existence at the hippie enclave of Topanga Canyon. Just after the encouragement of Dennis Hopper, Stockwell wrote a screenplay that never received produced but inspired Neil Young’s 1970 album “After the Gold Hurry,” which took its identify from Stockwell’s script. Stockwell, longtime good friends with Young, later co-directed and starred with Younger on 1982′s “Human Highway.” Stockwell also designed the cover of Young’s 1977 album “American Stars ‘N Bars.”


In 1981 he married Pleasure Marchenko, a textile skilled. When his career strike a down period of time, Stockwell made a decision to get his loved ones to New Mexico. As quickly as he still left Hollywood, filmmakers started calling once more.

He was solid as Harry Dean Stanton’s drifting brother in Wim Wenders’ acclaimed 1984 film “Paris, Texas” and that similar 12 months as the evil Dr. Yueh in Lynch’s “Dune.”

He termed his success from the 1980s onward his “third job.” As for the Oscar nomination, he advised the AP in 1989 that it was “something I’ve dreamed about for several years. … It’s just a person of the most effective feelings I’ve at any time experienced.”

Like his longtime close friend Hopper, a noted photographer as perfectly as an actor, Stockwell was lively in the visible arts. He made photo collages and what he referred to as “diceworks,” sculptures created of dice. He often applied his total title, Robert Dean Stockwell, in his art projects.

His brother, Man Stockwell, also grew to become a prolific film and television actor, even performing guest shot on “Quantum Leap.” He died in 2002 at age 68.


Stockwell is survived by his spouse, Pleasure, and their two little ones, Austin Stockwell and Sophie Stockwell.


This story has been updated to appropriate the spelling of the film “Anchors Aweigh.”


Late Linked Push writer Bob Thomas contributed biographical details to this report.

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