ALAN GRETH / ASSOCIATED PRESS
Actor Dean Stockwell, known for his roles in Quantum leaps and Blue velvet, is dead. He was 85 years old. According to family spokesman Jay D. Schwartz, he died of natural causes at his home in Hollywood, California, Sunday morning.
Born Robert Dean Stockwell, the Oscar nominee had several acting careers. He started as a child actor. At the age of 7, he worked with Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in Anchor away. When he was 11, he had a star-studded role in the 1948 anti-war film The boy with green hair. The film made Stockwell something of a star, and he felt ostracized.
“Wherever I went, I was treated like anything else,” Stockwell told WHYY’s Fresh air in 1988. “I did not feel branded for anything special. I felt like I was treated as something special back then and I did not like it and I wanted out of it.”
After graduating from high school at the age of 16, Stockwell changed his name and left Hollywood. Eventually, he found his way back to acting, especially in the Sidney Lumets Long day’s journey into the night from 1962, but spent most of this stretch of his career in television. In the late 60s, he once again dropped out of acting for a few years. When he returned, he found work hard to get.
Stockwell almost completely changed careers in the 80s. He got his real estate license in New Mexico and ran an ad for himself in Variety. Instead, it led to a number of memorable film roles in Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas, David Lynchs Dune and Blue velvet, Robert Altmans The player and Jonathan Demmes Married to the mob– the latter gave him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.
Stockwell was perhaps best known for his role as Admiral Al Calavicci in the sci-fi television series Quantum leaps, which ran for five seasons. He would move on to roles in such shows as Tony Danza Show, JAG, and the acclaimed 2000s race of Battlestar Galactica. Then he slowed down the play again – this time to focus on his career in the visual arts, where he mainly worked with paper collage.
He leaves behind his wife, Joy Stockwell, and their two children, Austin Stockwell and Sophie Stockwell.
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