Dean Stockwell, Actor quick biography

 Dean Stockwell, Actor quick biography

Dean Stockwell, whose eclectic seven-decade career included the leading role in The Boy With Green Hair, an Oscar nomination for Married to the Mob, and a starring turn on Quantum Leap, has died. He was 85. Stockwell died Sunday of natural causes, family spokesperson Jay Schwartz told The Hollywood Reporter. Signed to an MGM contract shortly after he made his Broadway debut at age 6, Stockwell stepped away from show business at least three times, only to return. His many memorable characters included the traitorous Dr. Wellington Yueh in David Lynch’s Dune (1984) and the pansexual pimp/drug dealer who lip-syncs Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” in Blue Velvet (1986), another Lynch classic.  Stockwell also played Howard Hughes in Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), the second of three films he made for Francis Ford Coppola; appeared as Harry Dean Stanton‘s brother in Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas (1984); and stole scenes as a desperate movie agent in Robert Altman’s The Player (1992). The cigar-loving actor enjoyed great success at Cannes, sharing best actor “cast” honors at the festival with the likes of Orson Welles, Ralph Richardson and Jason Robards for his work as one of the two arrogant teen killers in Compulsion (1959) and as the terminally tubercular Edmund — Eugene O’Neill’s alter ego — in Sidney Lumet’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962). In Joseph Losey’s anti-war allegory Boy With Green Hair (1948), Stockwell, then 11, starred opposite Pat O’Brien as Peter, an orphan who wakes up one morning and discovers that his hair has mysteriously turned bright green. The kid actor wound up with a scalp infection that lasted for more than a year. A few months earlier, Stockwell had received a special juvenile Golden Globe for playing widower Gregory Peck’s son in Gentleman’s Agreement (1947). In the Mafia satire Married to the Mob (1988), directed by Jonathan Demme, Stockwell’s Tony “The Tiger” Russo bumps off Frank “The Cucumber” de Marco (Alec Baldwin), then romantically pursues his widow, Angela (Michelle Pfeiffer). “No character has ever come to me as clearly, as easily and as fully as Tony. It was almost as though I had done it before in another life,” he told Film Comment in a 1988 interview. “I don’t know whether it is because I’m half-Italian or that I’ve never had the opportunity to do this type of role before — a woman-chasing, amoral, top-dog don. But I just lit up the minute I read it, and I didn’t have to touch it. There! Solid. Completely.” Stockwell scored Emmy nominations in four consecutive years for starring as Admiral Al Calavicci, a streetwise hologram, opposite Scott Bakula on the 1989-93 time-traveling NBC series Quantum Leap. He also had a recurring role on CBS’ JAG, another series created by Donald P. Bellisario. In his Biographical Dictionary of Film, David Thomson called Stockwell a “versatile, reliable yet never quite predictable character actor who seems blessed to play men brushed by the wing of uncommon experience — as if they might once have had green hair.” Robert Dean Stockwell was born on March 5, 1936, in North Hollywood. His parents were actors; his father, Harry, was a musical comedy performer who provided the voice of Prince Charming in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Meanwhile, his older brother, Guy Stockwell, also would become an actor and star in the 1966 remake of Beau Geste. When he was 7 — about the time when his parents had split up — the curly haired Dean (and his brother) were cast in the Broadway comedy Innocent Voyage. He was spotted by an MGM talent scout and signed, then attended the Little Red Schoolhouse on the studio lot, where Roddy McDowall, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Powell and Russ Tamblyn were fellow classmates. Stockwell then made an auspicious movie debut as a runaway child in the famed musical Anchors Aweigh (1945) alongside Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, and Gene Kelly. The ensuing years saw Stockwell appear in such films as The Green Years (1946), Song of the Thin Man (1947) — as William Powell’s son, Nick Charles Jr. — Deep Waters (1948), The Secret Garden (1949), and as the title character in Kim (1950), playing a British orphan disguised as an Indian local. “I think that my acting was strictly intuitive, from the beginning, and has always remained that way,” he told Film Comment. “I resisted any attempts by anyone to assist me. Even when I first started acting, when I was six or seven, I always knew, when I was doing a scene if it was right. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew.” Stockwell remained under contract with MGM until he was 16 when he decided to leave the business. He finished up at Hamilton High School in L.A. and briefly attended college at Berkeley before traveling around the country. When he returned to show business some five years later, Stockwell found the going tough until he landed on Broadway in Compulsion, Meyer Levin’s adaptation of his novel based on the Leopold & Loeb trial. He and McDowall starred as the brazen duo who think they have committed the perfect murder before Stockwell reprised his role for the Fox film version directed by Richard Fleischer. (Bradford Dillman replaced McDowall in the feature.) Stockwell then played an overzealous military man on the 1961 Twilight Zone episode “A Quality of Mercy” and spent a season in 1965 as a colleague of Richard Chamberlain on Dr. Kildare. He took another three-year break from Hollywood in the mid-’60s and hung out in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco before returning for such films as Richard Rush’s Psych-Out (1968), The Dunwich Horror (1970), and Dennis Hopper’s ill-fated The Last Movie (1971).  He and Hopper were great friends, he told the L.A. Times in 1988. “We used to run around a lot. The beat clubs. The jazz joints. We were pretty wild,” he said of his Blue Velvet co-star. “Barney’s Beanery was our real spot. We started going there back when it was an artists’ hangout.” His film résumé also included Jack Cardiff’s Sons & Lovers (1960), Rapture (1965), The Loners (1972), the campy The Werewolf of Washington (1973), Henry Jaglom’s Tracks (1976) in another pairing with Hopper, Richard Brooks’ Wrong Is Right (1982), William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Coppola’s Gardens of Stone (1987) and The Rainmaker (1997), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Sandino (1991) and Air Force One (1997). The late Demme once said that he didn’t know what to expect when he worked with Stockwell on Married to the Mob — “which is probably what makes him so intriguing. All I knew was that whatever Dean would do would be completely different from the last time I saw him. “Whenever he’d come to the set, we’d treat him as Tony the Tiger, bowing and scraping, paying homage to him. Dean was completely in character — talking like a gangster, walking like a gangster, always rolling his neck around like he was ready for a massage. “Then he’d look around the set — very imperially — and say, ‘It’s so nice to see how you people operate in the movie business.’ “ Among his more idiosyncratic projects, Stockwell starred in Nicaragua’s Alsino and the Condor (1982), which was nominated for the best foreign-language Oscar, and in the Mexican movie To Kill a Stranger (1983). Around that time, he left the business again to sell real estate in New Mexico. He had a recurring role on Battlestar Galactica and reunited with Bakula in 2002 and 2014 for episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise and NCIS: New Orleans, respectively. Stockwell also co-wrote and co-directed with Neil Young the 1982 anti-nuke film Human Highway. He first met the musician when both were living in L.A.’s Topanga Canyon, and an unproduced screenplay by Stockwell served as Young’s inspiration for the landmark 1970 album After the Gold Rush. “He recorded it all at his house studio there in Topanga, and I was there for the whole recording. It was wonderful,” Stockwell said in 2012. An accomplished artist, Stockwell also designed the cover art for another Young album, 1977’s American Stars ‘n Bars. He was known for his collages and dice sculptures. In 1982, Stockwell married Joy Marchenko, a textiles expert whom he had met in Cannes, and they had two children, Austin and Sophia. His first wife was actress Millie Perkins. He also dated “Mickey” singer Toni Basil for a time.



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


© Provided by Associated Press FILE - Actor Dean Stockwell poses with his award for best-supporting actor for his role in "Quantum Leap" at the 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 20, 1990. Stockwell, a top Hollywood child actor who gained new success in middle age, garnering an Oscar nomination for “Married to the Mob” and Emmy nominations for “Quantum Leap,” died of natural causes at his home on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. He was 85. (AP Photo/Douglas Pizac, File) NEW YORK (AP) — Dean Stockwell, a top Hollywood child actor who gained new success in middle age in the sci-fi series “Quantum Leap” and in a string of indelible performances in film, including David Lynch's “Blue Velvet,” Wim Wenders' “Paris, Texas” and Jonathan Demme's “Married to the Mob,” has died. He was 85. Agent Jay Schwartz said Stockwell died of natural causes at home Sunday. Stockwell was Oscar-nominated for his comic mafia kingpin in “Married to the Mob” and was four times an Emmy-nominee for “Quantum Leap.” But in a career that spanned seven decades, Stockwell was a supreme character actor whose performances — lip-syncing Roy Orbison in a nightmarish party scene in “Blue Velvet,” a desperate agent in Robert Altman's “The Player,” Howard Hughes in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” — didn't have to be lengthy to be mesmerizing. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Actor Dean Stockwell poses in Feb 1989 at an unknown location. Stockwell, a top Hollywood child actor who gained new success in middle age, garnering an Oscar nomination for “Married to the Mob” and Emmy nominations for “Quantum Leap,” died of natural causes at his home on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. He was 85. (AP Photo/Alan Greth, File) The dark-haired Stockwell was a Hollywood veteran by the time he reached his teens. In his 20s, he starred on Broadway as a young killer in the play “Compulsion" and in prestigious films such as “Sons and Lovers.” He was awarded best actor at the Cannes Film Festival twice, in 1959 for the big-screen version of “Compulsion" and in 1962 for Sidney Lumet's adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's “Long Day's Journey Into Night.” While his career had some lean times, he reached his full stride in the 1980s. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Actor Dean Stockwell is shown, Dec. 1959. Stockwell, a top Hollywood child actor who gained new success in middle age, garnering an Oscar nomination for “Married to the Mob” and Emmy nominations for “Quantum Leap,” died of natural causes at his home on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. He was 85. (AP Photo, File) “My way of working is still the same as it was in the beginning — totally intuitive and instinctive,” he told The New York Times in 1987. “But as you live your life, you compile so many millions of experiences and bits of information that you become a richer vessel as a person. You draw on more experience.” His Oscar-nominated role as Tony “The Tiger” Russo, a flamboyant gangster, in the 1988 hit “Married to the Mob” led to his most notable TV role the following year, in NBC’s science fiction series “Quantum Leap.” Both roles had strong comic elements. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Actor Dean Stockwell is shown, Dec. 1959. Stockwell, a top Hollywood child actor who gained new success in middle age, garnering an Oscar nomination for “Married to the Mob” and Emmy nominations for “Quantum Leap,” died of natural causes at his home on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. He was 85. (AP Photo, File) “It’s the first time anyone’s offered me a series and the first time I’ve ever wanted to do one,” he said in 1989. “If people hadn’t seen me in 'Married To the Mob’ they wouldn’t have realized I could do comedy.” © Provided by Associated Press FILE - Actor Dean Stockwell poses with his award for best-supporting actor for his role in "Quantum Leap" at the 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 20, 1990. Stockwell, a top Hollywood child actor who gained new success in middle age, garnering an Oscar nomination for “Married to the Mob” and Emmy nominations for “Quantum Leap,” died of natural causes at his home on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. He was 85. (AP Photo/Douglas Pizac, File) Starring with Stockwell in “Quantum Leap” was Scott Bakula, playing a scientist who assumes different identities in different eras after a time-travel experiment goes awry. As his colleague, “The Observer,” Stockwell lends his help but is seen only on a holographic computer image. The show lasted from 1989 to 1993. He continued playing roles, big and small, in films and TV, into the 21st century, including a regular role in another science fiction series, “Battlestar Galactica.” Stockwell became an actor at an early age. His father, Harry Stockwell, voiced the role of Prince Charming in Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and appeared in several Broadway musicals. At age 7, Dean made his show business debut in the 1943 Broadway show “The Innocent Voyage,” the story of orphaned children entangled with pirates. His older brother, Guy, also was in the cast. A producer at MGM was impressed by Dean and persuaded the studio to sign him. His first significant role was as Kathryn Grayson’s nephew in the 1945 musical “Anchors Away,” which starred Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. In the next few years, Stockwell appeared in such films as the Oscar-winning anti-Semitism drama “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” with Gregory Peck, as well as “Song of the Thin Man,” the last of the William Powell-Myrna Loy mystery series, with Stockwell 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 changes color, and “Kim,” the 1950 version of the Rudyard Kipling tale, which starred Errol Flynn. Films in his youth also included “Down to the Sea in Ships,” with Lionel Barrymore; “The Secret Garden,” with Margaret O’Brien; and “Stars in My Crown” with Joel McCrea. “I was very lucky to have a loving and caring and sympathetic mother and not a stage mother,” he told The Associated Press in 1989. Still, he stressed, it wasn’t always easy, and he dropped out of the business when he reached 16. “I never really wanted to be an actor,” he said. “I found acting very difficult from the beginning. I worked long hours, six days a week. It wasn’t fun.” It wasn’t the only time he dropped out. But, he said, “I came back each time because I had no other training.” Reviving his career after five years, Stockwell returned to New York where he co-starred with Roddy McDowall on Broadway in “Compulsion,” a 1957 drama based on the notorious Leopold-Loeb murder case in which two college students killed a 14-year-old boy for the thrill of it. The film version starred Orson Welles. Stockwell had two more prestigious film roles in the early 1960s. He was the struggling son in D.H. Lawrence’s “Sons and Lovers” — an Oscar nominee for best picture — and the sensitive younger brother in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” with Ralph Richardson and Katharine Hepburn. He also tried his hand at theater directing, putting on a well-received program of Beckett and Ionesco plays in Los Angeles in 1961. In 1960, Stockwell married Millie Perkins, best known for her starring turn as Anne in the 1959 film “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The marriage ended in divorce after only two years. In the mid-60s, Stockwell dropped out of Hollywood and became a regular presence at the hippie enclave of Topanga Canyon. After the encouragement of Dennis Hopper, Stockwell wrote a screenplay that never got produced but inspired Neil Young’s 1970 album “After the Gold Rush,” which took its  from Stockwell’s script. Stockwell, longtime friends with Young, later co-directed and starred with Young on 1982′s “Human Highway.” Stockwell also designed the cover of Young’s 1977 album “American Stars 'N Bars.” In 1981 he married Joy Marchenko, a textile expert. When his career hit a down period, Stockwell decided to take his family to New Mexico. As soon as he left Hollywood, filmmakers started calling again. He was cast as Harry Dean Stanton’s drifting brother in Wim Wenders’ acclaimed 1984 film “Paris, Texas” and that same year as the evil Dr. Yueh in Lynch’s “Dune.” He called his success from the 1980s onward his “third career.” As for the Oscar nomination, he told the AP in 1989 that it was “something I’ve dreamed about for years. ... It’s just one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.” Like his longtime friend Hopper, a noted photographer as well as an actor, Stockwell was active in the visual arts. He made photo collages and what he called “dice works," sculptures made of dice.  Robert Dean Stockwell, in his art projects. His brother, Guy Stockwell, also became a prolific film and television actor, even doing guest shots on “Quantum Leap.” He died in 2002 at age 68. Stockwell is survived by his wife, Joy, and their two children, Austin Stockwell and Sophie Stockwell. ___ Late Associated Press writer Bob Thomas contributed biographical information to this report.



Dean Stockwell, Child Actor Turned ‘Quantum Leap’ Star, Dies at 85 


Dean Stockwell, who began his seven-decade acting career as a child in the 1940s and later starred as the cigar-smoking Al Calavicci in the science fiction TV series “Quantum Leap,” died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 85. His death was confirmed by Jay Schwartz, a family spokesman, who did not specify a cause. Mr. Stockwell was known early in his career for his turns alongside the biggest stars of the age, and he eventually became a dependable Hollywood mainstay who lent gravitas to series like “JAG” and “Battlestar Galactica.” He earned more than 200 film and television credits as an actor from 1945 to 2015. But he lost interest several times in the profession he had been all but born into, escaping to work on railroads and in real estate, and, in the 1960s, to immerse himself in the hippie movement. He also enjoyed several career revivals, notably in the 1980s, when he was cast in some of his career-defining roles, including in “Paris, Texas,” “Dune,” “Blue Velvet” and “Married to the Mob.” As the son of a famous actor — his father, Harry Stockwell, voiced Prince Charming in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” — he had little semblance of a typical childhood before he began acting, first appearing on Broadway in 1943, at age 7, in “Innocent Voyage.” A talent scout recruited him to appear in Hollywood movies starting in 1945 when he acted alongside Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in “Anchors Aweigh.” He was immediately praised for his skill, winning a special award at the Golden Globes for “Gentleman’s Agreement” in 1947. In 1950, The Times said he was “delightfully sturdy and sound” in “Kim,” adding that “little Dean shows a real tenderness.” Other Times reviews of his child performances said his work was “touching,” “commendable” and “cozy.” Robert Dean Stockwell was born in Los Angeles on March 5, 1936. His parents divorced when he was 6, and he spent most of his childhood with his mother, a vaudeville comedian, and his brother, also an actor. Mr. Stockwell would later say that he looked up to directors and leading actors on set as father figures. He would appear in 19 films before he turned 16, at which point he quit acting for the first time. He was withdrawn as a child and took little pleasure in acting, seeing it as an obligation foisted upon him by others, he said in an interview with Turner Classic Movies in 1995. “If it had been up to me, I would have been out of it by the time I was 10,” he said. After graduating from high school at 16 — as a child actor, he received three hours of schooling while working — he realized he had little training to do anything else. He flitted from one odd job to the next before reluctantly returning to acting in 1956, when he was 20. In the 1960s, he found comfort in the counterculture movement and hippie ethos. “My career was doing well, but I wasn’t getting anything out of it personally,” he told The New York Times in 1988. “What I was looking for I was found in another place, which was in that revolution. The ’60s allowed me to live my childhood as an adult. That kind of freedom, imagination and creativity that arose all around was like childhood to me.” After a few years off, he returned to acting only to learn that his time away had led Hollywood casting agents to forget him. For about a dozen frustrating years, he struggled to land roles, appearing in fringe films and performing in dinner theater. “I even heard about a casting meeting where the producer said, ‘We need a Dean Stockwell type,’” he told The Times in 1988. “Meanwhile, I couldn’t even get arrested.” In the early 1980s, he quit acting again, moving to Santa Fe, N.M., to sell real estate. His next comeback would be his most successful, beginning a decade of his most critically acclaimed work. In 1988, he was nominated for an Academy Award for best-supporting actor for “Married to the Mob.” The next year, he was cast in “Quantum Leap,” starring opposite Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett, a scientist who, because of a botched time-travel experiment, spends his days and nights being thrown back in time to assume other people’s identities. Reviewing the series for The Times in 1989, John J. O’Connor described Mr. Stockwell as “Mr. Bakula’s indispensable co-star.” Clutching a cigar and sporting “a wardrobe of odd punk-western outfits,” Mr. Stockwell portrayed Adm. Al Calavicci, “Sam’s wiseguy colleague, who hangs around the edges of each episode, setting the scene and commenting on the action,” Mr. O’Connor wrote. Mr. Stockwell was nominated four times for an Emmy Award for best supporting actor in a drama series for his work on “Quantum Leap,” which ran for five seasons on NBC. He is survived by his wife, Joy Stockwell, and two children, Austin Stockwell and Sophie Stockwell. He said in a 1987 interview with The Times that his approach as an actor hadn’t changed since he was a child. “I haven’t changed in the least,” he said. “My way of working is still the same as it was in the beginning: totally intuitive and instinctive. But as you live your life, you compile so many millions of experiences and bits of information that you become a richer vessel as a person. You draw on more experience.”


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