Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Late Great Dean Stockwell

Dean Stockwell, who began his career as a child actor in such films as The Boy with Green Hair (1948) and The Happy Years (1950) before appearing in such films as Paris, Texas (1984) and Blue Velvet (1986) and the TV series Quantum Leap as an adult, died on November 7 2021 at the age of 85.

Dean Stockwell was born on March 5 1936 in North Hollywood, California. His father was actor Harry Stockwell, who had provided the singing voice of Prince Charming in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). His older brother was Guy Stockwell, who was later a regular on the TV shows Adventures in Paradise and The Richard Boone Show. As the son of an actor, Dean Stockwell grew up in both Los Angeles and New York City.

It was while appearing in Oklahoma! on Broadway that his father Harry Stockwell heard of the play Innocent Voyage that needed child actors. Both Guy Stockwell and Dean Stockwell auditioned for roles in Innocent Voyage and both were cast in the play. While Dean Stockwell's part was small and Innocent Voyage only ran on Broadway from November 15 1943 to December 18 1944, he was noticed by MGM who gave him a contract. Dean Stockwell made his film debut in The Valley of Decision in 1945. He had notable roles in Anchors Aweigh (1945), The Green Years (1946), The Boy with Green Hair (1948), and The Happy Years (1950). He played Nick Charles Jr. in Song of the Thin Man (1947). He also appeared in the movies Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (1945), Home, Sweet Homicide (1946), The Mighty McGurk (1947), The Arnelo Affair (1947), The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), Deep Waters (1948), Down to the Sea in Ships (1949), The Secret Garden (1949), and Kim (1950).

Dean Stockwell appeared in the movie Cattle Drive (1951) before taking a short break from acting. During this period he worked a number of odd jobs, from working on the railroad to working in a bakery. He returned to acting with the movie Gun for a Coward in 1956. He also made his second and last appearance on Broadway in the play Compulsion in 1957. He would reprise his role as Judd Steiner in the 1959 film adaptation of Compulsion. Dean Stockwell made his television debut in an episode of Front Row Center in 1956. In the mid to late Fifties he also appeared in the movies The Careless Years (1957) and Sons and Lovers (1960). He guest starred on the TV shows Matinee Theatre, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Wagon Train, The United States Steel Hour, Climax!, Men of Annapolis, Cimarron City, General Electric Theatre, Playhouse 90, Johnny Staccato, Buick-Electra Playhouse, Checkmate, and The DuPont Show with June Allyson.

In the Sixties Dean Stockwell had a recurring role on the TV series Dr. Kildare. He guest starred on the TV shows Outlaws, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wagon Train, Bus Stop, The Twilight Zone, Alcoa Premiere, The Dick Powell Show, Combat!, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Defenders, The Eleventh Hour, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Burke's Law, The Danny Thomas Hour, Thirty-Minute Theatre, and Bonanza. He appeared in the movies Long Day's Journey into Night (1962), Rapture (1965), Psych-Out (1968), and The Dunwich Horror (1970).

In the Seventies Mr. Stockwell guest starred in the television shows Mannix, The F.B.I., Mission: Impossible, Night Gallery, Orson Welles' Great Mysteries, Dr. Simon Locke, The Streets of San Francisco, Columbo, Joe Forrester, Three for the Road, Cannon, Ellery Queen, Police Story, McCloud, Tales of the Unexpected, and Greatest Heroes of the Bible. He appeared in the movies The Last Movie (1971), The Loners (1973), The Werewolf of London (1973), The Pacific Connection (1974), Win, Place or Steal (1974), Tracks (1976),  Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976), One Away (1976), and She Came to the Valley (1979).

In 1989 Dean Stockwell began a five year run playing Admiral Al Calavicci on the TV series Quantum Leap. He was the voice of Duke Nukem on the animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers. He guest starred on the shows Hart to Hart; The A-Team; Simon & Simon; Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense; Miami Vice; Hunter; Murder, She Wrote; and The Twilight Zone. He appeared in the mini-series Son of the Morning Star. During the Eighties he made several significant appearances in movies, playing Walt Henderson in Paris, Texas (1984), Doctor Yueh in Dune (1984), and Ben in Blue Velvet (1986). He also appeared in the movies Wrong is Right (1982), Human Highway (1982), Alsino y el cóndor (1982), To Kill a Stranger (1984), The Legend of Billie Jean (1985), To Live and Die of L.A. (1985), Once Bitten (1985), Papa Was a Preacher (1985), Gardens of Stone (1987), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), The Time Guardian (1987), Banzai Runner (1987), The Blue Iguana (1988), Married to the Mob (1988), Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), Palais Royale (1988), Buying Time (1988), Jorge, um Brasileiro (1989), Limit Up (1989), and Catchfire (1990).

In the Nineties he continued to appear as Al on Quantum Leap. He was a regular on the show Street Gear and The Tony Danza Show. He guest starred on the shows Burke's Law, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Chicago Hope, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Nowhere Man, The Commish, Can't Hurry Love, Ink, Popular Science, It's True!, The Drew Carey Show, and Cold Feet. He appeared in the movies Sandino (1991), The Player (1992), Friends and Enemies (1992), Chasers (1994), Mr. Wrong (1996), Naked Souls (1996), Last Resort (1996), Living in Peril (1997), McHale's Navy (1997), Midnight Blue (1997), Air Force One (1997), The Shadow Men (1997), The Rainmaker (1997), Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights (1998), Restraining Order (1999), Water Damage (1999), The Venice Project (1999), Rites of Passage (1999), and The Flunky (2000).

In the Naughts Dean Stockwell had a recurring role the TV series First Monday. On JAG he played the recurring role of Secretary of the Navy Edward Sheffield. He also had a recurring role on the 2000s revival of Battlestar Galactica. He guest starred on the shows Star Trek: Enterprise, Stargate SG-1, and Crash. He appeared in the movies Face to Face (2001), CQ (2001), The Quickie (2001), Buffalo Soldiers (2001), Inferno (2002), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), and The Deal (2007).

In the Teens Dean Stockwell guest starred on the shows Elisted and NCIS. He appeared in the movies C.O.G. (2013), Max Rose (2013), Deep in the Darkness (2014), Persecuted (2014), and Entertainment (2015).

Dean Stockwell was an enormous talent. He was among the most natural child actors of all time, giving superb performances in The Boy with Green Hair and Kim, among other movies. As an adult he would play a wide variety of roles. He will always be remembered as Al, the womanizing rear admiral who assists Sam Beckett as he travels through time. He will also be remembered as the rather creepy Ben, who lip syncs to Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" in Blue Velvet. That having been said, he played many more roles throughout his career. He was Edmund, the younger son who may have tuberculosis, in Long Day's Journey into Night. He played Howard Hughes in Tucker: The Man and His Dream. From the attorney Bob Grimes in To Live and Die in L.A. to a mob boss in Married to the Mob, Dean Stockwell played many different roles. What is more he always gave a good performance.

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