Actor Dean Stockwell dies in New Zealand at age 85

Famed actor Dean Stockwell, whose Hollywood career spanned an impressive 70 years and included a memorable stint in the late-1980s television series Quantum Leap, died in New Zealand on Nov. 7 at the age of 85, according to USA Today.

Lesa Kirk, a representative for Stockwell, noted that he died “surrounded by immediate family members” and declared him to be “gentle, gracious and one of a kind, a class act.”

Launching his career as a child actor in the studios of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, Stockwell’s first notable film role came in the Oscar-winning movie Anchors Aweigh, which starred Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. That appearance led to many more spots on the big screen in the 40s and 50s.

It was in the 1960s that Stockwell’s career trajectory shifted to include a number of television roles, including in programs such as Dr. Kildare, The Dick Powell Theater, and Wagon Train, among others.

By the late 1980s, Stockwell had continued to move back and forth between the big and small screens, and that is when he was cast in one of his most memorable roles, that of Navy Rear Adm. Albert Calavicci in NBC’s Quantum Leap alongside fellow actor Scott Bakula.

During its run between 1989 and 1993, Quantum Leap earned six primetime Emmys, with Stockwell himself receiving multiple nominations for his supporting performances in the show, and the actor also snagged a coveted Oscar nomination for his comedic turn in the film Married to the Mob.

Stockwell formally retired from the acting profession back in 2015 and embarked on a full-time art career centered in Taos, New Mexico, where he worked with sculpture, photo collages, and other media.

It did not take long for celebrity reactions to start pouring in amid the news of Stockwell’s death, with fellow actor and close friend Russ Tamblyn leading the tributes by posting on Twitter, “Dean. My oldest friend. A godfather-figure to my daughter, Amber. Brilliant artist. Loving dad. We met on the set of The Boy With Green Hair, stayed close til his last breath.”

Dean Stockwell leaves behind a wife, Joy, and two children, Austin and Sophia Stockwell, not to mention the millions of fans who have delighted in the passion and dedication he showed for his craft over the past seven decades.