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Dean Stockwell

Dean Stockwell

American actor
Dean Stockwell
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor
A.K.A. Robert Dean Stockwell
Is Actor Television actor Film actor Stage actor Photographer
From United States of America
Type Arts Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 5 March 1936, North Hollywood, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, USA
Age 84 years
Star sign Pisces
Mother: Nina Olivette
Father: Harry Stockwell
Siblings: Guy Stockwell
Spouse: Millie Perkins (1960-1962)
Height: 1.7018 m
Actors Studio
The details


Robert Dean Stockwell (born March 5, 1936) is an American retired actor of film and television, with a career spanning over 70 years. As a child actor under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he first came to the public's attention in films such as Anchors Aweigh, The Green Years, Gentleman's Agreement, and Kim; as a young adult, he played a lead role in the 1957 Broadway and 1959 screen adaptations of Meyer Levin's Compulsion, a novel based on the true-life story of Leopold and Loeb. 

In 1962, Stockwell played Edmund Tyrone in the film version of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night. The following year he was the guest star in the episode "High Named Today" for Combat!.

More recently, he became widely known for television roles, playing Rear Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci in the 1989–93 NBC-TV Universal series Quantum Leap, and Brother Cavil in the Sci Fi Channel 21st century revival of Battlestar Galactica. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Married to the Mob (1988).

Early life

Stockwell was born on March 5, 1936, in North Hollywood, California, but was raised in New York. He was the younger son of Elizabeth Veronica Stockwell, an actress, comedian, singer and toe dancer in Burlesque and theatre in Northern America and New York, and Harry Stockwell, an actor and lyric baritone singer in New York productions of Carousel and Oklahoma as well as the voice of Prince Charming in Disney's film Snow White. His elder brother was television and film actor Guy Stockwell.


In 1945, Stockwell appeared in one of the primary roles (Donald Martin) in the musical movie Anchors Aweigh alongside Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. Some of his other child roles include that of Robert Shannon in The Green Years (1946); Gregory Peck's son in Gentleman's Agreement (1947); Nick Charles. Jr., in Song of the Thin Man (1947); as an orphaned runaway longing to go to sea in Deep Waters (1948); and as Lionel Barrymore's grandson and Richard Widmark's protege in Down to the Sea in Ships (1949). 

Stockwell with Sandra Dee in The Dunwich Horror

He also starred in the lead role of The Boy with Green Hair in 1948, and in The Secret Garden in 1949. In 1950, he appeared in a lead role alongside Errol Flynn Paul Lukas in Kim.

He resumed his acting career as an adult. In 1957, he starred as Judd Steiner in the Broadway adaptation of Compulsion, based on the Leopold and Loeb story; he played the same role in the 1959 film adaptation. He and his Compulsion co-stars Orson Welles and Bradford Dillman shared the 1959 Cannes Film Award for Best Actor. Stockwell continued to work heavily in TV on such shows as Playhouse 90, Johnny Staccato, Buick-Electra Playhouse, and The Restless Gun.

In 1958, he joined Gloria Talbott and Dan Blocker as guest stars in the episode "Mercyday" of the NBC western series The Restless Gun, starring John Payne.

In 1960, he played coal miner's son Paul Morel in the British film Sons and Lovers, alongside Trevor Howard and Wendy Hiller. In 1961, he appeared in the premiere episode of ABC's Bus Stop series, which starred Marilyn Maxwell

In 1962, he appeared in an adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's play Long Day's Journey Into Night along with Katharine HepburnRalph Richardson, and Jason Robards. In 1964, Stockwell guest-starred in an episode of NBC's medical drama The Eleventh Hour.

In the mid-1960s, Stockwell dropped out of show business, becoming active in the Topanga Canyon hippie subculture as a close friend of artists George Herms and Wallace Berman, fellow child actor/"dropout" Russ Tamblyn and musician Neil Young.

Stockwell in Paper Man

Stockwell appeared in a 1969 episode of Bonanza as a down-and-out former Union soldier. He then appeared in two episodes of the mystery series Columbo. In 1973, he was the lead in a horror B-film, The Werewolf of Washington. During the mid-1970s, he worked as a real estate broker and designed the distinctive cover of Young's American Stars 'n Bars (1976).

In 1984, he appeared in Wim Wenders' critically acclaimed film Paris, Texas, and in that same year, in David Lynch's film version of Dune as Wellington Yueh. The following year, he turned in a brief but significant role as attorney Bob Grimes in William Friedkin's To Live and Die in L.A.. In 1986, Stockwell made an appearance in another Lynch production, the neo-noir thriller Blue Velvet.

In 1988, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Mafia boss Tony "the Tiger" Russo in the comedy Married to the Mob. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 29, 1992 (Leap Day) following the success of Quantum Leap. In 1997 Stockwell co-starred with Harrison Ford and Glenn Close in the blockbuster suspense thriller Air Force One.

Along with Jack Lemmon and Marcello Mastroianni, Stockwell won the award for best actor at the Cannes Film Festival twice, for Compulsion and Long Day's Journey Into Night.

He joined the cast of the 2004 revival of Battlestar Galactica starting with its second-season finale, portraying what became the lead antagonist, Cylon John Cavil.

Personal life

Dean Stockwell married Millie Perkins on April 15, 1960; they divorced on July 30, 1962. He married Joy Marchenko, a textiles expert who worked in Morocco, on December 15, 1981. They had two children: a son, Austin, born November 5, 1983, and a daughter, Sophia, born August 5, 1985.

Stockwell has been widely reported to be the godfather of actress Amber Tamblyn; however, in a 2009 interview with Parade, Tamblyn explained that Stockwell was one of three famous friends of her father, actor Russ Tamblyn, who were always around the house when she was growing up, and who were big influences on her life. The other two, in addition to Stockwell, were actor/photographer/filmmaker Dennis Hopper and Neil Young. The word "godfather" was "just a loose term I’ve always used for all of them," Tamblyn explained in the interview.

Stockwell is an accomplished artist who creates both digitally enhanced photographs and original collages in the style of Wallace Berman. During his time at the University of California, Berkeley, Stockwell immersed himself in music and wrote several small compositions. With Young, Stockwell co-wrote and co-directed the cult film Human Highway (1982). The title track from Young's 1970 album After the Gold Rush is based on an unproduced screenplay written by Stockwell and the reclusive Herb Bermann, a writer/actor best known for his work with Captain Beefheart.

Stockwell is an avid golfer and played golf during breaks in filming episodes of Quantum Leap. He is a martial artist, holding instructor rank in Modern Arnis.

He is an "avowed environmentalist", a characteristic which some of his onscreen characters have shared.

He campaigned for the Democrats in the 1992 US presidential election.

Following his roles on Quantum Leap and Battlestar Galactica, Stockwell has appeared at numerous science fiction conventions.


  • Best, Marc. Those Endearing Young Charms: Child Performers of the Screen (South Brunswick and New York: Barnes & Co., 1971), pp. 240–244.
  • Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, pp. 196–197.
  • Dye, David. Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914–1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1988, pp. 220–223.
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Article Title: Dean Stockwell: American actor - Biography and Life
Author(s): PeoplePill.com Editorial Staff
Website Title: PeoplePill
Publisher: PeoplePill
Article URL: https://peoplepill.com/people/dean-stockwell/
Publish Date: 19 Dec 2016
Date Accessed: 24 Nov 2020
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