What is the original ‘Quantum Leap’ cast doing now?

Quantum Leap

It’s been nearly 30 years since American television audiences last saw Dr. Sam Beckett traveling through time, helping to keep human history on the right path and hopefully make his last leap the leap that would send him back home.

For five seasons, Dr. Beckett appeared – to most of the characters he encountered – as various people throughout the second half of the 20th century, in this science-fiction drama that touched remarkably on American history, romance, social issues, life, and loss.

The pilot episode was set in the year, 1995, the not too distant future, compared to 1989, the year in which the TV show first aired. After conceiving time-traveling technology, thanks largely in part to government funding, Dr. Beckett hastily decides to test his previously unused nuclear accelerator before it’s fully perfected and ends up indeed traveling back through time.

He arrives in the year 1956, embodying an Air Force test pilot, and with the help of a hologram and fighting against the effects of amnesia, a realized consequence of Sam’s quantum leaping, he eventually acts accordingly to change history. While appearing as various people he’s “lept into”, Sam’s actions generally rewrite history for the better under the belief that with him making particular changes, he would be able to leap back to his present day.

The show was a general success during its run on NBC from 1989 to 1993, as cast and crew members would win various awards for their efforts on the series. The show had also gathered a considerable cult following over almost three decades since its final episode. Recently, NBC had ordered a continuation of the series for later this year, featuring new characters who are said to continue the research and quest for all of the answers behind Dr. Beckett’s original work.

But as far as the original tv series, where is the original cast now? Well, with a plot that revolves around one traveler who ventures from one random time period to another, also in the place of people from all walks of life, the recurring cast is likely to be small compared to other television programs.

But nonetheless, Quantum Leap featured great performances from a number of well-known names.

Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett

Originally starting off with stage acting in the mid-1970s, Scott Bakula finally got his first television role about a decade later, appearing in some very small roles in 1986. It was then towards the end of that year when he was cast as Hunt Stevenson, a role that was originally played on the big screen by Michael Keaton in Gung Ho, this time in the TV sitcom that was based on that same movie. That stint only lasted nine episodes but then Bakula caught on with a handful of appearances as Ted Shively in the popular CBS comedy, Designing Women.

Bakula then had his longest stretch of work with 13 episodes during a short-lived sitcom called Eisenhower and Lutz, which also ran on CBS in 1988.

Then, in 1989, Bakula got the lead role as Dr. Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap, the role that would put him among television’s leading men at that time. Over the show’s five seasons, he won four Quality TV Awards for Best Actor in a Drama Series and a 1992 Golden Globe Award in the same category. It was also this role that seemed to solidify Bakula as a household name on television, even though he would have numerous memorable movie roles ever since 1990.

After Quantum Leap’s final episode, Bakula continued to work consistently on television but wouldn’t star in a long-running series until 2001. During that time, he would star in movies such as Necessary Roughness, Major League: Back to the Minors, and American Beauty.

Bakula then starred as Captain Jonathan Archer in the popular sci-fi series Star Trek: Enterprise. The show ran from 2001 to 2005 and after that, he stuck to his bread-and-butter opportunities with numerous guest-starring appearances and lead roles on TV that were occasionally complimented by some small supporting roles in some lesser-known, full-length feature films.

But then Bakula was back in a big way when he was able to parlay guest-starring appearances as Supervisory Special Agent Dwayne Pride on NCIS, into the lead role with that character on the popular spinoff NCIS: New Orleans. That show ran from 2014 to 2021 with Bakula in the lead role and also with producing duties. In 2015, he was nominated in the Favorite Actor in a New TV Series category at the People’s Choice Awards.

Bakula has two new projects on the horizon, Unbroken and Divinity, though their release dates are currently unknown.

Dean Stockwell as Rear Admiral Albert “Al” Calavicci

The only other character on Quantum Leap that appeared as much as Sam was Rear Admiral Albert Calavicci, affectionately known as “Al”, played by Dean Stockwell. Al was always seen in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. The character was a part of Sam’s Project Quantum Leap team, which worked on the time-traveling technology and appeared in every episode along with Dr. Beckett.

Stockwell started his career very early as a child actor during the 1940s, with his first role alongside Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in 1945’s Anchors Aweigh. He continued to work through the fifties and then was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for the lead role in D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers. Stockwell then won two Best Actor Awards at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival for appearing in Long Day’s Journey into Night.

During the 1970s, Stockwell found work on television with guest-starring roles in Mission: Impossible, Columbo, Hart to Hart, and The A-Team, to name a few. He also earned supporting roles in several movies during the decade, between his time on tv.

Stockwell gained bigger roles in the eighties with supporting roles in movies like Dune, the critically-acclaimed film Paris, Texas, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Blue Velvet. His biggest movie role that decade and probably of his career came in 1988 when he was cast as Tony “the Tiger” Russo in Married to the Mob. His performance in the movie earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Just the next year in 1989 was more successful, this time on the small screen when he was cast alongside Bakula in Quantum Leap. He won both a Golden Globe and a Quality TV Award for his efforts on the show.

From the onset of the nineties, Stockwell continued a long stretch of consistent television work that lasted well after Quantum Leap had ended. He had guest roles in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Chicago Hope, and The Commish. He also had small roles in some popular feature films like McHale’s Navy, Air Force One, and The Rainmaker.

And after the turn of the century, the work continued to flow. Stockwell had a recurring role in the popular naval drama JAG, from 2002 to 2004, and on another sci-fi hit, Battlestar Galactica from 2006 to 2009. Even more guest appearances on the tube would follow up until he stepped away from acting in 2015, due to his necessary recovery from a stroke he suffered that same year.

Dean Stockwell passed away in November of 2021, from natural causes at the age of 85.

Ziggy – voiced by Deborah Pratt

Ziggy was the highly-intelligent supercomputer that Dr. Beckett created to run the Quantum Leap technology. It was given a feminine personality to go along with its powerful self-awareness and extensive historical databases. Ziggy is usually implemented while Al appears to further assist Sam during his various leaps through time.

Deborah Pratt did the voice work for Ziggy and also contributed some voiceover narration for the show’s opening introduction. She also served as co-executive producer and as one of the writers for the show, along with co-writer and co-creator Donald P. Bellisario, to who she was also married from 1984 to 1991.

In addition to her work on Quantum Leap, Pratt also made appearances in other projects such as Magnum, P.I., Happy Days, Benson, and Airwolf.

Since Quantum Leap, she’s published a couple of books and also had very small, bit roles in a few low-budget projects while her daughter, Troian Avery Bellisario, has continued the family business as an actress and director.

Appearances by other actors and actresses throughout the series

No other characters were seen or heard nearly as much as the previously mentioned names but a small handful had prominent connections to the main characters.

Teri Hatcher, of Lois & Clark and Desperate Housewives fame, appeared in an early episode as Sam’s future wife, a character that would be played in later appearances by another actress. Hatcher would go on to become one of the most favorable actresses of the nineties, into the twenty-first century, and is still working in Hollywood.

Dennis Wolfberg, an entertainer that was more of a stand-up comic than an actor, played the lead computer programmer named Dr. Irving “Gooshie” Gushman on the Quantum Leap project. He only appeared in five episodes but had been frequently referred to as the butt of jokes between the main characters throughout the series. Wolfberg sadly lost his battle with cancer in 1994, at the age of 48.

Veteran tv actress Susan Diol, who over the course of her lengthy career has appeared in over 40 television series, played Al’s wife though she only appeared in two episodes. Apart from this show, she’s appeared in tv programs such as One Life to Live, Star Trek: The Next Generation, NCIS, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, to name a few. Her most recent role is in a dramatic thriller called Basement, which is currently in post-production.

And believe it or not, some names we still know very well to this day made appearances in single episodes during its five-year run.

The late and great Willie Garson appeared as presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in a two-part episode during season five, after already playing a much smaller role in the first season. Another well-known name is Jennifer Aniston, who appeared in an episode during season five. And long before playing opposite Michael Scott on The Office, Melora Hardin played a woman who made a lasting impact on Sam over the course of three-straight episodes in season five.

So many more celebrities like the late Bob Saget, Debbie Allen, Neil Patrick Harris, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brooke Shields, Jason Priestley, Eriq La Salle, and Dietrich Bader all just some of the long list of people who played characters that Dr. Sam Beckett encountered during his travels through time.