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Whatever Happened To The Original Cast Of Quantum Leap

"Quantum Leap" ran for five seasons on NBC between 1989 and 1993, winning six Emmys and the hearts of fans across America. When Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) runs a time-travel experiment on himself, something goes terribly wrong, and Sam finds himself sent back in time where his consciousness temporarily inhabits someone else's body.

Sam's guide on his strange journey is initially known only as "the Observer," but is later revealed to be Sam's colleague and friend Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell). Al appears as a hologram only Sam can see, offering information about Sam's current time and location, pertinent biographical information about whose body he's jumped into, and additional guidance about the people Sam might encounter. Each week, Sam tries to help the people he meets before leaping into someone else's life.

Because of the basic format of the show, there aren't many recurring roles beyond Sam and Al. But the series had a plethora of guest appearances to play the myriad of people Sam meets each week. Some of these guest stars have active careers in film and television. With the "Quantum Leap" reboot coming next fall at NBC (per Deadline), it seems like the perfect time to revisit this beloved sci-fi series and the actors who made it so memorable. Keep reading to find out what the original cast of "Quantum Leap" has been up to. 

Scott Bakula

Scott Bakula played Dr. Sam Beckett in all 97 episodes of "Quantum Leap." He also played John Beckett, Sam's father, in two episodes where Sam leaps into his childhood home. Before landing the role of Sam, Bakula had already been in many television series, TV movies, and a few films. After five seasons in the lead role of "Quantum Leap," Bakula had a recurring role on "Murphy Brown" for 13 episodes, playing Murphy's love interest Peter Hunt in Season 6 through Season 8. 

After Bakula's stint on "Murphy Brown," he starred as Mr. Smith in 13 episodes of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," a show about two spies posing as a married couple. In 2001, Bakula joined the "Star Trek" family, taking the helm for 97 episodes of "Star Trek: Enterprise" as Captain Jonathan Archer. Bakula also played Chuck and Ellie's estranged father, Steve Bartowski, in seven episodes of "Chuck."

Bakula played Terry Elliott in 22 episodes of "Men of a Certain Age" before a short stint as Trip Weston in "Desperate Housewives." Between 2014 and 2021, Bakula took the lead role as Dwayne Pride in 155 episodes of "NCIS: New Orleans." Throughout his years in lead roles on television, Bakula also made films, TV movies, and guest-starred on numerous television series. In March 2022, Deadline announced Bakula is slated to star in NBC's multi-generational drama "Unbroken" — a ranch series set on the central coast of California where the rodeo is a way of life.

Dean Stockwell

Although many of us only know Dean Stockwell from his role in "Quantum Leap," Stockwell was a child star who began his film career in 1945, sharing the screen with legends like Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, and Gene Kelly. Stockwell was born into the entertainment business as the son of two actors and, at a few points in his career, took time away from Hollywood. Stockwell's Oscar nomination for his role in "Married to the Mob" marked a comeback after one of his breaks from acting and led to his casting in NBC's new sci-fi series in 1989 (via the New York Times).

When Stockwell landed the role of Al, he had been working as an actor fairly consistently for more than 40 years. Stockwell appeared in all 97 episodes of "Quantum Leap." After the series concluded, Stockwell contributed to numerous films, TV movies, and series, but he never performed a long-running television role that approaches the duration of Al on "Quantum Leap."

Between 2006 and 2009, Stockwell played John Cavil in 15 episodes of the sci-fi series "Battlestar Galactica." In 2014 he reunited with his "Quantum Leap" co-star Scott Bakula in one episode of "NCIS: New Orleans." In 2015, Stockwell retired after 70 years on screen, during which he amassed over 200 acting credits. Stockwell died at the age of 85 in November of 2021 (via the New York Times).

Willie Garson

Willie Garson played Lee Harvey Oswald in two episodes of "Quantum Leap," and a character named Seymour for an episode in Season 1. Garson had already been acting professionally for a few years before his relatively brief stints on NBC's time-travel series and continued to appear in television and films after.

We can see Garson in films like "Groundhog Day," "Untamed Heart," and "Fever Pitch," but he is probably best known for his television work. In the '90s, Garson made guest appearances in everything from "Melrose Place" and "The Practice" to "Ally McBeal" and "Party of Five" before landing seven episodes on "NYPD Blue" as Henry Coffield. Of course, despite his extensive resume, Garson is probably best known for his role as Stanford Blatch in 27 episodes of "Sex and the City."

Garson continued his work with HBO after "Sex and the City," as Meyer Dickstein in 10 episodes of the truly bizarre and entirely original HBO series "John from Cincinnati" in 2007. Between 2009 and 2014, Garson played Mozzie in 81 episodes of "White Collar." Garson was in nine episodes of "Hawaii 5-0," and reprised his role as Stanford Blatch in 2021 in HBO's "And Just Like That..." In September 2021, Garson died of pancreatic cancer at 57 years old (per Variety).

John D'Aquino

John D'Aquino played Frank LaMotta in three episodes of "Quantum Leap." D'Aquino began his acting career in 1985, playing Varges De La Cosa in six episodes of the short-lived series "Wildside." D'Aquino had already made several television appearances on many series before his tenure on "Quantum Leap." After the sci-fi series, D'Aquino starred in 24 episodes of "SeaQuest 2032" as Benjamin Krieg. D'Aquino also had a four-episode story arc as Mr. Randell in "3rd Rock from the Sun" in 1996.

D'Aquino has made guest appearances on everything from "Murder, She Wrote" and "Seinfeld" to "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Dexter" over the years. He also landed recurring roles in "That's My Bush!" and "JAG" as well as playing President Richard Martinez in 34 episodes of Disney's "Cory in the House." Although D'Aquino has never become a household name, he has amassed 85 acting credits in more than 37 years in the business and branched out into producing, writing, and directing.

Meg Foster

Meg Foster played Laura Fuller in a three-episode arc of "Quantum Leap" in 1992 and was already an established actor before that point. Prior to her stint on the NBC sci-fi series, Foster was known for playing Hester Prynne in the 1979 TV miniseries adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1950 novel "The Scarlet Letter." Foster also played Christine Cagney in Season 1 of "Cagney & Lacey" before Sharon Gless took over the role in Season 2. CBS wanted Foster replaced because, according to an interview with TV Guide (per Huffington Post), a network executive described Foster's portrayal of Cagney as "too harshly women's lib" and proceeded to use a homophobic slur to describe the main characters of one of his network's programs. Despite this baffling ordeal, Foster's career moved forward with guest-starring roles on everything from "Murder, She Wrote" and "ER" in the '90s to "Xena: Warrior Princess" in 2000.

Foster's arresting icy-blue eyes and distinctive look have made her a favorite in horror and fantasy genre films. In 2013, Foster experienced a career revival via the role of psychic Carla Grunwald in the dark mystery "Pretty Little Liars," and in the short-lived spin-off, "Ravenswood." She played Josephine LaRue in a five-episode arc of "The Originals." In 2019, Foster played Beverly Bonds in the miniseries "A Place Called Hollywood." She's still landing roles and making TV and movies to this day.

Eric Bruskotter

Eric Bruskotter appeared in three separate episodes of "Quantum Leap" as three different characters in the early '90s. Bruskotter is one of those actors whose name you might not recognize, but if you were watching television in the '80s and '90s, you probably remember his face. He started his career back in 1985 in an episode of "Amazing Stories," and was active on television through the '80s, even landing a 22-episode recurring role on "Tour of Duty."

After "Quantum Leap," Bruskotter continued acting in guest spots on television and supporting roles in films throughout the '90s. On television, he was in everything from "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Walker, Texas Ranger" to "Providence." He was also in several '90s films, including "Starship Troopers" and "Major League II." In the early '00s, Bruskotter contributed guest appearances to multiple television shows, mostly notably a recurring role on "Six Feet Under" as Keith Charles' partner on the police force.

In 2011 and 2012, he played Cooter Menkins for a handful of episodes of "Glee," and IMDb doesn't cite him working on any released projects since 2013. 

Bruce McGill

Bruce McGill was in two episodes of "Quantum Leap" as a pair of unrelated characters in the early '90s. Like a lot of prolific television character actors, McGill has a widely familiar face, even though most people wouldn't recognize his name. He started acting way back in 1977 and played the eponymous hero's pal Jack Dalton in 18 episodes of "MacGyver" before and during his "Quantum Leap" guest appearances. McGill has 167 acting credits to his name and has added to his body of work every single year since she started as a screen actor. He's even done a little voice work on "Family Guy."

McGill has been in films like "Timecop," "Cinderella Man," and "Law Abiding Citizen," but he is probably best known for his extensive work on television. McGill has made guest appearances in everything from "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Home Improvement" to "Psych." In 1995, he had a recurring role in 13 episodes of "Live Shot" and he played Vince Korsak in "Rizzoli & Isles" between 2010 and 2016. His most recent gig is playing Mayor Grover Teale in "Reacher," and it doesn't seem like he is slowing down.

Teri Hatcher

Teri Hatcher played Donna Eleese in one episode of "Quantum Leap" in 1989. In 1990, her stint as a recurring character on "MacGyver" ended. As you may know, her appearances on these two action-adventure programs from the '80s were hardly the defining moments of Hatcher's career. Over the next few years, Hatcher made guest appearances on a variety of television series, including "Murphy Brown" and "Tales from the Crypt." In 1991, she starred in six episodes of the short-lived series "Sunday Dinner" as the very young fiancé of a widower. Hatcher was also in a few movies in the early '90s, including "Soapdish."

In 1993, Hatcher began her run playing Lois Lane in four seasons of "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." During this time, Hatcher had a brief recurring role on "Seinfeld," and she made a few movies including 1996's "2 Days in the Valley." Hatcher became a Bond girl after "Lois & Clark" ended, playing Paris Carver in "Tomorrow Never Dies" opposite Pierce Brosnan. Hatcher spent several years making films and guest starring on television shows before once again finding herself in the lead role of a long-running TV series, starring as Susan in "Desperate Housewives" for eight seasons.

After "Desperate Housewives" ended, Hatcher played Kate Quimby in "Jane by Design," Charlotte in "The Odd Couple," and Rhea in "Supergirl." Hatcher has also started doing voice work, most notably playing Beatrice Le Beak in the animated series "Captain Jake and the Never Land Pirates." We would imagine her years on "Desperate Housewives" alone would've left her with enough cash to live very comfortably without any necessity to keep working. But judging from her IMDb, it's clear she hasn't stopped acting, just slowed down.

Neil Patrick Harris

When most of us hear the name "Neil Patrick Harris," we don't immediately think of his 1993 appearance on "Quantum Leap." Instead, we might remember our late '00s fondness for "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" or how creeped out we were by wealthy stalker Desi Collings in David Fincher's "Gone Girl" from 2014. Harris has evolved into something of a Hollywood institution over the years, but in the '90s, he was still known primarily for "Doogie Howser, M.D." — a series about a teenage genius who works as a medical doctor while trying to navigate the awkwardness of adolescence. Like many child stars, Harris' career floundered after his stint as Doogie. For the rest of the '90s, he guest starred on television, made some TV movies, and graced the big screen in a few movies, including "Starship Troopers."

After playing a drug-crazed, fictional version of himself in 2004's "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," Harris had a career renaissance and was cast as Barney Stinson in "How I Met Your Mother" the following year, marking his return to network TV stardom. "How I Met Your Mother" ended in 2014, but Harris has stayed very productive. Most recently, he added his talents to the cast of 2021's "The Matrix Resurrections" as a mysterious character IMDb calls "The Analyst."

In 2004, Harris met David Burtka and the two eventually started dating after a period of platonic friendship. Harris and his boyfriend had fraternal twins with a surrogate in 2010, and the long-time couple married in 2014 (per Us Magazine).

Amy Ryan

Playing a character called Libby McBain in one episode of "Quantum Leap" in 1991 was Amy Ryan's second acting credit, and certainly helped form the launching point for her notable career. Ryan went on to secure guest appearances in several series, including "Home Improvement" and "ER," before landing a six-episode story arc on "I'll Fly Away" in 1992. In '95 and '96, Ryan played Chloe Banks in "The Naked Truth" for 20 episodes. 

The 2000s was an especially good decade for Ryan. She played recurring roles in two of the era's definitive TV series, appearing in 20 episodes of "The Wire" as Beatrice Russell and in 17 episodes of "The Office" as Michael Scott love interest Holly Flax. Certainly, the biggest feather in Ryan's cap from the '00s would have to be her performance as Helene McCready — a mother whose daughter has gone missing in 2007's "Gone Baby Gone," which netted her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.

Throughout the 2010s and beyond, Ryan has predominantly worked in film, but she took a trip back to TV for Season 1 of Hulu's "Only Murders in the Building" co-starring Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin. 

Michael Madsen

Michael Madsen had already been in plenty of television series and movies before he was cast as a character named Blue in a 1989 episode of "Quantum Leap." Over the next decade, Madsen appeared in a pile of significant films, including "Thelma & Louise," "Mulholland Falls," and "Donnie Brasco." But his all-time biggest claim to fame is probably the first film he made with director Quentin Tarantino — 1992's "Reservoir Dogs," in which he played sadistic bank robber Mr. Blonde.

In the late '90s and early '00s, Madsen continued making movies and the occasional TV movie. In 2002, he joined the Bond franchise with a supporting role in "Die Another Day." He reunited with Tarantino, playing the downtrodden ex-assassin Budd in 2004's "Kill Bill: Vol 2." A regular collaborator with Tarantino, Madsen also popped up in "The Hateful Eight" and "Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood." Although Madsen predominantly acts in films, he occasionally works in TV or contributes voiceovers for video games.

Madsen has a mind-boggling 324 acting credits to his name. He's even been in children's films, such as "Free Willy" and its sequel.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt played a character named Kyle in a 1991 episode of "Quantum Leap" during his days as a child actor. After his role in the time-travel series, Gordon-Levitt starred in "The Powers That Be" before having a brief recurring role on "Roseanne." In 1996, he began playing Tommy Solomon in "3rd Rock from the Sun" for six seasons. During his stint as Tommy, Gordon-Levitt also made movies, most notably the teenage retelling of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," "10 Things I Hate About You," co-starring Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles.

After "3rd Rock from the Sun" ended, Gordon-Levitt continued making films and the occasional television series. He has made everything from small independent films like "Brick" to action movies, taking roles in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and "The Dark Knight Rises." Gordon-Levitt is also known for playing Tom in "500 Days of Summer," Arthur in "Inception," and Joe in the mind-twisting time-travel movie "Looper." In 2022, he played Uber founder Travis Kalanick in the Showtime anthology series "Super Pumped."

While he's primarily famous for acting, Gordon-Levitt has worked in various other capacities in the entertainment industry. In 2004, he started an online artist collaborative called HitRecord (via Polygon). He's also a producer, writer, and director. His made his feature-length directorial debut with the 2013 film "Don Jon," and he directed the bulk of the 2021 Apple TV+ series "Mr. Corman," in which he also starred. Outside of showbusiness, Gordon-Levitt became a father in 2015 and again in 2017 (via Today).