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|Also Known As:||Scott Stewart Bakula||Died:|
|Born:||October 9, 1954||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||St. Louis, Missouri, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor singer producer director|
An accomplished Tony Award-nominated stage actor, Scott Bakula earned his loyal small screen following through his starring role as the time-traveling, identity-shifting protagonist of the sci-fi series "Quantum Leap" (NBC, 1989-1993). Bakula was occasionally featured in films, including comedies "Necessary Roughness" (1991) and acclaimed dramas "American Beauty" (1999) and "Life as a House" (2001), but his rugged, all-American looks and "everymen" appeal generally made him a better fit for television work. He spent two seasons sparring with "Murphy Brown" (CBS, 1988-1998) and commanded leading roles on the "Star Trek" offering "Enterprise" (UPN, 2001-05), and as Ray Romano's mid-life crisis buddy on "Men of a Certain Age" (TNT, 2009-). Bakula's versatility led to over two decades of steady screen success, where he was equally appealing as square-jawed men of authority or charming, sensitive dreamboats in both comedies and dramas.
Born Oct. 9, 1954 and raised the son of a lawyer in St. Louis, MO, Bakula caught the performing bug as a small child and later began playing piano and singing in a band. In high school, he split his time between athletics and starring turns in musical productions. He spent three years at the University of Kansas but quit to join a touring musical, and in 1976 moved to New York to begin his stage career in earnest. Bakula spent nearly a decade paying his dues in touring and off-Broadway musicals, making his Broadway debut in 1983 as Joe DiMaggio in the short-lived, critically derided stage musical, "Marilyn: An American Fable." He earned a much more positive reception two years later when he starred alongside Jerry Colker and John Kassir as aspiring comics in the off-Broadway success, "3 Guys Naked from the Waist Down." A move to Los Angeles the following year jumpstarted Bakula's career, and following his starring run onstage in "Night Club Confidential" (1986), he landed the recurring role of Annie Potts' ex-husband on CBS' "Designing Women" as well as appeared in the television movie, "I-Man" (ABC, 1986).
In short order, the sandy-haired Midwesterner became a recognizable face on television. With a personable charm and buff body that attracted females and an "everyman" quality relatable to men, Bakula was cast on back-to back series; first on the short-lived sitcom "Gung Ho" (ABC, 1986-87), based on the popular Ron Howard feature, and "Eisenhower and Lutz" (CBS, 1988), in which he played an ambulance-chasing lawyer. Back on Broadway, Bakula earned a Tony Award nomination for two roles - a Viennese rogue and a contemporary married man contemplating an affair - in the unique two-act musical, "Romance/Romance." Hot on the heels of his stage triumph, Bakula was cast in the leading role of a scientist who skips across decades but is unable to return to the present on the television drama, "Quantum Leap." In addition to sharing an entertaining comic chemistry with co-star Dean Stockwell as his advice-dispensing holographic mentor, Bakula gave a compelling showing of a time traveler who changes history in small ways before unexpectedly landing in another body, when he would utter his trademark phrase, "Oh, boy!"
While "Quantum Leap" proved a solid property for NBC, Bakula made the leap to features with Carl Reiner's "Sibling Rivalry" (1990), starring Kirstie Alley as the creatively-stifled wife of Bakula as a stuffy young doctor. His first leading role came in the predictable sports comedy, "Necessary Roughness" (1991), in which he played a 34-year-old former high school football star belatedly claiming his glory days. In 1993, with four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe win under his belt for "Quantum Leap," the series was cancelled amid the outcry of its cult-like following. After taking supporting roles in the lackluster "Color of Night" (1994), which teamed him with Bruce Willis as two psychologists, and a role as the token white guy in "My Family/Mi Familia" (1995), starring Jimmy Smits, his role as private-eye Harry D'Amour in Clive Barker's horror opus "Lord of Illusions" (1995) returned him to leading man status. Although intended as the first in a possible franchise, audiences seemingly preferred to watch genial actor Bakula on the small screen.
Bakula returned to primetime in a two-season-long recurring role as Candice Bergen's cocky boyfriend and rival reporter on the Emmy-winning sitcom, "Murphy Brown." He struck out in an attempt to find another well-matched leading TV role with the spy comedy-drama, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" (CBS, 1996), an early ratings casualty. Bakula starred as a washed-up baseball player yoked with a losing team in the predictable sports comedy sequel sans Charlie Sheen, "Major League: Back to the Minors" (1998), but upped his film credentials considerably with his supporting role as one-half of a suburban gay couple living next door to unhappily married Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening in the universally acclaimed, "American Beauty" (1999). He also starred that year in the ABC miniseries "Tom Clancy's NetForce" and delivered one of his better turns as a cynical, complex detective who rises above bigotry in Showtime's "Mean Streak." The CBS movie "In the Name of the People" (2000), however, cast him in the thankless role of a convicted killer who asks the parents of the child he murders to raise his daughter after his execution.
Alternating between film and television projects over the next few years, Bakula starred as the patriarch of a 1930s-era Appalachian family in the holiday telepic, "Papa's Angels" (CBS, 2000), and as a has-been actor staging a comeback by assuming a new identity in "Role of a Lifetime" (2001). He had a supporting role in the well-reviewed family drama "Life as a House" (2001), starring Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott-Thomas, and also played a philandering husband in the Showtime miniseries "A Girl Thing" (2001). Bakula's return to series television was in another sci-fi genre show, "Enterprise," the latest installment of the granddaddy of all sci-fi TV, "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69). As Capt. Jonathan Archer of the very first space-faring vessel to bear the name of the famous "Trek" starship (the series was set decades before the adventures of Kirk, Spock, et. al), Bakula proved a kinder, gentler figurehead than some of the previous skippers - his character even brought his dog aboard. While the actor routinely delivered thoughtful performances, the series failed to click with audiences as well as its predecessors and lasted four seasons, as opposed to the usual near decade-long runs of the latter-day "Trek" series.
After a long absence from the stage, Bakula starred in a production of the musical "Shenandoah" at Washington D.C.'s Ford's Theater in 2006. He also starred in another musical, "Dancing In The Dark," at Sand Diego's Old Globe Theater before raising his screen profile with a guest spot on "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08) and a recurring role on Tracey Ullman's sketch comedy series, "State of the Union" (Showtime, 2008- ). From a recurring role on NBC's "Chuck" (NBC, 2007- ) as the title character's long lost father, Bakula played an FBI agent opposite Matt Damon's executive-turned-whistleblower in the quirky critical favorite, "The Informant!" (2009), directed by Steven Soderbergh. Bakula even found time to appear as iconic musical theater character Nathan Detroit in a production of "Guys and Dolls" at the Hollywood Bowl. In the fall of 2009, Bakula joined series television yet again when he was cast alongside Andre Braugher and Ray Romano on the latter's "Men of a Certain Age" (TNT, 2009- ). Romano's highly anticipated first project since "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS, 1996-2005) had ended centered on three middle-aged former college buddies, with Bakula playing the most free-spirited but unstable of the bunch - an aspiring actor with a tendency to date younger women.
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