Scott Bakula has been a time-traveling hero in “Quantum Leap,” Captain Jonathan Archer in “Star Trek: Enterprise,” and the Special Agent in Charge on “NCIS: New Orleans,” but throughout the past 30 years, his best performance has been as one of Hollywood’s most admired, underrated artists.
Bakula is renowned for his ability to capture comedy, charm, melancholy, and powerful, compassionate heroes with a sparkle in their eye.
On “Leap,” the multi-talented actor adopted a new persona each week, resolving conflicts and making things right before leaping into a new life to start over. The endearing sci-fi show consistently attracted committed viewers and displayed Bakula’s range of abilities.
Although Bakula is many things, he is not Dracula. How well do you know Scott Bakula? He may be one of the strong, sensitive leading men on television’s Mount Rushmore.
Some celebrities have physical peculiarities that aren’t immediately apparent yet can’t be disregarded, such as Tom Cruise’s center tooth or Megan Fox’s toe thumb. As well, Scott Bakula is present.
He was recognized for having mop-like hair, an old-fashioned, gruff appearance, and a white streak over his brow before it became grey.
In an interview given in 2010 to promote “Men Of A Certain Age,” Bakula claimed that he had the streak since he was four years old and that it had given him a nickname.
“I had a white stripe in the front of my hair,” he explained. “I had references to ‘grandpa,’ skunk, and stinky, as well as Dracula.”
Despite the obnoxious nicknames, he claims the white streak helped him.
“I went through hell,” he admitted in 2002. “It did, however, strengthen me.” It gave Bakula a distinct look that fans have come to appreciate. His white streak has a Facebook page.
The lengthy career in television and cinema that Scott Bakula has had wasn’t always planned. In 2008, he declared, “I never wanted to be on television or in a movie.” “Theatre is my first love.”
At the age of 22, Bakula, a native of St. Louis, relocated to New York to seek a career in theater. Seven years later, in “Marilyn: An American Fable,” he played Joe DiMaggio. In Los Angeles and Boston, “Three Guys Naked From The Waist Down” and “Nightclub Confidential” followed. “Romance/Romance,” a 1988 Broadway musical in which he played Alfred, a wealthy playboy who falls in love while posing as a poet.
Bakula’s theatrical abilities earned him performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center Honors, and the Hollywood Bowl. He voiced Danny the Cat in Warner Bros.’ animated musical “Cats Don’t Dance” in 1997. Bakula appeared in the 2007 musical “No Strings!” in Los Angeles.
Bakula rose to prominence in the mid-1980s with roles in “Marilyn: An American Fable,” “Three Naked Guys,” and “Nightclub Confidential,” all of which starred his wife, Krista Neumann. Bakula’s agent, Maggie Henderson, suggested he audition for television.
“I gained some traction, and then; fortunately, I did a Disney Sunday Night ABC movie that was due out in the winter. It was time to go,” he said in an interview in 2000.
“My concert was a success here. It got a lot of attention, so I joined “Designing Women” early on and did the pilot and a few regular roles. But I waited and waited and finally got this show.”
On New Year’s Day 1986, he was cast in the short-lived TV adaptation of Michael Keaton’s “Gung Ho” in Los Angeles. In “Romance/Romance,” he was nominated for a Tony. He landed the role that would make him famous after returning to Los Angeles: Sam Beckett in “Quantum Leap.”
He returned to New York during the writers’ strike and performed in a Broadway musical. “I returned with ‘Quantum.’ So I assumed the company would find me.”
Scott Bakula rarely appears in paparazzi images, the back pages, or the gossip section because he dislikes self-promotion.
“Nowadays, the world is full of people who want to be famous,” he observed in 2017. “That’s nice, but I’ve never been interested.”
Bakula is a reserved actor who avoids discussing his personal life in interviews.
“People Magazine wanted to interview me at my house for a hundred million years,” he said while promoting “NCIS: New Orleans” in 2016. “Where do you draw the line?”
Prior to their 1995 divorce and 2009 marriage to actress Chelsea Field, Scott Bakula and Neumann had two children together. His daughter Chelsy, who dated Prince Harry, wants to be an actress.
Bakula jokes that he isn’t a bigger celebrity because he doesn’t promote himself. “That is my professional issue!”
To seek a career in television, Bakula relocated to Los Angeles with his then-wife and kid. Although his performance in “Quantum Leap” launched his acting career, it takes time to prepare for an hour-long weekly drama, so he remained away from home for the majority of its five-year run.
Bakula acknowledges that the event damaged his marriage and his family. He promised to set priorities after regretting missing his daughter’s “formative years” in 2015.
He said, “It took me a long time to understand how I felt about our connection. It requires work and emphasizes remaining present in a marriage,
During the protracted discussions to join “Star Trek: Enterprise” in 2001, Bakula avoided making the same errors he had done in the past.
“I had it written into my contract that I would be done by six o’clock every Wednesday so I could be home for dinner,” Bakula, who was married to Field, recalls. “I coached my sons’ baseball and soccer teams.”
“Playgirl” features Scott Bakula, who has starred in famous TV shows.
He occasionally took off his shirt once per episode on “Quantum Leap,” but the venerable beefcake magazine went far further.
Since his “Playgirl” cover in March 1995, Bakula has been proud of his LGBTQ fanbase. He played a gay Hollywood producer in Steven Soderbergh’s 2013 Liberace movie “Behind the Candelabra,” where he introduced Matt Damon’s character to Liberace (Michael Douglas), with whom he had a protracted romance. Bakula was given the role of Lynn in the HBO LGBT series “Looking” a year later.
In a 2014 interview, Bakula discussed LGBTQ support. “I’ve always had gay supporters. Thank you,” he replied. “I’m grateful for my career, which has allowed me to do various things and reach many people. We believe we are universal and can move freely while still being accepted as performers.”
Bakula’s “Quantum Leap” character Sam Beckett was more than just a hero; he was a relatable everyman who was motivated by morals. Bakula is comparable to Sam Beckett in real life.
Bakula, one of the nicest people in Hollywood, has only been chastised for his thick New Orleans accent on “NCIS.” “If the worst thing that can be said about you in Hollywood circles is how bad your accent is, then you must be doing something right,” one critic opined.
During a visit to pal Bob Saget’s podcast “Here For You” in 2021, the two recalled an incident on the set of the legendary “Leap” episode “Stand-Up” (Season 4, Episode 21), in which Saget guest starred.
Saget asserts that Bakula intervened in a scene by yelling “cut” when he saw a knife blade sticking out of a prop that an actor might trip over. Bakula made things right, just like his character Sam Beckett.
Though it is comforting to believe that good things come to good people, Scott Bakula hasn’t always performed admirably in his jobs.
Bakula tried out for “Saturday Night Live,” but he bombed so badly that he kept the audition a secret for years.
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy had infamous, half-baked music careers after their “Star Trek” stardom in the late 1960s. Before Hollywood, Bakula, unlike Kirk and Spock, was a gifted singer, songwriter, and theatrical actor. Bakula considers music, like theater, his “first love,” He regularly plays the piano and sings.
Bakula sang “Once Upon a Time” to Candice Bergen in an episode of “Boston Legal” with William Shatner in 2008. In several “Quantum Leap” episodes, he sang, danced, and played the piano, including writing and performing all of the songs in “Piano Man” (Season 3, Episode 15).
“I’m not as good as I’d like to be,” he admitted in 2020. “I’m a liar. New Orleans in particular.”
The multi-talented actor has accomplished much in his long career, but long-term success eluded him until recently.
“Quantum Leap” aired for nearly five years, but NBC kept it on the air primarily because it believed in it, even aired it twice every night in primetime.
“Star Trek: Enterprise” struggled to find viewers after its first season and was constantly on the verge of cancellation.
Bakula joined “NCIS: New Orleans” in 2014, and the procedural drama eventually propelled him past the 100-episode mark, but not without some tense moments for the series’ actor and producer.
Early in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic started, making it difficult for Bakula to film the last season in New Orleans. After being elevated to a main cast member, Fields was able to move to be with her lover.
On Rachael Ray in 2018, Bakula stated, “I like working with her.” She improves me as an actress because she puts in more effort and is more thorough than I am… When you work with your wife, it goes pretty well.
The series and Bakula and Field’s happy ending came a year later. In May 2021, “NCIS: New Orleans” came to a close with Bakula and Field renewing their vows and Dwayne Pride and Rita Devereaux getting hitched.