“Leaping about in time, I’ve found that there are some things in life that I can’t change,
and there are some things that I can.
To save a life, to change a heart, to make the right choice. I guess that’s what life’s about.”
—Sam in Quantum Leap
Scott Bakula is best known as the star of TV shows Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Enterprise, but he also has an impressive amount of work in many other areas of performing arts. He has worked on stage, on TV, in movies, and even sang on several albums and with the St. Louis Symphony. However, he will forever be remembered as Dr. Sam Beckett and Captain Jonathan Archer and his adventures in time in science fiction classics.
THE EARLY YEARS
Scott Bakula was born in St. Louis on October 9, 1954, and grew up in the suburb of Kirkwood. His early plans had him following in his father’s footsteps to become a lawyer, but the lure of the stage kept pulling him in a different direction.
He grew up in a musical family, where he sang and played musical instruments throughout his school years and performed in community theaters across the St. Louis area. His first big break came before heading off to college when he sang on stage in front of thousands of people with the St. Louis Symphony.
Bakula graduated from Kirkwood High School in 1973 then headed off to the University of Kansas to study law. He changed to major in theater but stayed at KU just a short time before he tried his luck as a full-time actor.
RISE TO FAME
Scott moved to New York in the mid-1970s, where he took stage-acting jobs to pay the bills. He was gaining valuable experience while impressing fellow actors and directors as a great actor and a great person. In 1983, he made his name on Broadway as Joe DiMaggio in Marilyn, An American Fable. As his reputation grew, Bakula appeared in plays across the country.
He appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Three Guys Naked from the Waist Down and in Nite Club Confidential. He once again returned to Broadway in Romance/Romance, where he won critical acclaim and solidified his reputation as one of the best actors in the industry.
SHOW ME SUCCESS
Bakula appeared regularly on TV around 1986 in shows like I-Man, Matlock, My Sister Sam, and Designing Women. But his true “big break” came when he landed the lead role on the new show Quantum Leap in 1989. The science fiction drama put him in front of millions of viewers each week, on the cover of magazines, and on the stage again, only this time accepting awards for his acting.
Quantum Leap lasted five years and earned him four Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a Drama Series, including a win in 1992. He also received four Emmy nominations for his work as Dr. Samuel Beckett. His Missouri roots also shined through with five consecutive honors for excellence by the Viewers for Quality Television organization.
When the series ended, Bakula continued working both in front of the camera and behind as a producer. Over the next decade, he starred in some of the biggest shows on television and in the theaters, which included the award-winning American Beauty in 1999. He forever endeared himself to his sci-fi fans when he landed a role as Captain Jonathan Archer with Star Trek: Enterprise in 2001. The show again became a hit for Bakula. When the series ended in 2005, Bakula took on starring roles in The New Adventures of Old Christine, American Body Shop, and Blue Smoke, which continues to make him one of the most bankable stars in Tinseltown.
*His feature film debut was in Sibling Rivalry in 1991, co-starring with Kristie Alley.
*Bakula was nominated for Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series in People’s Choice Awards in 2001.
* He received a Tony nomination in 1988 for his starring role in the Broadway musical Romance/Romance.