Quaid in 2008
October 1, 1950
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Houston|
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
(m. 1980; div. 1989)
He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award and an Academy Award for his role in The Last Detail in 1973. In 1978 he co-starred as a prisoner in Midnight Express. Quaid also won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson in LBJ: The Early Years (1987).
Early years and education
Quaid was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Juanita Bonniedale "Nita" (née Jordan), a real estate agent, and William Rudy Quaid (November 21, 1923 – February 8, 1987), an electrician. Quaid has English, Scots-Irish, and Cajun ancestry. Through his father, Quaid is a first cousin, twice removed, of cowboy performer Gene Autry. Randy Quaid grew up in Bellaire, Texas, a small city surrounded by Houston, and in southwest Houston. He is the older brother of actor Dennis Quaid.
In high school, he took a class in drama on a whim, although he didn't expect he would enjoy the lectures. After the third day, however, he was captivated by the course and decided to make acting his professional goal. He continued studying acting at the University of Houston. During one course, his teacher sent him to audition for Peter Bogdanovich, who was casting for The Last Picture Show, and Quaid won the role in what became his debut film.
Randy Quaid has appeared in over 90 films. Peter Bogdanovich discovered him when Quaid was a student at the University of Houston, and he received his first exposure in Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show. His character escorts Jacy Farrow (played by Cybill Shepherd) to a late-night indoor skinny-dip at a swimming pool. It was the first of several roles directed by Bogdanovich and/or based on the writings of Larry McMurtry. Other Peter Bogdanovich films he appeared in are What's Up, Doc? and Paper Moon.
Quaid's first major critically acclaimed role was in The Last Detail (1973). He played Larry Meadows, a young United States Navy sailor on his way to serve a harsh sentence for petty theft. Jack Nicholson starred as a sailor assigned to transport him to prison. Quaid was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, and a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. In 1976, he played opposite Marlon Brando in The Missouri Breaks. In 1978 Quaid had a supporting role in the Alan Parker true-life drama, Midnight Express, about Americans and an Englishman imprisoned in Turkey.
Quaid acted opposite Charles Bronson in the 1975 action film of a Mexican prison escape Breakout, based on actual events. Quaid was also the lead in the comedy Martians Go Home and Cold Dog Soup and played the King of Spain in Goya's Ghosts.
In 1987 he won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in LBJ: The Early Years. Quaid said that he always wanted to play LBJ since he became an actor. There was a physical resemblance between Quaid and Johnson, since they are both very tall and from Texas. "I responded to him and his wants and needs in a way I've never done with any other character," he said. Quaid also tried to portray what he learned were L.B.J.'s political attitude:
He was on the side of the people; he did a lot for racial equality; he had the ability to look at both sides of an issue and bring two opposing sides together; he was a man of great heart and compassion ... He thought he could handle the Viet Cong the way he handled people in Texas. He thought he could reason with them. But he had no understanding of them or their culture.
In 1992 he played the monster in Frankenstein, filmed in Poland and the U.K. Quaid said "I wanted to make the monster not just a monster, but a disfigured man. I wanted to emphasize the human qualities. He is basically struggling for equal rights. He wants anything any man would want." Quaid had starring roles in the 1996 film Kingpin, where he played the Amish bowler Ishmael, as well as a role as pilot in the blockbuster science fiction film Independence Day, released the same year. He previously starred in Quick Change with Bill Murray in 1990. Quaid also appeared in four of the seven films in the National Lampoon's Vacation film series as Cousin Eddie, jovial redneck relative (through marriage) to Beverly D'Angelo, wife of Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold.
Shortly after appearing in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, the third installment of the series, Quaid was featured in Days of Thunder (1990) as NASCAR car owner and successful car salesman Tim Daland, a determined businessman who expects his team to be top-notch for fans and sponsors. Quaid was given the lead role in a Vacation spin-off, a made-for-television film National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure (2003), which marks his final appearance in the franchise to date. He had a pivotal supporting role in Brokeback Mountain (2005) as insensitive rancher Joe Aguirre. Quaid had a co-starring role in the Canadian independent comedy Real Time (2008), which opened the 2008 Slamdance Film Festival. His acclaimed performance earned him a Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award.
Following his work in the direct-to-video comedy Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach (2009), Quaid's legal troubles prevented him from working for almost a decade. Quaid was not asked to reprise the role of Cousin Eddie in Vacation (2015), although the character is verbally referenced. He returned to performing with Rob Margolies' weight loss comedy Weight (2018), which premiered at the SOHO International Film Festival in June 2018. After the film's September 2018 screening at the Northeast Film Festival, Quaid was nominated for their award for "Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Film".
In 1981 Quaid co-starred in the two part television film adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, playing the character of Lenny. Quaid's other television appearances include a season as a Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast member (1985–1986), the role of gunslinger John Wesley Hardin in the miniseries Streets of Laredo and starring roles in the short-lived series The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire (2003) and Davis Rules (1991–1992).
He was featured in the highly rated television films Category 6: Day of Destruction (2004) and Category 7: The End of the World (2005) and starred in Last Rites, a made-for-cable Starz/Encore! premiere movie. Quaid voiced the character Colonel Sanders in radio and television commercials for fast-food restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken. Quaid's voice-over work also included Capitol One Credit Card, US Air, Miller Beer and a guest role in The Ren and Stimpy Show (as Anthony's father in the second-season episode, "A Visit to Anthony"). He narrated the 2006 PBS series Texas Ranch House.
In 2004, Quaid appeared on stage undertaking the starring role of Frank in the world premiere of Sam Shepard's The God of Hell, produced by the New School University at the Actors Studio Drama School in New York. In The God of Hell, Quaid's portrayal of Frank, a Wisconsin dairy farmer whose home is infiltrated by a dangerous government operative who wants to take over his farm, was well-received and -reviewed by New York City's top theatre critics. It marked the second time that Quaid starred in a Shepard play, the first being the long running Broadway hit True West.
In February 2008, a five-member hearing committee of Actors' Equity Association, the labor union representing American stage actors, banned Quaid for life and fined him more than $81,000. The charges that brought the sanctions originated in a Seattle production of Lone Star Love, a Western-themed adaptation of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, in which Quaid played the lead role of Falstaff. The musical was scheduled to come to Broadway, but producers cancelled it.
According to the New York Post, all 26 members of the musical cast brought charges that Quaid "physically and verbally abused his fellow performers" and that the show closed rather than continuing to Broadway because of Quaid's "oddball behavior". Quaid's lawyer, Mark Block, said the charges were false, and that one of the complaining actors had said the action was driven by "the producers who did not want to give Randy his contractual rights to creative approval ... or financial participation ..." Block said that Quaid had left the union before the musical started, making the ban moot, and that Quaid only participated in the hearing because he wanted due process. Quaid's statement on the charges was "I am guilty of only one thing: giving a performance that elicited a response so deeply felt by the actors and producers with little experience of my creative process that they actually think I am Falstaff."
Quaid has performed musical work, primarily through his band Randy Quaid & The Fugitives. The group released its first single, "Star Whackers", in March 2011. An accompanying film, Star Whackers, was premiered by the Quaids in Vancouver on April 23, 2011.
Quaid was married to Ella Marie Jolly, a former model, on May 11, 1980 and they had a daughter, Amanda Marie, born May 29, 1983. They were separated on September 9, 1986 and divorced on August 24, 1989. He said of their split, "I went through this delayed adolescent thing. I didn't want to be tied down to a family."
Quaid met Evi Quaid (née Motolanez) in December 1987 on the set of the film, Bloodhounds of Broadway, in which Madonna starred. They wed on October 5, 1989 at the San Ysidro Ranch, a Montecito, California resort. His brother Dennis, actress Meg Ryan, and Randy's six-year-old daughter Amanda were in attendance.
In 2006, Quaid, who acted in Brokeback Mountain, sued the producers for misrepresenting the film as "a low-budget, art house film with no prospect of making money" in order to secure Quaid's professional acting services at below-market rates.
In 2009, Quaid and his wife were arrested for allegedly defrauding an innkeeper in Santa Barbara by using an invalid credit card to pay a $10,000 bill. The two were released on bail that evening and subsequently paid most of the bill. However, they repeatedly failed to appear in court and warrants were issued for their arrest. They eventually appeared in court the following year where the case was dismissed against Randy Quaid for lack of evidence. His wife, Evi, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of fraud and was placed on probation for three years in addition to having to spend 240 hours in community service.
In September 2010 Quaid and his wife were charged with burglary after they spent five days occupying the guest house in a vacant home they once owned in Santa Barbara. The Quaids claimed that the home was wrongfully transferred to a third party by the use of the forged signature. Warrants for their arrest were issued after they failed to appear in court, and as a result, they also forfeited their bail.
In October 2010, Quaid and his wife moved to Vancouver, Canada, where they sought asylum protections under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, stating that they feared for their lives in the United States. Border authorities arrested the couple for their outstanding warrants in the U.S. After they were granted bail, Quaid gave a press interview, and later, the couple's asylum-seeking story was detailed in an article by U.S. magazine Vanity Fair. Quaid's wife Evi was granted Canadian citizenship in 2011, based on her parentage, and Randy sought permanent resident status as the husband of a Canadian. In January 2013, this request was denied.
Quaid lived in Montreal beginning in 2013 and was briefly arrested for not checking in as a non-resident. In 2014, the Quaids sued the State Department for revoking their passports in 2011. By 2015, Quaid's legal appeals in Canada were exhausted, and he was notified he was to be deported. One week prior to the deportation date, the couple drove across the Canadian border into Vermont, where they were detained by U.S. Customs. The couple were detained pending an extradition procedure ordered by the State of California.
On review of the State of California's case, the Vermont judge found irregularities, and voided the extradition request, whereupon the Quaids were released and allowed to remain in Vermont without conditions. With his lawyer at his side, Quaid asserted in a press conference that the reason he was released was that the California judge had issued an arrest warrant before the alleged crime had been committed. In principle, the Quaids were subject to arrest should he travel to another state, yet in 2017, they vacationed in California without incident. He and his wife plan to make Vermont their permanent home since his wife grew up there.
|1971||The Last Picture Show||Lester Marlow|
|1972||What's Up, Doc?||Professor Hosquith|
|1973||The Last Detail||Meadows||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor|
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
|1973||Lolly-Madonna XXX||Finch Feather|
|1974||The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz||Virgil|
|1976||Bound for Glory||Luther Johnson|
|1976||The Missouri Breaks||Little Tod|
|1978||Midnight Express||Jimmy Booth|
|1978||Three Warriors||Ranger Quentin Hammond|
|1980||Guyana Tragedy||Clayton Ritchie||Television film|
|1980||The Long Riders||Clell Miller|
|1981||Of Mice and Men||Lenny Small||Television film|
|1982||Inside the Third Reich||Putzi Hanfstaengl||Television film|
|1983||National Lampoon's Vacation||Cousin Eddie|
|1984||The Wild Life||Charlie|
|1984||A Streetcar Named Desire||Harold 'Mitch' Mitchell||Television film|
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
|1985||Fool for Love||Martin|
|1985–1991||Saturday Night Live||Various||TV series (19 episodes)|
|1985||The Slugger's Wife||Moose Granger|
|1986||The Wraith||Sheriff Loomis|
|1987||LBJ: The Early Years||Lyndon Baines Johnson||Television film|
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
|1987||No Man's Land||Vincent Bracey|
|1988||Caddyshack II||Peter Blunt|
|1988||Dead Solid Perfect||Kenny Lee||Television film|
|1989||National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation||Cousin Eddie|
|1989||Bloodhounds of Broadway||Feet Samuels|
|1989||Parents||Nick||Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead|
|1990||Days of Thunder||Tim Daland|
|1990||Martians Go Home||Mark Devereaux|
|1990||Cold Dog Soup||Jack Cloud|
|1991||Heavy Fuel (Dire Straits)||Stagehand||Music Video|
|1991–1992||Davis Rules||Dwight Davis||TV series (29 episodes)|
|1993||Curse of the Starving Class||Taylor|
|1993||The Ren & Stimpy Show||Anthony's dad||TV series (1 episode: "A Visit to Anthony")|
|1994||Major League II||Johnny||Uncredited|
|1994||Next Door||Lenny||Television film|
|1995||Bye Bye Love||Vic Damico|
|1995||Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Lightning||Detective Steve Carella|
|1996||Last Dance||Sam Burns|
|1996||Moonshine Highway||Sheriff Wendell Miller||Television film|
|1996||The Siege at Ruby Ridge||Randy Weaver||Television film|
|1996||Independence Day||Russell Casse|
|1996||Get on the Bus||Tennessee State Trooper||Uncredited|
|1997||Vegas Vacation||Cousin Eddie|
|1998||Hard Rain||Mike Collins|
|1998||Bug Buster||George Merlin|
|1998||Sands of Eden||Lenny||Television film|
|1999||Last Rites||Jeremy Dillon|
|1999||Purgatory||Doc Woods/Doc Holiday||Television film|
|1999||The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns||Jack Woods||Television film|
|2000||The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle||Cappy von Trapment|
|2001||Not Another Teen Movie||Mr. Briggs|
|2002||The Adventures of Pluto Nash||Bruno|
|2002||Frank McKlusky, C.I.||Madman McKlusky|
|2003||Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure||Cousin Eddie|
|2003||Kart Racer||Vic Davies|
|2003||The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire||Chief Hank Shaw||TV series (7 episodes)|
|2003||Milwaukee, Minnesota||Jerry James|
|2004||Home on the Range||Alameda Slim|
|2004||Category 6: Day of Destruction||Tornado Tommy Dixon|
|2005||Brokeback Mountain||Joe||Nominated—Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast|
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|2005||Elvis||Colonel Tom Parker||Television film|
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
|2005||The Ice Harvest||Bill|
|2005||Category 7: The End of the World||Tornado Tommy Dixon|
|2006||Stanley's Dinosaur Round-Up||Rockin' Rory||Voice|
|2006||Goya's Ghosts||King Carlos IV|
|2006||Treasure Island Kids: The Battle for Treasure Island||Captain Flint|
|2008||Real Time||Reuban||Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film|
|2009||Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach||Coach Lou Tuttle|
|2011||Star Whackers||Himself||Screened in 2011, but not yet commercially released; also producer|
|2018||Weight||Gordon||Nominated—Northeast Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Film|
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... the Quaids, listed in their 2000 Los Angeles bankruptcy filing as Randall R. Quaid and Evzenya H. Quaid ...
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