Randy Quaid

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Randy Quaid
Quaid in 2008
Randy Randall Rudy Quaid[1][2]

(1950-10-01) October 1, 1950 (age 73)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Houston
Years active1971–present
  • Ella Jolly
    (m. 1980; div. 1989)
  • Evi Motolanez
    (m. 1989)

Randy Randall Rudy Quaid[2] (born October 1, 1950) is an American actor known for his roles in both serious drama and light comedy.

He was nominated for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe 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).

He also received Emmy nominations for his roles in A Streetcar Named Desire (1984) and Elvis (2005). Quaid is also known for his roles of Cousin Eddie in the National Lampoon's Vacation movies and Russell Casse in Independence Day (1996). He voiced Alameda Slim in the animated feature Home on the Range (2004).

Early life and education

Quaid was born in Houston, Texas, to Juanita Bonniedale "Nita" (née Jordan), a real estate agent, and William Rudy Quaid (November 21, 1923 – February 8, 1987), an electrician.[3] Quaid has English, Scots-Irish, and Cajun ancestry.[4] Through his father, Quaid is a first cousin, twice removed, of cowboy performer Gene Autry.[5] Randy Quaid grew up in Bellaire, Texas,[6] 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.[7] 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.[7]

Acting career


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 (Cybill Shepherd) to a late-night indoor skinny-dip at a swimming pool. Other 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.[8] 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.

Quaid appeared opposite Charles Bronson in the 1975 action film of a Mexican prison escape Breakout, based on actual events. In 1976, he appeared opposite Marlon Brando in The Missouri Breaks. In 1978 Quaid had a supporting role in the Alan Parker drama Midnight Express, about Americans and an Englishman imprisoned in Turkey.[9]

In 1983, Quaid portrayed Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon's Vacation. Quaid appeared in four of the seven films in the National Lampoon's Vacation film series as the jovial redneck cousin (through marriage) to Beverly D'Angelo, wife of Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold. 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 had wanted to play Johnson since becoming an actor.[10] "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 Johnson'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.[10]

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. He also starred in Quick Change with Bill Murray in 1990, and was the lead in the comedies Martians Go Home and Cold Dog Soup, released the same year. In 1992, he played the monster in Frankenstein, opposite Patrick Bergin as Victor Frankenstein. 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."[7]

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 appeared in Vegas Vacation (1997), the fourth installment of the series, and was then 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.

Quaid was the voice of cattle rustler Alameda Slim in Disney's animated feature Home on the Range (2004), and had a pivotal supporting role in Brokeback Mountain (2005) as rancher Joe Aguirre. He played the King of Spain in Goya's Ghosts (2006). Quaid had a co-starring role in the Canadian independent comedy Real Time (2008), which opened the 2008 Slamdance Film Festival.[11] His acclaimed performance earned him a Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award.[12]

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.[13] 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 All You Can Eat (2018),[14] which premiered at the SOHO International Film Festival in June 2018.[15] 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".[16]


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).[17]

In 2005, he received Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award[18] nominations for his portrayal of Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in the critically acclaimed CBS television network miniseries Elvis.

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 & 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 William 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.

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."[19]

Music career

Quaid has performed musical work, primarily through his band Randy Quaid & The Fugitives. The group released its first single, "Star Whackers", in March 2011.[20] An accompanying film, Star Whackers, was premiered by the Quaids in Vancouver on April 23, 2011.[21]

Personal life


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."[22]

Quaid met Evi 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.[22] His brother Dennis, his future sister-in-law Meg Ryan, and his six-year-old daughter Amanda were in attendance.[23]

Legal issues

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.[24][25]

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.[26] However, they repeatedly failed to appear in court and warrants were issued for their arrest.[27] They eventually appeared in court the following year where the case was dismissed against 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.[28]

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 a forged signature. Warrants for their arrest were issued after they failed to appear in court, and as a result, they also forfeited their bail.[29]

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.[30][31][32] Border authorities arrested the couple for their outstanding warrants in the U.S. After they were granted bail, Quaid gave a press interview,[33] and later, the couple's asylum-seeking story was detailed in an article by Vanity Fair.[34][35] Quaid's wife Evi was granted Canadian citizenship in 2011, based on her parentage, and Quaid sought permanent resident status as the husband of a Canadian.[36] In January 2013, this request was denied.[37]

Quaid lived in Montreal beginning in 2013 and was briefly arrested for not checking in as a non-resident.[38] In 2014, the Quaids sued the U.S. State Department for revoking their passports in 2011.[39][40] By 2015, Quaid's legal appeals in Canada were exhausted, and he was notified he was to be deported.[41] 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,[42] whereupon the Quaids were released and allowed to remain in Vermont without conditions.[43] 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.[44] In principle, the Quaids were subject to arrest should he travel to another state, yet in 2017, they vacationed in California without incident. Quaid and his wife planned to make Vermont their permanent home, as his wife grew up there.[45]

Political views

After 2016, Quaid became an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, and later became a proponent of the disproven conspiracy theory that Trump's defeat in the 2020 United States presidential election was the result of widespread election fraud. Three weeks after the election, Trump, on his Twitter account, retweeted some of Quaid's video material claiming election fraud and wrote "Thank you Randy, working hard to clean up the stench of the 2020 Election Hoax!".[46]


Year Title Role Notes
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 Paper Moon Leroy
1973 Lolly-Madonna XXX Finch Feather
1974 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Virgil
1975 Breakout Hawk Hawkins
1976 Bound for Glory Luther Johnson
1976 The Missouri Breaks Little Tod
1977 The Choirboys Dean
1978 Midnight Express Jimmy Booth
1978 Three Warriors Ranger Quentin Hammond
1980 Guyana Tragedy Clayton Ritchie Television film
1980 The Long Riders Clell Miller
1980 Foxes Jay
1981 Heartbeeps Charlie
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 Johnson
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
1987 Sweet Country Juan
1988 Evil in Clear River Pete Suvak Television film[47]
1988 Moving Frank Crawford
Cornell Crawford
1988 Caddyshack II Peter Blunt
1988 Dead Solid Perfect Kenny Lee Television film
1989 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Cousin Eddie Johnson
1989 Bloodhounds of Broadway Feet Samuels
1989 Out Cold Lester
1989 Parents Nick Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
1990 Texasville Lester Marlow
1990 Quick Change Loomis
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)
1992 Frankenstein The Monster
1993 Freaked Elijah
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 The Paper Michael
1994 Next Door Lenny Television film
1994 Roommates Jim Flynn 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 Kingpin Ishmael
1996 Get on the Bus Tennessee State Trooper Uncredited
1997 Vegas Vacation Cousin Eddie Johnson
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 Debtors Unknown
1999 P.U.N.K.S. Pat Utley
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 Johnson
2003 Black Cadillac Charlie
2003 Grind Jock Jensen
2003 Carolina Ted
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 Voice
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[48]
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 All You Can Eat Gordon Nominated—Northeast Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Film


  1. ^ Kim, Susanna (November 17, 2010). "Randy and Evi Quaid Forfeit $1Million in Bail". ABC News. Archived from the original on September 5, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017. ... the Quaids, listed in their 2000 Los Angeles bankruptcy filing as Randall R. Quaid and Evzenya H. Quaid ...
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  4. ^ Stated in interview at Inside the Actors Studio.
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  10. ^ a b "Learning Respect for Texas' L.B.J.", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 28, 1987
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  19. ^ "Entertainment News & latest headlines from AOL". News.aol.com. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
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  21. ^ Hopper, Tristan (April 23, 2011). "Quaids unveil their bizarre 'Star Whackers' film at East Vancouver cinema". National Post. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
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  23. ^ "Actor Randy Quaid Secretly Married". San Francisco Chronicle. October 12, 1989. p. E6.
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  32. ^ "Actor Randy Quaid and wife claim asylum in Canada, Reuters, Allan Dowd, OCTOBER 23, 2010". Reuters. October 23, 2010. Archived from the original on October 14, 2018. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
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  48. ^ Stanley's Dinosaur Round-Up DVD Review Archived November 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved October 17, 2012

External links