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Randall Rudy "Randy" Quaid (born October 1, 1950) is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for his roles in the National Lampoons Vacation movies, Independence Day (1996), Kingpin (1996), Brokeback Mountain (2005), and the CBS miniseries Elvis (2005). He has won the Golden Globe Award, and has been nominated for the Academy Award, Emmy Award and BAFTA Award.

Personal life

Randy Quaid was born in Houstonmarker, Texasmarker, the son of Juanita Bonniedale "Nita" (née Jordan), a real estate agent, and William Rudy Quaid, an electrician. He is the older brother of actor Dennis Quaid. Quaid is married to former Helmut Newton model Evi Quaid. Randy attended Pershing Middle School and Bellaire High School.

On September 24, 2009, Quaid and his wife were arrested in Texas for allegedly defrauding an inn-keeper, burglary and conspiracy, stemming from a $10,000 dispute at a Santa Barbara, California hotel. The couple was released on bail later that evening. After skipping out on their third court date which was scheduled for Thursday October 29th, the Santa Barbara District Attorney's Office filed bench warrants for their arrest and extradition from Texas.

Feature films

In a career that spans over 37 years, he has appeared in over 90 movies. Peter Bogdanovich discovered him when Quaid was a student at the University of Houstonmarker in Houston, Texas. He received his first exposure in The Last Picture Show. His character escorts Jacy Farrow (played by Cybill Shepherd) to late-night indoor skinny dipping at a swimming pool. It was the first of several roles he has had which were directed by Bogdanovich and/or based on the writings of Larry McMurtry.

Quaid's first major role was in the critically acclaimed seventies film The Last Detail. He played a young US Navy sailor on his way to serve a harsh sentence for stealing $40 from an Admiral's wife's pet charity. Jack Nicholson played the Navy sailor assigned to transport him to prison. Nicholson's character eventually becomes his friend and mentor, helping him experience different aspects of life before he goes behind bars.

Quaid was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA and an Academy Award for his role in The Last Detail (1973). He was also nominated for an Emmy and won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in LBJ: The Early Years. He was featured (with Margaret Colin) in two science fiction movies, the unsuccessful Martians Go Home and very successful Independence Day. Other movies include Kingpin, where he played the lovable Amish bowler Ishmael, alongside Woody Harrelson and Weird Science's (the television version) cast member Vanessa Angel, a loser father in Not Another Teen Movie and an obnoxious neighbor to Richard Pryor's character in Moving. He played the lead role in the HBO movie Dead Solid Perfect as a golfer trying to make it on the PGA Tour. He proved quite popular and likable in the National Lampoon Vacation movies as Cousin Eddie to Chevy Chase's Clark W. Griswold.

In 2005, Quaid starred as Bill Geurrard in The Ice Harvest. His chilling portrayal of a Kansas City mob boss was voted as one of the top ten film gangsters of all-time in a UK poll; the number one slot went to Marlon Brando.

Quaid had a pivotal supporting role in the Academy Award-winning drama Brokeback Mountain (2005) in which he played an insensitive rancher whose two male employees are the movie's main characters. On March 23, 2006, Quaid filed a lawsuit for $10 million plus punitive damages against Focus Features, Del Mar Productions, James Schamus and David Linde, alleging that they both intentionally and negligently misrepresented Brokeback Mountain as being, "a low-budget, art house film with no prospect of making any money" in order to secure Quaid's professional acting services at a considerably lower rate than his typical fee. The film then grossed over $160 million. On May 5, 2006, Quaid dropped his lawsuit after he was advised that a financial resolution would be made.

In 2007, Quaid portrayed King Carlos IV in Goya's Ghosts, a role for which he learned to play the violin, and he starred in the comedy Ball’s Out: The Gary Houseman Story (2008) alongside Seann William Scott.


Quaid received both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his 2005 portrayal of talent manager Colonel Tom Parker in the critically acclaimed CBS television network mini-series Elvis. Quaid's other television appearances include a season as a Saturday Night Live cast member (1985–1986), the role of real-life 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), as well as the two part TV film adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, playing the character of Lenny. He was featured in the highly-rated TV movies Category 6: Day of Destruction and Category 7: The End of the World and starred in Last Rites, a made-for-cable Starz/Encore! premiere movie.

Quaid also voiced the animated Colonel Sanders character in radio and television commercial for fast-food restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken. Quaid's voice-over work also included a guest role in The Ren and Stimpy Show (as Anthony's father in the second season episode, "A Visit to Anthony").


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 Wisconsinmarker 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 Citymarker's top theatre critics. It also 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 which represents 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 Broadwaymarker, 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 completely false, and that one of the complaining actors had said the action was actually driven by "the producers who did not want to give Randy his contractual rights to creative approval ... or financial participation ..." Block also said that Quaid had left the union before the musical started, making the ban moot, and that Quaid had only participated in the hearing because he wanted due process. Quaid's own 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."


Recurring characters on SNL

  • The Floating Head: A Rod Serling-esque character in The Twilight Zone parody, "The Limits of the Imagination"
  • Rudy Randolph, Jr.: A pitchman dressed as a cowboy who sells irregular merchandise (e.g., furniture from the Gulf Coast that smells like dead bodies) or treasures from dictators (e.g., Ferdinand Marcos's clothes). Often paired with Rudy Randolph III (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) The name is a spin on Quaid's real name.

Celebrity impersonations


  1. Randy Quaid Biography (1950-)
  3. Union Curtain Falls on 'Oddball' Quaid - AOL News
  4. [1]

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