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Dennis Quaid

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Title: Dennis Quaid  
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Subject: Far from Heaven, List of actors who played President of the United States, Enemy Mine (film), Frequency (film), Horsemen (film)
Collection: 1954 Births, 20Th-Century American Male Actors, 21St-Century American Male Actors, American Aviators, American Male Film Actors, American Male Television Actors, American Male Voice Actors, American People of English Descent, American People of French Descent, American People of Irish Descent, Bellaire High School (Bellaire, Texas) Alumni, Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead Winners, Living People, Male Actors from Houston, Texas, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Screen Actors Guild Award Winners, University of Houston Alumni
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Dennis Quaid

Dennis Quaid
Born Dennis William Quaid
(1954-04-09) April 9, 1954
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater University of Houston
Occupation Actor
Years active 1975–present
Children Jack Henry Quaid
Thomas Boone Quaid
Zoe Grace Quaid
Relatives Randy Quaid (brother)

Dennis William Quaid (born April 9, 1954) is an American actor known for a wide variety of dramatic and comedic roles. First gaining widespread attention in the 1980s, his career rebounded in the 1990s after he overcame an addiction to drugs and an eating disorder. Some of his notable credits include Breaking Away, The Right Stuff, Wyatt Earp, The Rookie, The Day After Tomorrow, Traffic, Vantage Point, Footloose, Frequency, The Parent Trap, Yours Mine and Ours and Soul Surfer. For his role in Far from Heaven (2002) he won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Awards 3
  • Personal life 4
    • Relationships and children 4.1
    • Interests 4.2
    • Substance use 4.3
  • Charities 5
  • Filmography 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Early life

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.[1] He is the younger brother of actor Randy Quaid. Quaid has English, Scots-Irish, and Cajun (French) ancestry.[2] Through his father, Quaid is a first cousin, twice removed, of cowboy performer Gene Autry.[3] The Quaid brothers grew up in Bellaire, Texas, which is a small city surrounded by Houston, and in southwest Houston. He attended Paul W. Horn Elementary School in Bellaire, and Pershing Middle School in Houston. He studied Mandarin and dance at Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas, and later in college, at the University of Houston, under drama coach Cecil Pickett, who had previously taught at Bellaire High and whose daughter is actress Cindy Pickett. It was during his time at Bellaire High School that he developed the nickname 'Dennis Quand', (a combination of 'Quaid' and 'Bond') in relation to his obsession with the 007 film character and was regularly referred to by this name.


Quaid dropped out of the University of Houston before graduating and moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career of his own.[2] He initially had trouble finding work but began to gain notice when he appeared in Breaking Away (1979) and earned good reviews for his role in The Right Stuff (1983).[2]

Known for his grin,[4] Quaid has appeared in both comedic and dramatic roles.[2] Quaid had starring roles in the films Enemy Mine (1985), Innerspace (1987) and The Big Easy (1987). He also achieved acclaim for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls of Fire! (1989).[2] In 1989, he also appeared throughout the Bonnie Raitt music video for the song "Thing Called Love."[5]

Quaid's career lost steam in the early 1990s, after he fought anorexia nervosa brought on when he lost 40 pounds to play Doc Holliday in Wyatt Earp[6] and kicked a cocaine addiction as well.[2] He continued to garner positive reviews in a variety of films, however.[2] Quaid was also the guest star of a season 2 episode of Muppets Tonight (1997). He starred in the lead role in the 1996 adventure film Dragonheart, the remake of The Parent Trap (1998), playing the part of the twins' father, and as an aging pro football quarterback in Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday (1999). Some of Quaid's more recent film credits include Frequency (2000), The Rookie (2002), Far from Heaven (2002), Cold Creek Manor (2003), The Flight of the Phoenix (2004), The Alamo (2004), In Good Company (2004), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Yours, Mine and Ours (2005), Vantage Point (2008), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), and Pandorum (2009).

In 2009, Quaid guest starred in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, playing Mr. Krabs' grandfather, Captain Redbeard.

He portrayed U.S. President Bill Clinton, alongside Michael Sheen as Tony Blair and Hope Davis as Hillary Clinton, in the 2010 film The Special Relationship.

In 2012 and 2013, Quaid played Sheriff Ralph Lamb in the CBS TV drama series Vegas.


Quaid at the 2009 Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards

For his role in Far from Heaven (2002) he won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male. He received nominations for Best Supporting Actor from the Golden Globe Awards, the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Quaid was also honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, the University of Houston, in April 2012.

Personal life

Relationships and children

Quaid golfing in 2006

Quaid has been married three times and has three children.

Quaid and his first wife, actress P. J. Soles, were married on November 25, 1978. The couple were divorced on January 23, 1983.

On February 14, 1991, Quaid married actress Meg Ryan. Quaid and Ryan have a son, Jack Henry (born April 24, 1992). They were divorced on July 16, 2001. In a 2008 interview with Insight, Ryan stated, "Dennis was not faithful to me for a very long time, and that was very painful. I found out more about that after I was divorced."[7]

Quaid dated model Shanna Moakler in 2001. They were together when she was approached by Playboy, and they discussed it before she posed nude in the magazine, which she publicly announced in W magazine as "embarrassing."[8] The relationship lasted for eight months.[9]

Quaid married Texas real-estate agent Kimberly Buffington, on July 4, 2004, at his ranch in Paradise Valley, Montana.[10] They have fraternal twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, born via gestational carrier on November 8, 2007, in Santa Monica, California.[11][12]

On November 18, 2007, hospital staff mistakenly gave Quaid's ten-day-old twins a dosage of heparin 1,000 times the common dosage for infants.[13][14] Their attorney said the newborns will "be fine now," but Quaid filed a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer, Baxter Healthcare, claiming that packaging for the two doses of heparin are not different enough.[15] In May 2008, the Quaids testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asking U.S. Congress not to preempt the right to sue drug manufacturers for negligence under state law.[16]

Buffington filed for divorce from Quaid in March 2012. According to the divorce petition, the marriage had "become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities."[17] Buffington's attorney then withdrew the divorce papers on April 26, 2012.[18] In the summer of 2012, Quaid and Buffington moved to California.[19] In October 2012, Quaid and Buffington again decided to separate, and Buffington filed for legal separation, seeking joint legal and sole physical custody of the twins.[20] After waiting to establish the required six months of residency in California, Quaid filed for divorce on November 30, 2012, asking for joint legal and physical custody of the children and offering to pay spousal support to Buffington.[19] They have since reconciled and the divorce was dismissed with prejudice in the spring of 2013.[21]


Quaid was raised in the Baptist faith.[22][23]

In addition to acting, Quaid is a musician and plays with his band, the Sharks. He wrote and performed the song 'Closer To You' in the film "The Big Easy" (1987). Quaid also has a pilot's license and owned a Cessna Citation, he also is a five-handicap golfer.[24] In 2005, he was named as the top golfer among the "Hollywood set" by Golf Digest.

Quaid is an avid fan of the Houston Astros, and after their 2005 National League Championship winning season, he narrated their commemorating DVD release.

After the filming of The Express: The Ernie Davis Story, Quaid went to Cleveland Browns Stadium to dedicate Davis's jersey.

Substance use

There have been extensive stories about Quaid's past abuse of cocaine. In a candid 2002 interview with Larry King on his talk show, after King asked about his motives for using drugs, Quaid responded,

Well, you got to put it in context. Back in the late '60s, early '70s. That was back during the time where, you know, drugs were going to expand our minds and everybody was experimenting and everything. We were really getting high, we didn't know it. And cocaine at that time was considered harmless. You know. I remember magazine articles in 'People' Magazine of doctors saying, it is not addicting. It is just—alcohol is worse. So I think we all fell into that. But that's not the way it was.

When asked if he believed he had ever been addicted to the drugs, he responded,

It was a gradual thing. But it got to the point where I couldn't have any fun unless I had it. Which is a bad place to be." Later in the interview he said, "But I saw myself being dead in about five years if I didn't stop.[25]

In April 2011, while promoting his film, Soul Surfer, Quaid was very candid when it came to questions regarding his past drug abuse. He blamed his sudden thrust into the Hollywood scene for his trouble with cocaine. He said,

Coming from where I came from - lower-middle-class life, from Houston into Hollywood - and all of a sudden this success starts happening to you, I just didn't know how to handle that." Quaid also made bold accusations about the American film industry in the 1970s, claiming, "Cocaine was even in the budgets of movies, thinly disguised.... It was petty cash, you know? It was supplied, basically, on movie sets because everyone was doing it." On his addiction, Quaid said, "I'd wake up, snort a line, and swear I wasn't going to do it again that day ... but then four o'clock rolled around, and I'd be right back down the same road like a little squirrel on one of those treadmills.[26]

In October 2009, Quaid narrowly avoided being arrested for DUI, when a police officer managed to persuade him to get out of his car and get a cab.[27]


Quaid lends his name to the annual "Dennis Quaid Charity Weekend" (formerly the "Jiffy Lube/Dennis Quaid Charity Classic") in Austin. The golf tournament attracts numerous celebrities with the proceeds split among local children's charities. He is a member of the Bel-Air Country Club in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, and tries to stay at homes on private courses when he is on the road.

Quaid works with the International Hospital for Children in New Orleans. He makes trips to Central America to help build medical clinics and transport sick children back to the U.S. for treatment they cannot get locally.


Year Title Role Notes
1975 Crazy Mama Bellhop (uncredited)
1977 I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Shark, Baseball Pitcher
1977 September 30, 1955 Frank
1978 Our Winning Season Paul Morelli
1978 Seniors, TheThe Seniors Alan
1979 Breaking Away Mike
1980 Long Riders, TheThe Long Riders Ed Miller
1980 Gorp Mad Grossman
1981 All Night Long Freddie Dupler
1981 Caveman Lar
1981 Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, TheThe Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia Travis Child
1981 Stripes Extra at Graduation Ceremony (uncredited)
1983 Tough Enough Art Long
1983 Jaws 3-D Michael 'Mike' Brody
1983 Right Stuff, TheThe Right Stuff Gordon Cooper
1984 Dreamscape Alex Gardner
1985 Enemy Mine Willis Davidge
1987 Big Easy, TheThe Big Easy Det. Remy McSwain Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
Valladolid International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
1987 Innerspace Lt. Tuck Pendleton
1987 Suspect Eddie Sanger
1988 D.O.A. Dexter Cornell
1988 Everybody's All-American Gavin Grey
1989 Great Balls of Fire! Jerry Lee Lewis
1990 Come See the Paradise Jack McGurn
1990 Postcards from the Edge Jack Faulkner
1993 Wilder Napalm Wallace Foudroyant/Biff the Clown
1993 Undercover Blues Jefferson 'Jeff' Blue
1993 Flesh and Bone Arlis Sweeney
1994 Century of Cinema, AA Century of Cinema Himself Documentary
1994 Wyatt Earp Doc Holliday
1995 Something to Talk About Eddie Bichon
1996 Dragonheart Bowen
1997 Gang Related Joe Doe/William
1997 Switchback Frank LaCrosse
1998 Parent Trap, TheThe Parent Trap Nick Parker
1998 Savior Joshua Rose/Guy
1998 Playing by Heart Hugh
1999 Any Given Sunday Jack 'Cap' Rooney
2000 Frequency Frank Sullivan Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor – Suspense
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2000 Traffic Arnie Metzger Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2002 Rookie, TheThe Rookie Jim Morris
2002 Far from Heaven Frank Whitaker Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
2003 Cold Creek Manor Cooper Tilson
2004 Alamo, TheThe Alamo Sam Houston
2004 Day After Tomorrow, TheThe Day After Tomorrow Jack Hall
2004 In Good Company Dan Foreman
2004 Flight of the Phoenix Frank Towns
2005 Yours, Mine and Ours Rear Admiral Frank Beardsley, USCG
2006 American Dreamz President Joseph Staton
2007 Battle for Terra Roven Voice role
2008 Vantage Point Thomas Barnes
2008 Smart People Lawrence Wetherhold
2008 Express, TheThe Express Ben Schwartzwalder
2009 Horsemen Aidan Breslin
2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra General Hawk
2009 Pandorum Payton
2010 Legion Bob Hanson
2011 Soul Surfer Tom Hamilton
2011 Footloose Rev. Shaw Moore
2012 Beneath the Darkness Vaughn Ely
2012 What to Expect When You're Expecting Ramsey
2012 The Words Clay Hammond
2012 Playing for Keeps Carl
2012 At Any Price Henry Whipple
2013 Movie 43 Charlie Wessler Segment "The Pitch"
2015 Truth Colonel Roger Charles
2016 A Dog's Purpose Filming
Year Title Role Notes
1981 Bill Barry Morrow Television film
1982 Johnny Belinda Kyle Hager Television film
2001 Dinner with Friends Gabe Television film
2009 SpongeBob SquarePants Grandpa RedBeard Voice role; Episode: "Grandpappy the Pirate/Cephalopod Lodge"
2010 Special Relationship, TheThe Special Relationship Bill Clinton Television film
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie[28]
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2012–2013 Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb 21 episodes, also executive producer
2015 Inside Amy Schumer Chief / Judge 2 episodes


  1. ^ "Dennis Quaid Biography (1954–)". Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Stated in interview at Inside the Actors Studio.
  3. ^ Notes, Chapter 1, p. 304, Public Cowboy No. !: The Life and Times of Gene Autry, by Holly George-Warren, Oxford University Press, 2009
  4. ^ Lyman, Rick (November 14, 2002). "Dennis Quaid's Second Reel: The Comeback". New York Times (New York).  
  5. ^ Bonnie Raitt - "Thing Called Love" music video on YouTube (official VEVO version)
  6. ^ Boodman, Sandra (March 13, 2007). "Eating Disorders: Not Just for Women". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Meg Ryan says Dennis Quaid cheated on her". MSN. 
  8. ^ "Shanna Moakler". Extra TV. October 26, 2001. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  9. ^ "Shanna Moakler is Devastated over Split". CelebSpin. August 11, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  10. ^ Keeps, David A. (April 2006). "Dennis Quaid". Best Life (Emmaus, PA) III (3): 22–25. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Dennis & Kimberly Quaid Welcome a Boy & Girl". People. November 8, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  12. ^ Haldeman, Peter (November 2008). "Dennis Quaid". Architectural Digest. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Newborn Twins Fighting for Life". Fox News Channel. November 21, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  14. ^ Ornstein, Charles; Gorman, Anna (November 21, 2007). "Possible medical mix-up for twins". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  15. ^ Dennis Quaid and wife sue drug maker.
  16. ^ Quaid, Dennis; Quaid, Kimberly (May 14, 2008). "Testimony of Dennis Quaid and Kimberly Quaid Before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the United States House of Representatives" (PDF). pp. 1–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Files for Divorce: Report".  
  18. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Withdraws Divorce Papers".  
  19. ^ a b "Dennis Quaid Files to Divorce Wife Kimberly Buffington-Quaid". Us Weekly. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Files for Separation Five Months After Pulling Plug on Divorce". E News. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Dennis and Kimberly Quaid:Divorce Withdrawn". HuffingtonPost. Retrieved August 2013. 
  22. ^ 'It's All God': Interview with Dennis Quaid
  23. ^ Peter T. Chattaway (November 21, 2005). "'"Mr. Versatile 'Christianity Today. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  24. ^ "A Plane Crazy America". AOPA Pilot: 79. May 2014. 
  25. ^ " – Transcripts". March 12, 2002. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  26. ^ Gracely, Joe (April 11, 2011). "'"Dennis Quaid: 'Being addicted to cocaine' was 'my greatest mistake. New York: NYDailyNews. 
  27. ^ "Dennis Quaid dodges DUI by taking cab". Daily News (New York). October 25, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  28. ^ Dennis Quaid Emmy Nominated

Further reading

  • Silver, Murray, 2005. When Elvis Meets the Dalai Lama, (Bonaventure Books, Savannah), in which the author describes Quaid's participation in the film Great Balls of Fire.

External links

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