Dennis Quaid

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dennis Quaid
Quaid in 2012
Dennis William Quaid

(1954-04-09) April 9, 1954 (age 64)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Houston
  • Actor
  • producer
  • director
  • singer
  • writer
Years active1975–present
  • P. J. Soles
    (m. 1978; div. 1983)
  • Meg Ryan
    (m. 1991; div. 2001)
  • Kimberly Buffington
    (m. 2004; div. 2018)
Children3, including Jack Quaid
RelativesRandy Quaid (brother)

Dennis William Quaid (born April 9, 1954)[1] is an American actor known for a wide variety of dramatic and comedic roles. First gaining widespread attention in the 1980s, some of his notable credits include Breaking Away (1979), The Right Stuff (1983), The Big Easy (1986), Innerspace (1987), The Parent Trap (1998), Frequency (2000), Traffic (2000), The Rookie (2002), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Vantage Point (2008), Footloose (2011), and Soul Surfer (2011). For his role in Far from Heaven (2002) he won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor among other accolades.

Early life[edit]

Dennis William Quaid was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Juanita B. "Nita" Quaid, a real estate agent, and William Rudy Quaid, an electrician.[1] Quaid has English, Irish, Scots-Irish, and Cajun (French) ancestry,[2] 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. He was raised in the Baptist faith.[3][4] He is the younger brother of actor Randy Quaid.


Quaid dropped out of the University of Houston before graduating and moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career.[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 as astronaut Gordon Cooper in The Right Stuff (1983).[2]

Known for his grin,[5] Quaid has appeared in both comedic and dramatic roles.[2] Quaid had starring roles in the films Jaws 3-D (1983), 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."[6]

Quaid's career lost steam in the early 1990s, after he fought anorexia nervosa brought on when he lost 40 pounds to play the tuberculosis-afflicted Doc Holliday in Wyatt Earp[7] and recovered from a cocaine addiction.[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). In 1998, he made his debut as a film director with Everything That Rises a television movie western in which he also starred.[8]

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.

In 2017, he starred in A Dog's Purpose as Ethan, billed as "a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs".[9]

In 2018, Quaid starred in I Can Only Imagine, where he played Arthur Millard, the father of singer and songwriter Bart Millard and Kin, where he plays Hal, the father of the film's two protagonists.

In March 2018, it was confirmed by director Sean McNamara that Quaid would portray President Ronald Reagan in an upcoming biopic, titled Reagan.[10] The film is slated to have a summer 2019 release.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Relationships and children[edit]

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 divorced in 1983.[1]

Quaid playing golf in 2006

On February 14, 1991, Quaid married actress Meg Ryan. Quaid and Ryan fell in love during the shooting of their second film together, D.O.A.[11] Quaid and Ryan have a son, Jack Henry (born April 24, 1992).[12] Quaid and Ryan announced their separation on June 28, 2000, saying they had been separated six weeks by then.[11] Their divorce was finalized July 16, 2001.[1] In 2008, Meg Ryan told InStyle Quaid had been unfaithful to her for a long time.[13] In 2017 Ryan denied this, telling ABC News "We both behaved very honorably — in our marriage and in our breakup. He never cheated on me. I can’t believe they’re saying that about him".[14]

Quaid dated model Shanna Moakler in 2001.[15] The relationship lasted for eight months.[16]

Quaid married Texas real-estate agent Kimberly Buffington, on July 4, 2004, at his ranch in Paradise Valley, Montana.[17] They have fraternal twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, born via a surrogate on November 8, 2007, in Santa Monica, California.[18][19]

On November 18, 2007, hospital staff mistakenly gave Quaid's ten-day-old twins a dosage of heparin (a blood thinner) that was 1,000 times the common dosage for infants.[20][21] The babies recovered, but Quaid filed a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer, Baxter Healthcare, claiming that packaging for the two doses of heparin are not different enough.[22] 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.[23] This incident led Quaid to become a patient-safety advocate, producing a series of documentaries on preventable medical errors that aired on the Discovery Channel[24][25] as well as co-authoring a medical journal article addressing the positive influence of patient stories in motivating change in healthcare.[26] The first documentary, Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2010,[24][25] and the second documentary, Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2012.[27][28][29][30]

Buffington filed for divorce from Quaid in March 2012.[31] Buffington's attorney then withdrew the divorce papers on April 26, 2012.[32] In the summer of 2012, Quaid and Buffington moved to California.[33] 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.[34] 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.[33] They then reconciled and the divorce was dismissed by September 2013.[35] On June 28, 2016, the couple announced in a joint statement that they were divorcing, with Kimberly Quaid asking for full physical custody and joint legal custody.[36] The divorce was finalized April 27, 2018.


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 had a pilot's license and owned a Cessna Citation.[37] He is also a one-handicap golfer, and in 2005, he was named as the top golfer among the "Hollywood set" by Golf Digest magazine.

Quaid is a fan of the Houston Astros, and after the team's 2005 National League Championship-winning season, he narrated their commemorative 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[edit]

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 1960s, early 1970s. 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."[38]


Quaid lent his name to the annual "Dennis Quaid Charity Weekend" (formerly the "Jiffy Lube/Dennis Quaid Charity Classic"), held in Austin from 2002 until 2007. The golf tournament attracted numerous celebrities with the proceeds split among local children's charities.

Quaid at the 2009 Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards

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


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.[39]



Year Title Role Notes
1975 Crazy Mama Bellhop Uncredited[citation needed]
1977 I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Shark, Baseball Pitcher
September 30, 1955 Frank
1978 Our Winning Season Paul Morelli
The Seniors Alan
1979 Breaking Away Mike
1980 The Long Riders Ed Miller
Gorp Mad Grossman
1981 All Night Long Freddie Dupler
Caveman Lar
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia Travis Child
Stripes Extra at Graduation Ceremony Uncredited[citation needed]
1983 Tough Enough Art Long
Jaws 3-D Michael 'Mike' Brody
The Right Stuff Gordon Cooper
1984 Dreamscape Alex Gardner
1985 Enemy Mine Willis Davidge
1987 The Big Easy Det. Lt. Remy McSwain
Innerspace Lt. Tuck Pendleton
Suspect Eddie Sanger
1988 D.O.A. Dexter Cornell
Everybody's All-American Gavin Grey
1989 Great Balls of Fire! Jerry Lee Lewis
1990 Come See the Paradise Jack McGurn
Postcards from the Edge Jack Faulkner
1993 Wilder Napalm Wallace Foudroyant/Biff the Clown
Undercover Blues Jefferson 'Jeff' Blue
Flesh and Bone Arlis Sweeney
1994 A Century of Cinema Himself Documentary
Wyatt Earp Doc Holliday
1995 Something to Talk About Eddie Bichon
1996 Dragonheart Bowen
1997 Gang Related Joe Doe/William
Switchback Frank LaCrosse
1998 The Parent Trap Nicholas "Nick" Parker
Savior Joshua Rose/Guy
Playing by Heart Hugh
1999 Any Given Sunday Jack 'Cap' Rooney
2000 Frequency Frank Sullivan  
Traffic Arnie Metzger
2002 The Rookie Jim Morris
Far from Heaven Frank Whitaker
2003 Cold Creek Manor Cooper Tilson
2004 The Alamo Sam Houston
The Day After Tomorrow Jack Hall
In Good Company Dan Foreman
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
Smart People Lawrence Wetherhold
The Express Ben Schwartzwalder
2009 Horsemen Aidan Breslin
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra General Hawk
Pandorum Payton
2010 Legion Bob Hanson
2011 Soul Surfer Tom Hamilton
Footloose Rev. Shaw Moore
2012 Beneath the Darkness Vaughn Ely
What to Expect When You're Expecting Ramsey
The Words Clay Hammond
Playing for Keeps Carl
At Any Price Henry Whipple
2013 Movie 43 Charlie Wessler Segment: "The Pitch"
2015 Truth Colonel Roger Charles
2017 A Dog's Purpose Adult Ethan
2018 I Can Only Imagine Arthur Millard
Kin Hal Solinski
The Intruder Charlie Peck
2019 A Dog's Journey Ethan Filming[40]
Midway Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Baretta Scott Martin Episode: "The Sky Is Falling"
1978 Are You in the House Alone? Phil Lawver Movie
1979 Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill Roy Movie
1981 Bill Barry Morrow Movie
1982 Johnny Belinda Kyle Hager Movie
1983 Bill: On His Own Barry Morrow Movie
1998 Everything that Rises Jim Clay Movie, also directed [8]
2001 Dinner with Friends Gabe Movie
2009 SpongeBob SquarePants Grandpa RedBeard Voice role; Episode: "Grandpappy the Pirate/Cephalopod Lodge"
2010 The Special Relationship Bill Clinton Movie
Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm Self/narrator Documentary
2012–2013 Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb 21 episodes; also executive producer
2015 Inside Amy Schumer Chief / Judge 2 episodes
Drunk History Lucky Luciano Episode: "Las Vegas"
2015–present The Art of More Samuel Brukner 20 episodes
2017 Workaholics Ted Murphy Episode: "Weed the People"
Fortitude Michael Lennox 10 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
1987 Valladolid International Film Festival Best Lead Actor[citation needed] The Big Easy Won
1988 Independent Spirit Awards Best Male Lead The Big Easy Won
1989 Jupiter Awards Best International Actor The Big Easy Nominated
2001 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Frequency Nominated
2001 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture (shared with cast) Traffic Nominated
2002 New York Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor Far from Heaven Won
2002 Toronto Film Critics Association Best Supporting Performance – Male Far from Heaven Nominated
2003 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Far from Heaven Won
2003 Gold Derby Awards Best Supporting Actor Far from Heaven Nominated
2003 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Far from Heaven Nominated
2003 Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Male Far from Heaven Won
2003 Online Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actor Far from Heaven Won
2003 Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Far from Heaven Nominated
2003 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Far from Heaven Nominated
2003 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor Far from Heaven Nominated
2011 Golden Globe Awards Best Lead Actor in a Motion Picture Made for Television The Special Relationship Nominated
2011 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries The Special Relationship Nominated
2010 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie The Special Relationship Nominated
2010 Satellite Awards Best Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television The Special Relationship Nominated
2016 Houston Film Critics Society Lifetime Achievement [41] N/A Won


  1. ^ a b c d "Dennis Quaid Biography (1954–)". Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Stated in interview at Inside the Actors Studio.
  3. ^ "Actor Dennis Quaid on Jesus and the Bible--Christian Baptist Hindu Meg Ryan acting baptism Ganges prodigal son Sheahen -". Beliefnet.
  4. ^ Peter T. Chattaway (November 21, 2005). "Mr. Versatile 'Christianity Today'". Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  5. ^ Lyman, Rick (November 14, 2002). "Dennis Quaid's Second Reel: The Comeback". New York Times. New York. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  6. ^ Bonnie Raitt - Thing Called Love. YouTube. December 6, 2010.
  7. ^ Boodman, Sandra (March 13, 2007). "Eating Disorders: Not Just for Women". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Richmond, Ray (July 9, 1998). "Everything That Rises". Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "A Dog's Purpose filmmakers face animal cruelty accusations - BBC News",, 19 January 2017, retrieved 21 January 2017
  10. ^ a b "Dennis Quaid is playing Ronald Reagan in a biopic, confirms director Sean McNamara". Metro. March 28, 2018. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Schneider, Karen S. (July 17, 2000). "Sweethearts Sour". People. 54 (3). Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  12. ^ Richter, Erin (February 16, 2001). "Her Funny Valentine: Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan tied the knot 10 years ago". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  13. ^ "Meg's Back!".
  14. ^ "Meg Ryan Talks About Divorce". ABC News. October 12, 2017.
  15. ^ "Shanna Moakler". Extra. October 26, 2001. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
  16. ^ "Shanna Moakler is Devastated over Split". Moakler MySpace blog via August 11, 2006. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2007.
  17. ^ Keeps, David A. (April 2006). "Dennis Quaid". Best Life. III (3): 22–25. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  18. ^ "Dennis & Kimberly Quaid Welcome a Boy & Girl". People. November 8, 2007. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  19. ^ Haldeman, Peter (November 2008). "Dennis Quaid". Architectural Digest. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  20. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Newborn Twins Fighting for Life". Fox News. November 21, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  21. ^ Ornstein, Charles; Gorman, Anna (November 21, 2007). "Possible medical mix-up for twins". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 19, 2011.
  22. ^ "Dennis Quaid and wife sue drug maker". USA Today. December 4, 2007.
  23. ^ 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 August 14, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  24. ^ a b Landro, Laura. "Patient Safety: The Movie". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones and Company. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  25. ^ a b Grant, Meg (September 2010). "Dennis Quaid's Quest". AARP. AARP. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  26. ^ Quaid, Dennis; Thao, Julie (March 2010). "Story Power The Secret Weapon" (PDF). The Journal of Patient Safety. 6 (1): 5–14. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  27. ^ "Discovery Channel to air patient-safety documentary tomorrow". AHA News. American Hospital Association. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  28. ^ O'Reilly, Kevin. "Celebrities make pitch for patient safety panel". American Medical News. American Medical Association. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  29. ^ Hill, Terry. "Actor seeks media aid in sounding alert for health care safety". The National Press Club. The National Press Club. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  30. ^ "Dennis Quaid Remarks on Medical Errors". The National Press Club. The National Press Club. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  31. ^ "Dennis Quaid's wife files for divorce, report says". Fox News. March 9, 2012.
  32. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Withdraws Divorce Papers". People. May 4, 2012.
  33. ^ a b "Dennis Quaid Files to Divorce Wife Kimberly Buffington-Quaid". Us Weekly. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  34. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Files for Separation Five Months After Pulling Plug on Divorce". E News. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  35. ^ "Dennis Quaid & Wife -- Divorce Dismissed ... Now Let's Bike Together!". September 7, 2013. Archived from the original on September 9, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  36. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Files for Divorce ... Again". June 28, 2016. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  37. ^ "A Plane Crazy America". AOPA Pilot: 79. May 2014.
  38. ^ " – Transcripts". March 12, 2002. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  39. ^ "Dennis Quaid : Awards". Internet Movie Database.
  40. ^ "Betty Gilpin Joins Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad in 'A Dog's Purpose' Follow-Up (Exclusive)". 26 August 2018.
  41. ^ Pete Vonder Haar (January 7, 2016). "Join the Houston Film Critics Society This Saturday for Its 2015 Awards Show". Retrieved September 19, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]