Dennis Quaid

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Dennis Quaid
Born Dennis William Quaid
(1954-04-09) April 9, 1954 (age 62)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater University of Houston
Occupation Actor/Dancer
Years active 1975–present
Children 3
Relatives Randy Quaid (brother)
Jack Quaid (son)

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, 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 & 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[edit]

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]


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 in The Right Stuff (1983).[2]

Known for his grin,[3] 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."[4]

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[5] 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[edit]

Relationships and children[edit]

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 divorced in 1983.[1]

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.[6] Quaid and Ryan have a son, Jack Henry (born April 24, 1992).[7] They announced their separation on June 28, 2000, saying they had been separated six weeks by then.[6] Their divorce was finalized July 16, 2001.[1]

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.[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] 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[17][18] as well as co-authoring a medical journal article addressing the positive influence of patient stories in motivating change in healthcare.[19] The first documentary, Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2010,[17][18] and the second documentary, Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2012.[20][21][22][23]

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."[24] Buffington's attorney then withdrew the divorce papers on April 26, 2012.[25] In the summer of 2012, Quaid and Buffington moved to California.[26] 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.[27] 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.[26] They then reconciled and the divorce was dismissed by September 2013.[28] On June 28, 2016, the couple announced in a joint statement that they were divorcing.[29]


Quaid was raised in the Baptist faith.[30][31]

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 one-handicap golfer.[32] 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. He coined the phrase "Go 'Stros."

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 '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.[33]


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 Nicholas "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
2017 A Dog's Purpose Ethan (adult) Filming
Year Title Role Notes
1977 Baretta Scott Martin Episode: "The Sky Is Falling"
1978 Are You in the House Alone? Phil Lawver Television film
1979 Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill Roy Television film
1981 Bill Barry Morrow Television film
1982 Johnny Belinda Kyle Hager Television film
1983 Bill: On His Own Barry Morrow Television film
1998 Everything that Rises Jim Clay 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[34]
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
2010 Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm Self/narrator Television documentary
2012–2013 Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb 21 episodes, also executive producer
2015 Inside Amy Schumer Chief / Judge 2 episodes
2015 Drunk History Lucky Luciano Episode: "Las Vegas"
2015 The Art of More Samuel Brukner Main role
2016 Fortitude Michael Lennox TV series


  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. ^ Lyman, Rick (November 14, 2002). "Dennis Quaid's Second Reel: The Comeback". New York Times. New York. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ Bonnie Raitt - Thing Called Love. YouTube. December 6, 2010. 
  5. ^ Boodman, Sandra (March 13, 2007). "Eating Disorders: Not Just for Women". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Schneider, Karen S. (July 17, 2000). "Sweethearts Sour". People. 54 (3). Archived from the original on April 2, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "Shanna Moakler". Extra. October 26, 2001. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  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. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. 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. ^ a b Landro, Laura. "Patient Safety: The Movie". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones and Company. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  18. ^ a b Grant, Meg (September 2010). "Dennis Quaid's Quest". AARP. AARP. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ "Discovery Channel to air patient-safety documentary tomorrow". AHA News. American Hospital Association. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  21. ^ O'Reilly, Kevin. "Celebrities make pitch for patient safety panel". American Medical News. American Medical Association. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  22. ^ 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. 
  23. ^ "Dennis Quaid Remarks on Medical Errors". The National Press Club. The National Press Club. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  24. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Files for Divorce: Report". People. March 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Withdraws Divorce Papers". People. May 4, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b "Dennis Quaid Files to Divorce Wife Kimberly Buffington-Quaid". Us Weekly. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Files for Separation Five Months After Pulling Plug on Divorce". E News. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  28. ^ "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. 
  29. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Files for Divorce ... Again". June 28, 2016. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Actor Dennis Quaid on Jesus and the Bible--Christian Baptist Hindu Meg Ryan acting baptism Ganges prodigal son Sheahen -". Beliefnet. 
  31. ^ Peter T. Chattaway (November 21, 2005). "Mr. Versatile 'Christianity Today'". Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  32. ^ "A Plane Crazy America". AOPA Pilot: 79. May 2014. 
  33. ^ " – Transcripts". March 12, 2002. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Dennis Quaid". Television Academy. 

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]