skip navigation
Dennis Quaid

Dennis Quaid

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Pandorum DVD The terrifying mystery behind a deep-space disaster begins to unfold in... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Dragonheart: Two Legendary Tales... The swordsmen are noble and their opponents scaly in this double feature... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now

All Night Long DVD A mid-life crisis creates chaos and comedy. Gene Hackman plays the successful... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Jaws 3 DVD America's favorite great white shark is back for thirds in this terrifying... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

Flight Of The Phoenix DVD This riveting adventure is a harrowing tale of courage and perseverance. A... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Wyatt Earp DVD The legendary gunfight at the OK CorralĀ is stirringly presentedĀ in this epic... more info $5.98was $5.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: Dennis William Quaid Died:
Born: April 9, 1954 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Houston, Texas, USA Profession: actor, songwriter, singer, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Often cast as a roguish charmer and Western renegade, Texan-born Dennis Quaid hit the Hollywood radar in the 1980s with rugged roles in "The Right Stuff" (1983) and "The Big Easy" (1987). Throughout his career he was also a frequent player in dramatic sports films like "Everybody's All American" (1988) but by decade's end, personal problems and drug addiction took a toll on the quality of Quaid's work. After a period of recovery, the actor strengthened his focus, married America's sweetheart, actress Meg Ryan, and began to rebuild his reputation as a solid screen presence with well-received roles in the Western epic "Wyatt Earp" (1993), the sports drama "Any Given Sunday" (1999), and the light family comedy, "Yours, Mine and Ours" (2005). But despite successful supporting roles in occasionally acclaimed dramas like "Traffic" (2000), Quaid's later work relied more heavily on outlandish, Earth-threatening scenarios, and unfortunately his appealing way with everyday-guy-turned-heroes was underused by Hollywood directors. Despite a rough road of public spectacles - including the dissolution of his fabled marriage to Ryan after rumors of infidelity on both their parts; hospital negligence in the...

Often cast as a roguish charmer and Western renegade, Texan-born Dennis Quaid hit the Hollywood radar in the 1980s with rugged roles in "The Right Stuff" (1983) and "The Big Easy" (1987). Throughout his career he was also a frequent player in dramatic sports films like "Everybody's All American" (1988) but by decade's end, personal problems and drug addiction took a toll on the quality of Quaid's work. After a period of recovery, the actor strengthened his focus, married America's sweetheart, actress Meg Ryan, and began to rebuild his reputation as a solid screen presence with well-received roles in the Western epic "Wyatt Earp" (1993), the sports drama "Any Given Sunday" (1999), and the light family comedy, "Yours, Mine and Ours" (2005). But despite successful supporting roles in occasionally acclaimed dramas like "Traffic" (2000), Quaid's later work relied more heavily on outlandish, Earth-threatening scenarios, and unfortunately his appealing way with everyday-guy-turned-heroes was underused by Hollywood directors. Despite a rough road of public spectacles - including the dissolution of his fabled marriage to Ryan after rumors of infidelity on both their parts; hospital negligence in the accidental poisoning of his newborn twins - Quaid's undeniable charm both on and off screen made him one of the most appealing and reliable leading men of his generation.

Dennis Quaid was born on April 9, 1954, and raised in Houston, TX, in the shadow of older brother Randy, who began acting at an early age. The younger Quaid decided to make his mark in school plays after the 6'1" blond was deemed not big enough to play football, the favorite sport of Texans. Quaid was a natural performer who also played guitar and sang, and after graduating from high school he headed to his big brother's alma mater, the University of Houston, where he joined the theater department. Success in a 1974 college production of "Bus Stop" led to a decision to head to L.A., where Randy had just earned an Academy Award nomination for "The Last Detail" (1974). With his killer smile and rugged good looks, Quaid landed a rapid succession of bit parts in films including Jonathan Demme's "Crazy Mama" (1975), "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" (1977), and finally, a larger role as one of a group of friends coping with the death of idol James Dean in James Bridges' "9/30/55" (1977). A supporting role in "Our Winning Season" (1978) introduced him to fellow castmate (and future cult figure as star of the 1979 punk classic "Rock and Roll High School) P.J. Soles, whom Quaid would marry later that year. But it was his turn as a frustrated, post-high school townie in the Midwestern coming of age drama "Breaking Away" (1979) that finally brought Quaid to the attention of Hollywood.

The following year, he teamed with brother Randy to play the outlaw Miller brothers in Walter Hill's Western "The Long Riders" (1980), before losing his momentum with a string of forgettable films, including "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" (1981) and "Jaws 3-D" (1983), which would introduce him to new love, actress Lea Thompson, around the time his marriage to Soles was disintegrating. The charismatic actor finally got a chance to demonstrate his potential with his fantastic turn as cocksure Houston astronaut Gordon Cooper in "The Right Stuff" (1983), Quaid's most high-profile film to date, as well as an Academy Award nominee for Best Picture. After appearing on stage opposite brother Randy in Sam Shepard's blistering "True West" in New York and Los Angeles, Quaid landed starring status in flops "Dreamscape" (1984) and "Enemy Mine" (1985), before receiving a much needed boost to the A-list in Jim McBride's "The Big Easy" (1987), enjoying excellent reviews as a Louisiana detective. Relaxed and sporting a Cajun accent, the actor was sexy and swaggeringly charming; even more important to viewers was the palpable onscreen chemistry with co-star Ellen Barkin. Off the set, however, Quaid had become an item with his "Innerspace" (1987) co-star and soon-to-be superstar, Meg Ryan. A year before Ryan became "America's Sweetheart" with her unforgettable performance in "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), the new couple also appeared together in the unsuccessful 1988 remake of the film noir classic "D.O.A."

Continuing to be in demand as a leading man, Quaid delivered a fine performance as a former high school football star in the middling "Everybody's All American" (1988), and reunited with Jim McBride to star in the biopic of explosive rockabilly legend Jerry Lee Lewis "Great Balls of Fire" (1989), but neither film drew in a big audience. Offscreen, it was later revealed that the actor was battling an addiction to cocaine. Following his turn as a roguishly charming cad opposite Meryl Streep in "Postcards From the Edge" (1990), he underwent treatment for substance abuse, followed by a two-year, self-imposed hiatus, during which time he married Ryan and the pair had a son, Jack. Post-rehab, Quaid returned to the big screen, starring in three little-seen 1993 pictures - the bizarre and confusing "Wilder Napalm," the precious "Thin Man" wannabe "Undercover Blues," and the well-acted family drama "Flesh and Bone." Then the actor literally transformed himself, dropping 40 pounds to play tubercular Doc Holliday in Lawrence Kasdan's epic "Wyatt Earp" (1993). Overall, the film was a disappointment, however reviewers singled out Quaid's performance. He followed up as the charming ne'er-do-well husband of Julia Roberts in "Something to Talk About" (1995) and brought a level of surprising believability to his turn as a medieval knight in "Dragonheart" (1996).

Finally Quaid scored a box office hit in 1998, co-starring with Natasha Richardson in the remake of Disney's "The Parent Trap," and offered a stellar performance as a mercenary in the little-seen "Savior" (1998), before turning in one of the more memorable performances of his career as an aging quarterback in the Oliver Stone-directed "Any Given Sunday" (1999). His run of solid, well-respected films continued when Quaid was included in a Screen Actors Guild Award given to the cast of "Traffic" (2000), in which he played a slippery lawyer advising the wife of a drug lord. Unfortunately, as he was savoring the success of the award-winning film, he found himself in a very public split with Ryan. Although there had been whispers of trouble between the couple for a few years, no one could have predicted "America's Sweetheart" would have an affair with the then hottest actor in town at that time, Russell Crowe, her co-star in "Proof of Life" (2000), and then leave Quaid not long after. While a brutal split, on a public relations level, Quaid came out on top, being the perceived wronged party in the scandalous love triangle.

After starring in the critically acclaimed television film "Dinner with Friends," he returned to the big screen in another sports-set drama, the surprising hit "The Rookie" (2002). Quaid had first billing in this fact-based story of a middle-aged high school baseball coach who tries out for the Major Leagues and becomes its oldest rookie. Quaid truly hit one out of the park in that year's intense drama "Far From Heaven" (2002), earning an Independent Spirit Award for his co-starring role opposite Julianne Moore. Set in Connecticut during the 1950s, Quaid was pitch-perfect in a fearless performance as a family man who is secretly homosexual, a secret which makes him neglectful, abusive and alcoholic. Universally praised for his tragic, tormented turn, Quaid delivered a powerful performance and was a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood again. Next up, Quaid teamed with Sharon Stone in Mike Figgis' sly but commercially lackluster take on the haunted house thriller in "Cold Creek Manor' (2003), then took on the history of his home state by portraying Sam Houston in Disney's unfortunate box office bomb "The Alamo" (2004). Bigger at the box office than either film was director Roland Emmerich's big budget disaster film "The Day After Tomorrow" (2004), in which Quaid starred as a climatologist racing northward to find his young son after the planet experiences a radical climate change.

After a turn in the superfluous but crowd-pleasing remake "Flight of the Ph nix" (2004), Quaid soared in a career-defining role as a successful middle-aged magazine ad salesman who suddenly finds himself working under a new boss (Topher Grace) nearly half his age in writer-director Paul Weitz's comedy "In Good Company" (2004). A remake of the 1968 Lucille Ball-Henry Fonda comedy "Yours, Mine and Ours" (2005), co-starring Rene Russo as the other half of a blended family, did moderately well at the box office despite tanking critically. The limp political satire "American Dreamz" (2006), in which Quaid played a doofus president, tanked on both accounts. Quaid followed up with a very different film centering on a U.S. president, playing a secret service agent who witnesses an assassination in "Vantage Point" (2008). The film brought action-oriented audiences to the theaters but sent critics home early. Quaid had three more releases scheduled for the year, including the college-set comedy "Smart People" co-starring young Oscar nominee Ellen Page, and "The Express," in which Quaid portrayed a football coach in the real-life story of Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman trophy. Following supporting turns as General Hawk in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (2009) and a diner owner in the supernatural thriller "Legion" (2010), Quaid portrayed President Bill Clinton in "The Special Relationship" (HBO, 2010), a look at the intimate relationship between the American president and England's prime minister, Tony Blair (Michael Sheen). For his efforts, Quaid earned Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie.

The beginning of the next decade saw Quaid taking on more work in feature films, most frequently in supporting roles. He and Helen Hunt played the supportive parents of a brave young girl (AnnaSophia Robb) who reenters the world of competitive surfing after losing an arm to a shark in the inspirational fact-based drama "Soul Surfer" (2011). This was followed by a turn as an overly protective preacher in the update of the hit '80s dance-drama "Footloose" (2011) and his scenery-chewing portrayal of a mild-mannered psychopath in the little-seen thriller "Beneath the Darkness" (2011). Quaid made small appearances in such features as the critically-blasted adaptation of the best-selling pregnancy preparedness book "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (2012) and a turn as a famous author in the literary drama "The Words" (2012), but it was the actor's first run as the star of a network series "Vegas" (CBS, 2012- ) that garnered the lion's share of the buzz for him that year. Set in the Sin City of the 1960s, the drama starred Quaid as a local sheriff at odds with a newly-arrived Chicago mob boss (Michael Chiklis) intent on setting up an operation in the future gambling mecca.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Everything That Rises (1998) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Movie 43 (2013)
3.
 Words, The (2012)
4.
5.
 At Any Price (2012)
6.
 Soul Surfer (2011)
7.
 Footloose (2011)
9.
 Legion (2010)
10.
 Horsemen (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in Texas
1969:
Began career as an impressionist in Houston nightclubs at age 15
1974:
Moved to Los Angeles
1975:
First screen appearance in an uncredited bit part, "Crazy Mama"
1977:
Film acting debut in "9/30/55" directed by James Bridges
1978:
TV acting debut, "Are You in the House Alone?" (CBS)
1979:
Landed breakthrough screen role as Mike the high school jock in "Breaking Away"
1980:
Co-starred with his brother Randy in Walter Hill's "The Long Riders"
1981:
Appeared in the CBS TV-movie "Bill" alongside Mickey Rooney
1981:
Wrote songs for and sang on screen in "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"
1983:
Reprised his TV role in the sequel "Bill on His Own" (CBS)
1983:
Gained good notices for his turn as the cocky astronaut Gordon Cooper in "The Right Stuff"
1984:
Starred opposite brother Randy in the off-Broadway production of Sam Shepard's "True West"
1987:
Won acclaim for his performance in "The Big Easy"; directed by Jim McBride
1989:
Portrayed singer Jerry Lee Lewis in the biopic "Great Balls of Fire," also directed by Jim McBride
:
Formed Summers/Quaid Productions with Cathleen Summers
1993:
Co-starred with then-wife Meg Ryan in "Flesh and Bone"
1994:
Earned praise for his performance as Doc Holliday in Lawrence Kasdan's epic "Wyatt Earp"
1996:
Starred as a medieval knight in "Dragonheart"
1998:
Made directorial debut with made-for-cable TV-movie "Everything That Rises" (TNT); also starred
1998:
Co-starred in the remake of Disney's "The Parent Trap"
1999:
Portrayed a past his prime football quarterback in Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday"
2000:
Cast as the long-dead firefighting father of a contemporary detective in the supernatural-themed "Frequency"
2000:
Had pivotal role as a lawyer in "Traffic"
2001:
Co-starred in the HBO adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play "Dinner With Friends"
2002:
Portrayed a high school baseball coach in the fact-based feature "The Rookie"
2002:
Appeared with Julianne Moore in the drama "Far From Heaven"; received Golden Globe and SAG nominations for Best Supporting Actor
2004:
Played a climatologist who tries to find a way to save the world in Roland Emmerich's "The Day After Tomorrow"
2004:
Starred with Scarlett Johansson and Topher Grace in the comedy "In Good Company," directed by Paul Weitz
2004:
Starred in a remake of the 1965 film "The Flight of the Phoenix"
2005:
Co-starred with Rene Russo in the remake of "Yours, Mine and Ours," a comedy about a blended family
2005:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (November)
2006:
Portrayed the U.S. President in Paul Weitz' "American Dreamz"
2008:
Cast in the ensemble film "Vantage Point" as a Secret Service agent
2008:
Joined Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page and Thomas Haden Church in the indie feature "Smart People"
2009:
Co-starred as Hawk, the team leader in the live action film adaptation of "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra"
2010:
Co-starred in the apocalyptic thriller "Legion"
2010:
Portrayed President Bill Clinton in HBO's "The Special Relationship"; earned an Emmy (2010) nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
2010:
Nominated for the 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie ("The Special Relationship")
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television ("The Special Relationship")
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries ("The Special Relationship")
2011:
Co-starred in "Soul Surfer," playing the father of Bethany Hamilton, who lost her left arm in a shark attack when she was 13 years old
2011:
Cast in the remake of "Footloose," inspired by the 1984 dance drama starring Kevin Bacon
2012:
Joined ensemble cast of romantic comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting"
2012:
Co-starred with Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana in romantic drama "The Words"
2012:
Cast opposite Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel in romantic comedy "Playing for Keeps"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Houston: Houston , Texas -
Bellaire High School: Bellaire , Texas - 1972

Notes

Quaid obtained a pilot's license as part of his research to play astronaut Gordon Cooper in "The Right Stuff" (1983).

"I was very uncomfortable with all the attention when it first started happening to me. I retreated quite a bit from the world, both physically and emotionally. BUt then you just accept that you can;t control what the rest of the world thinks or does." --Dennis Quaid on fame to ELLE in 1996

"Dennis had changed from a tortured guy to a man who's serene and responsible and honest. Sometimes it makes me nervous how right he's got his head screwed on." --friend and fellow actor Brett Cullen to Premiere, February 1995.

"I run to the outskirts of what is generally accepted as commercial. That my be a fault of mine. I like stories you can't predict. If the story interests me, then I sit up. I find most movies today are really well-made television shows. I'm not putting theme down, but sometimes they disappoint me in that they don't take enough chances. I like working with filmmakers ans stories that are on the edge." --Dennis Quaid quoted in Vogue, November 1993.

"Something physical always leads me to the inside of the character," --Quaid quoted in New York Newsday, October 31, 1993.

Quaid has a band, Dennis Quaid and the Sharks.

"I definitely was able to relate this to my own life, in that I've come through periods where I lived this secret life", Quaid explains, referring to his addiction to cocaine. "I was hiding that, or at least thought I was, and there's a lot of shame that went with the behaviour of that. What I had at the time was not really an authentic life, but a secret life until it all came out."---Quaid talking about his character in "Far from Heaven" crankycritic.com

"Hollywood is just one big high school and nothing has really changed. You know it's who's the most popular this year and so what's the big difference?"---Quaid talking about the success of "The Rookie" filmmonthly.com March 26, 2002

"Being a celebrity couple is not so easy-it's double the publicity, and it's hard to have a private life. . . . I have to tell you that I'm happier with my life now than ever: I have a great son and a great career. I'm not only here, but here stronger than I've ever been-I have absolutely no regrets about the ups and downs of my career."---Quaid on being part of a celebrity couple Premiere April 7, 2004

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
P J Soles. Actor. Met during the filming of "Our Winning Season" (1978); married 1978; appeared in "Breaking Away" (1979) with Quaid; divorced in 1983.
companion:
Lea Thompson. Actor. Met during the filming of "Jaws 3-D" in 1983; lived together for four years.
wife:
Meg Ryan. Actor. Met on set of "Innerspace" (1987); became engaged in 1989; married on February 14, 1991; announced separation in June 2000; Quaid filed for divorce on July 12, 2000; Ryan countersued in August 2000; divorced on July 16, 2001.
companion:
Shanna Moakler. Former beauty queen. Dated since early 2001; no longer together since December 2001.
companion:
Cynthia Garrett. Texas real estate designer. Dating since March 2002.
companion:
Anna Poche. Dating as of July 2002.
wife:
Kimberly Buffington. Texas real estate agent. Began dating early 2003; engaged June 2004; married on Sunday, July 4 in Montana.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Quaid. Electrical contractor. Divorced from Quaid's mother when Quaid was in high school; died of a heart attack in 1987.
mother:
Nita Quaid. Real-estate agent. Divorced from Quaid's father when Quaid was in high school.
brother:
Randy Quaid. Actor, director. Born in 1950.
half-brother:
Buddy Quaid. Born on November 26, 1974.
son:
Jack Henry Quaid. Born on April 24, 1992; mother, Meg Ryan.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute