The Info List - Dennis Quaid

Dennis 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 late 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 among other accolades.

Early life

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] and 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 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.

In 2017, he starred in A Dog's Purpose as Ethan, billed as "a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs".[8]

In 2018, Quaid starred in I Can Only Imagine, where he played Arthur Millard, the abusive father of musician Bart Millard.


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.[9]

Personal life

Relationships and children

Quaid playing golf 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.[10] Quaid and Ryan have a son, Jack Henry (born April 24, 1992).[11] They announced their separation on June 28, 2000, saying they had been separated six weeks by then.[10] Their divorce was finalized July 16, 2001.[1] Ryan later revealed to InStyle Quaid had been unfaithful to her for a long time while they were married.[12]

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.[13] The relationship lasted for eight months.[14]

Quaid married Texas real-estate agent Kimberly Buffington, on July 4, 2004, at his ranch in Paradise Valley, Montana.[15] They have fraternal twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, born via a surrogate on November 8, 2007, in Santa Monica, California.[16][17]

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.[18][19] 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.[20] 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.[21] 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[22][23] as well as co-authoring a medical journal article addressing the positive influence of patient stories in motivating change in healthcare.[24] The first documentary, Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2010,[22][23] and the second documentary, Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2012.[25][26][27][28]

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."[29] Buffington's attorney then withdrew the divorce papers on April 26, 2012.[30] In the summer of 2012, Quaid and Buffington moved to California.[31] 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.[32] 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.[31] They then reconciled and the divorce was dismissed by September 2013.[33] 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.[34]


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.[35] 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.</ref>

Quaid is a fan of the AL's 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

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."[36]


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

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.



Year Title Role Notes
1975 Crazy Mama Bellhop (uncredited)
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 Long Riders, TheThe Long Riders Ed Miller
Gorp Mad Grossman
1981 All Night Long Freddie Dupler
Caveman Lar
Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, TheThe Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia Travis Child
Stripes Extra at Graduation Ceremony (uncredited)
1983 Tough Enough Art Long
Jaws 3-D Michael 'Mike' Brody
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
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 Century of Cinema, AA 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 Parent Trap, TheThe 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 Rookie, TheThe Rookie Jim Morris
Far from Heaven Frank Whitaker
2003 Cold Creek Manor Cooper Tilson
2004 Alamo, TheThe Alamo Sam Houston
Day After Tomorrow, TheThe 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
Express, TheThe 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


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
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
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

Year Title Accolade Result
1987 The Big Easy Valladolid International Film Festival award, Best Lead Actor Won
1988 The Big Easy Independent Spirit award, Best Male Lead Won
2001 Frequency Blockbuster Entertainment award, Favorite Actor - Suspense Nominated
2001 Frequency Saturn award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2001 Traffic Screen Actors Guild award, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture (shared with Steven Bauer, Benjamin Bratt, James Brolin, Don Cheadle, Erika Christensen, Clifton Collins, Jr., Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Miguel Ferrer, Albert Finney, Topher Grace, Luis Guzman, Amy Irving, Tomas Milian, D.W. Moffett, Peter Riegret, Jacob Vargas, Catherine Zeta-Jones) Nominated
2002 Far from Heaven Award Circuit Community award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2002 Far from Heaven Las Vegas Film Critics Society award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2002 Far from Heaven New York Film Critics Circle award, Best Supporting Actor Won
2002 Far from Heaven Seattle Film Critics award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2002 Far from Heaven Toronto Film Critics Association award, Best Supporting Performance - Male Nominated
2003 The Rooki Character and Morality in Entertainment award, Camie award Won
2003 Far from Heaven Chicago Film Critics Association award, Best Supporting Actor Won
2003 Far from Heaven Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2003 Far from Heaven Gold Derby award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2003 Far from Heaven Gold Derby award, Best Ensemble Cast (shared with Patrica Clarkson, Viola Davis, Dennis Haysbert, Julianne Moore, James Redhorn, Celia Weston) Nominated
2003 Far from Heaven Golden Globe award, Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Nominated
2003 Far from Heaven Independent Spirit award, Best Supporting Male Won
2003 Far from Heaven International Online Film award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2003 Far from Heaven Online Film & Television Association award, Best Lead Actor Nominated
2003 Far from Heaven Online Film Critics Society award, Best Supporting Actor Won
2003 Far from Heaven Phoenix Film Critics Society award, Best SupportingActor Nominated
2003 Far from Heaven Satellite award, Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Nominated
2003 Far from Heaven Screen Actors Guild award, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
2003 Far from Heavein Vancouver Film Critics Circle award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2005 In Good Company AARP Movies for Grownups award, Best Lead Actor Nominated
2005 In Good Company AARP Movies for Grownups award, Best Grownup Love Story (shared with Marg Helenberger) Nominated
2005 The Day After Tomorrow Jupiter award, Best International Actor Nominated
2005 Yours, Mine & Ours The Stinkers Bad Movie award, Worst On-Screen Couple (shared with Rene Russo) Nominated
2005 N/A Walk of Fame, Star on the Walk of Fame - Motion Picture 7018 Hollywood, Blvd. Won
2009 The Express AARP Movies for Grownups award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2009 N/A ShoWest Convention award, Male Star of the Year Won
2011 The Special Relationship Golden Globe award, Best Lead Actor in a Motion Picture Made for Television Nominated
2011 The Special Relationship Screen Actors Guild award, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries Nominated
2012 Soul Surfer MovieGuide award, Most Inspiring Performance in Movies Nominated
2010 The Special Relationship Online Film & Television Association award, Best Lead Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
2010 The Special Relationship Primetime Emmy award, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
2010 The Special Relationship Satellite award, Best Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Nominated
2016 N/A Houston Film Critics Society award, Lifetime Achievement award Won


  1. ^ a b c d "Dennis Quaid Biography (1954–)". FilmReference.com. 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.com". Beliefnet. 
  4. ^ Peter T. Chattaway (November 21, 2005). "Mr. Versatile 'Christianity Today'". Christianitytoday.com. 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 Dog's Purpose filmmakers face animal cruelty accusations - BBC News", Bbc.com, 19 January 2017, retrieved 21 January 2017 
  9. ^ "Dennis Quaid : Awards". Internet Movie Database. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "Meg's Back!". 
  13. ^ "Shanna Moakler". Extra. October 26, 2001. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  14. ^ "Shanna Moakler is Devastated over Split". Moakler MySpace blog via CelebSpin.com. August 11, 2006. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2007. 
  15. ^ Keeps, David A. (April 2006). "Dennis Quaid". Best Life. Emmaus, PA. III (3): 22–25. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Dennis & Kimberly Quaid Welcome a Boy & Girl". People. November 8, 2007. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  17. ^ Haldeman, Peter (November 2008). "Dennis Quaid". Architectural Digest. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Newborn Twins Fighting for Life". Fox News Channel. November 21, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  19. ^ Ornstein, Charles; Gorman, Anna (November 21, 2007). "Possible medical mix-up for twins". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  20. ^ Dennis Quaid and wife sue drug maker.
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ a b Landro, Laura. "Patient Safety: The Movie". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones and Company. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  23. ^ a b Grant, Meg (September 2010). "Dennis Quaid's Quest". AARP. AARP. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ "Discovery Channel to air patient-safety documentary tomorrow". AHA News. American Hospital Association. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  26. ^ O'Reilly, Kevin. "Celebrities make pitch for patient safety panel". American Medical News. American Medical Association. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ "Dennis Quaid Remarks on Medical Errors". The National Press Club. The National Press Club. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  29. ^ "Dennis Quaid's wife files for divorce, report says". Fox News. March 9, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Withdraws Divorce Papers". People. May 4, 2012. 
  31. ^ a b "Dennis Quaid Files to Divorce Wife Kimberly Buffington-Quaid". Us Weekly. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Files for Separation Five Months After Pulling Plug on Divorce". E News. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Dennis Quaid & Wife -- Divorce Dismissed ... Now Let's Bike Together!". TMZ.com. September 7, 2013. Archived from the original on September 9, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  34. ^ "Dennis Quaid's Wife Files for Divorce ... Again". TMZ.com. June 28, 2016. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  35. ^ "A Plane Crazy America". AOPA Pilot: 79. May 2014. 
  36. ^ "CNN.com – Transcripts". Transcripts.cnn.com. March 12, 2002. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 

Further reading

  • 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