Quaid in 2020
Dennis William Quaid
April 9, 1954
|Alma mater||University of Houston|
|Children||3, including Jack 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, some of his notable credits include Breaking Away (1979), The Right Stuff (1983), The Big Easy (1986), Innerspace (1987), Great Balls of Fire! (1989), Dragonheart (1996), The Parent Trap (1998), Frequency (2000), Traffic (2000), The Rookie (2002), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Vantage Point (2008), Footloose (2011), Soul Surfer (2011), and The Intruder (2019). For his role in Far from Heaven (2002), he won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor among other accolades. The Guardian named him one of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination.
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. Quaid has English, Irish, Scots-Irish, and Cajun (French) ancestry. 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. 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. 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).
Known for his grin, Quaid has appeared in both comedic and dramatic roles. Quaid had starring roles in the films The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (1981),Jaws 3-D (1983), Dreamscape (1984), 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). In 1989, he also appeared throughout the Bonnie Raitt music video for the song "Thing Called Love."
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 and recovered from a cocaine addiction. He continued to garner positive reviews in a variety of films, however. 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.
Some of Quaid's film credits include Frequency (2000), The Rookie (2002), Far from Heaven (2002), Cold Creek Manor (2003), 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 2012 and 2013, Quaid played Sheriff Ralph Lamb in the CBS TV drama series Vegas.
In March 2018, it was confirmed by director Sean McNamara that Quaid would portray President Ronald Reagan in an upcoming biopic, titled Reagan, this would be the second time Quaid portrayed a U.S. president. The film was slated to have a summer 2019 release, however it is still in pre-production  and was scheduled to begin filming in May 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quaid has been married four times and has three children.
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. Quaid and Ryan have a son, Jack Henry Quaid (born April 24, 1992). Quaid and Ryan announced their separation on June 28, 2000, saying they had been separated six weeks by then. Their divorce was finalized July 16, 2001.
Quaid married Texas real-estate agent Kimberly Buffington, on July 4, 2004, at his ranch in Paradise Valley, Montana. They have fraternal twins who were born via a surrogate on November 8, 2007, in Santa Monica, California.
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. 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. 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. 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 as well as co-authoring a medical journal article addressing the positive influence of patient stories in motivating change in healthcare. The first documentary, Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2010, and the second documentary, Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2012.
Buffington filed for divorce from Quaid in March 2012. Buffington's attorney then withdrew the divorce papers on April 26, 2012. In the summer of 2012, Quaid and Buffington moved to California. 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. 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. They then reconciled and the divorce was dismissed by September 2013. On June 28, 2016, the couple announced in a joint statement that they were divorcing, with Kimberly asking for full physical custody and joint legal custody. The divorce was finalized on April 27, 2018.
On October 21, 2019, Quaid confirmed his engagement to Laura Savoie. They were scheduled to marry on April 4, 2020, but that date was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were married on June 2, 2020, in Santa Barbara.
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. 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.
Quaid began podcasting during 2020. He started The Pet Show with Dennis Quaid and Jimmy Jellinek. Its first episode premiered on July 10, 2020. During that podcast, he learned of a cat in Lynchburg, Virginia also named Dennis Quaid. He adopted the cat and flew it out to California to live at his recording studio.
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."
In a conversation with The New York Post, Quaid stated he was a registered independent and has voted for candidates from both major U.S. political parties. Quaid also expressed his independence from any political party or ideology and being open to other points of view. During the coronavirus pandemic, Quaid stated that President Donald Trump was handling the spreading of the disease well, calling him "involved." Quaid recorded an interview with infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci as part of an advertising campaign by the Department of Health and Human Services to "defeat despair" surrounding COVID-19. Dennis Quaid later denied the ad was political in nature. 
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 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.
|1977||I Never Promised You a Rose Garden||Shark, Baseball Pitcher|
|September 30, 1955||Frank|
|1978||Our Winning Season||Paul Morelli|
|1980||The Long Riders||Ed Miller|
|1981||All Night Long||Freddie Dupler|
|The 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|
|The Right Stuff||Gordon Cooper|
|1985||Enemy Mine||Willis Davidge|
|1987||The Big Easy||Det. Lt. Remy McSwain|
|Innerspace||Lt. Tuck Pendleton|
|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|
|1997||Gang Related||Joe Doe/William|
|1998||The Parent Trap||Nicholas "Nick" Parker|
|Playing by Heart||Hugh|
|1999||Any Given Sunday||Jack 'Cap' Rooney|
|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: The Ernie Davis Story||Ben Schwartzwalder|
|G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra||General Clayton M. Abernathy / Hawk|
|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 King|
|At Any Price||Henry Whipple|
|2013||Movie 43||Charlie Wessler||Segment: "The Pitch"|
|2015||Truth||Col. Roger Charles|
|2017||A Dog's Purpose||Adult Ethan Montgomery|
|2018||I Can Only Imagine||Arthur Millard|
|2019||The Intruder||Charlie Peck|
|A Dog's Journey||Ethan Montgomery|||
|Midway||Vice Admiral William "Bull" Halsey|
|2021||Reagan||President Ronald Reagan||Filming|
|1977||Baretta||Scott Martin||Episode: "The Sky Is Falling"|
|1978||Are You in the House Alone?||Phil Lawver||TV Movie|
|1979||Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill||Roy|
|1982||Johnny Belinda||Kyle Hager|
|1983||Bill: On His Own||Barry Morrow|
|1998||Everything that Rises||Jim Clay||TV Movie, also director |
|2001||Dinner with Friends||Gabe||TV Movie|
|2009||SpongeBob SquarePants||Grandpa Red-Beard||Voice role; Episode: "Grandpappy the Pirate"|
|2010||The Special Relationship||Bill Clinton||TVMovie|
|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"|
|2015-2016||The Art of More||Samuel Brukner||20 episodes|
|2017||Workaholics||Ted Murphy||Episode: "Weed the People"|
|Fortitude||Michael Lennox||10 episodes|
|2019||Goliath||Wade Blackwood||Amazon original series, Season 3|
|Merry Happy Whatever||Don Quinn||Lead role|
|1997||Sesame Street: Kids' Guide to Life video series||Uncle Tommy||Video: "Telling the Truth"|
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.
This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (April 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|1987||Valladolid International Film Festival||Best Lead Actor||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|
|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|
|Toronto Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Performance - Male||Far from Heaven||Nominated|
|2003||Chicago Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Actor||Far from Heaven||Won|
|Gold Derby Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Far from Heaven||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture||Far from Heaven||Nominated|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best Supporting Male||Far from Heaven||Won|
|Online Film Critics Society||Best Supporting Actor||Far from Heaven||Won|
|Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama||Far from Heaven||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role||Far from Heaven||Nominated|
|Vancouver Film Critics Circle||Best Supporting Actor||Far from Heaven||Nominated|
|2010||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||The Special Relationship||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television||The Special Relationship||Nominated|
|2011||Golden Globe Awards||Best Lead Actor in a Motion Picture Made for Television||The Special Relationship||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries||The Special Relationship||Nominated|
|2016||Houston Film Critics Society||Lifetime Achievement ||N/A||Won|
In one video recorded this month, infectious-disease expert Tony Fauci was paired for a conversation with Dennis Quaid...