Quaid, Dennis 1954–
QUAID, Dennis 1954–
Full name, Dennis William Quaid; born April 9, 1954, in Houston, TX; son of William Rudy (an electrician) and Juanita B. "Nita" (a real estate agent) Quaid; brother of Randy Quaid (an actor); married P. J. Soles (an actress), November 24, 1978 (divorced, 1983); married Meg Ryan (an actress), February 14, 1991 (divorced, July 16, 2001); children: (second marriage) Jack Henry. Education: Attended the University of Houston, 1972–75. Avocational Interests: Fishing, horseback riding, golfing, aviation.
Addresses: Agent— William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Publicist— Wolf/Kasteler Public Relations, 335 North Maple Dr., Suite 351, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
Career: Actor. Member of the rock bands the Eclectics and Dennis Quaid and the Sharks. Founder (with Cathleen Summers) of Summers/Quaid Productions, 1989; appeared in public service announcements. Also worked as a stand–up comedian, clown, singing waiter, and encyclopedia salesperson.
Awards, Honors: Independent Spirit Award, best male lead, 1988, for The Big Easy; Screen Actors Guild Award (with others), outstanding performance by the cast of a theatrical motion picture, 2001, for Traffic; Saturn Award, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, best supporting actor, and Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actor—suspense, both 2001, for Frequency; New York Film Critics Circle Award, best supporting actor, 2002, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, best supporting actor, Independent Spirit Award, best supporting male, Online Film Critics Society Award, best supporting actor, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role, and Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role—drama, all 2003, all for Far from Heaven.
Bellhop, Crazy Mama, New World Pictures, 1975.
(Scenes deleted) The Missouri Breaks, United Artists, 1976.
Pitcher, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, New World Pictures, 1977.
Alan, The Seniors (also known as The Senior ), Cinema Shares, 1978.
Frank, September 30, 1955 (also known as 9/30/55 and 24 Hours of the Rebel ), Universal, 1978.
Paul Fleishauer, Our Winning Season, American International Pictures, 1978.
Mike, Breaking Away (also known as Bambino ), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1979.
Ed Miller, The Long Riders, United Artists, 1980.
Mad Grossman, G.O.R.P. (also known as Gorp ), Filmways, 1980.
Freddie Dupler, All Night Long, Universal, 1981.
Lar, Caveman, United Artists, 1981.
Travis Child, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Avco–Embassy, 1981.
Art Long, Tough Enough, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1983.
Mercury astronaut Captain Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr. (also known as Gordo and Hot Dog), The Right Stuff, Warner Bros., 1983.
Michael "Mike" Brody, Jaws 3–D (also known as Jaws 3 and Jaws III ), Universal, 1983.
Alex Gardner, Dreamscape, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1984.
Willis Davidge, Enemy Mine, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1985.
Detective Remy McSwain, The Big Easy, Columbia, 1987.
Eddie Sanger, Suspect, TriStar, 1987.
Lieutenant Tuck Pendelton, Innerspace, Warner Bros., 1987.
Dexter Cornell, D.O.A., Buena Vista, 1988.
Gavin Grey, Everybody's All–American (also known as When I Fall in Love ), Warner Bros., 1988.
Jerry Lee Lewis, Great Balls of Fire!, Orion, 1989.
Jack Faulkner, Postcards from the Edge, Columbia, 1990.
Jack McGurn, Come See the Paradise, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1990.
Arlis Sweeney, Flesh and Bone, Paramount, 1993.
Jefferson "Jeff" Blue, Undercover Blues (also known as Cloak and Diaper ), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1993.
Wallace Foudroyant/Biff the Clown, Wilder Napalm, TriStar, 1993.
John "Doc" Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Warner Bros., 1994.
Edward "Eddie" Bichon, Something to Talk About (also known as The Game of Love, Grace under Pressure, The King of Carolina, and Sisters ), Warner Bros., 1995.
Bowen, Dragonheart, Universal, 1996.
Agent Frank LaCrosse, Switchback (also known as Going West and Going West in America ), Paramount, 1997.
William "Joe Doe" McCall, Gang Related (also known as Criminal Intent ), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/Orion, 1997.
Hugh, Playing by Heart (also known as Dancing about Architecture, If They Only Knew, and Intermedia ), Miramax, 1998.
Joshua Rose and Guy, Savior, Initial Entertainment Group, 1998.
Nicholas "Nick" Parker, The Parent Trap (also known as Disney's The Parent Trap ), Buena Vista, 1998.
Jack "Cap" Rooney, Any Given Sunday (also known as Gridiron, The League, Monday Night, On Any Given Sunday, and Playing Hurt ), Warner Bros., 1999.
Arnie Metzger, Traffic (also known as Traffic—Die Macht des Kartells ), USA Films, 2000.
Frank Sullivan, Frequency, New Line Cinema, 2000.
Himself, The Science & Technology behind "Frequency " (documentary), 2000.
Stranger Than the Wheel, 2001.
Frank Whitaker, Far from Heaven (also known as Loin du paradis ), Focus Features, 2002.
James "Jim/Jimmy" Morris, Jr., The Rookie, Buena Vista, 2002.
Cooper Tilson, Cold Creek Manor, Buena Vista, 2003.
Himself, Realizing "The Right Stuff " (documentary), Warner Bros., 2003.
Gordon Cooper, T–20 Years and Counting (documentary short film), Warner Bros., 2003.
General Sam Houston, The Alamo, Buena Vista, 2004.
Professor Jack Hall (some sources cite Professor Adrian Hall), The Day after Tomorrow, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2004.
The Flight of the Phoenix, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2004.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Phil Lawver, Are You in the House Alone?, CBS, 1978.
Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill, NBC, 1979.
Barry Morrow, Bill, CBS, 1981.
Kyle Hager, Johnny Belinda, CBS, 1982.
Barry Morrow, Bill: On His Own, CBS, 1983.
Lie down with Lions (also known as Red Eagle ), Lifetime, 1990.
Jim Clay, Everything That Rises, TNT, 1998.
Gabe, Dinner with Friends, HBO, 2001.
Television Appearances; Specials:
"The Big Bang" (also known as "Robert Wuhl's The Big Bang"), Cinemax Comedy Experiment, Cinemax, 1986.
Texas 150: A Celebration Special, ABC, 1986.
The Neville Brothers: Tell It Like It Is, Cinemax, 1989.
Himself, A Century of Cinema (documentary; also known as Hollywood Stars: A Century of Cinema ), The Disney Channel, 1994.
Host, The Blue Angels, Arts and Entertainment, 1994.
Narrator, Panama Canal: The Eighth Wonder of the World (documentary), The Discovery Channel, 1998.
Himself, Full Contact: The Making of "Any Given Sunday " (documentary), 1999.
Himself, Inside Traffic: The Making of "Traffic " (documentary), 2000.
Himself, The Making of "Far From Heaven " (documentary), 2002.
Performer, American Bandstand's 50th Anniversary Celebration, 2002.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
Presenter, The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1989.
Presenter, The 11th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, Nickelodeon, 1998.
Screen Actors Guild Fourth Annual Awards, 1998.
Himself, 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.
Presenter, The 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2000.
Himself, The 2002 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards, Independent Film Channel, 2002.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Scott Martin, "The Sky Is Falling," Baretta, ABC, 1977.
Guest host, Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, and SNL ), NBC, 1990.
The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2001.
Himself, Muppets Tonight!, ABC, 1997.
Himself, The View, ABC, 2000 and 2002.
Himself in archive footage of Jaws 3–D, Jaws: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2002.
Himself, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2002.
Also appeared as himself, Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo; and as himself, Telenoticias.
Television Work; Movies:
Director and executive producer, Everything That Rises, TNT, 1998.
Uncle Jocko, Gypsy, community theatre production, c. 1970.
Tom, The Last of the Knucklemen, American Theatre of Actors, 1983.
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Avco–Embassy, 1981.
Tough Enough, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1983.
(Uncredited) "Closer to You," The Big Easy, Columbia, 1987.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James Press, 1996.
American Film, June, 1989.
Cosmopolitan, August, 1998, p. 188; June, 1994.
Entertainment Weekly, May 12, 2000, pp. 40–42; February 16, 2001, p. 104; April 19, 2002, pp. 32–34; December 20, 2002, p. 83.
Interview, June, 1989, p. 42.
New York Times, November 6, 1988.
Parade Magazine, July 5, 1998, p. 22; December 14, 2003, pp. 6–7.
People Weekly, July 13, 1998, p. 27; August 17, 1998, p. 110; July 17, 2000, pp. 82–83; April 15, 2002, pp. 63–64.
Playboy, December, 1987, p. 128.
Premiere, August, 1989, p. 46.
Rolling Stone, July 13, 1989, p. 118.
Texas Monthly, June, 2000, p. 204.
Time, November 18, 2002, pp. 131–32.
Vogue, November, 1993.
Nationality: American Born: Houston, Texas, 9 April 1954; younger brother of the actor Randy Quaid. Education: Attended public school in Houston; and the University of Houston, which he left before graduating. Family: Married 1) the actress P. J. Soles (divorced); 2) the actress Meg Ryan, 1991, son: Jack Henry. Career: 1975—film debut in Crazy Mama; 1983—stage debut, off-Broadway, The Last of the Knucklemen, followed by stage work in both New York and Los Angeles (including True West, 1984); has also written songs; played piano and guitar, and sung with his band, the Eclectics; 1989—formed Summers/Quaid Productions with Cathleen Summers. Agent: International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.
Films as Actor:
Crazy Mama (Jonathan Demme) (as extra)
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (Page); 9/30/55 (September 30, 1955; 24 Hours of the Rebel) (Bridges) (as Frank)
Are You in the House Alone? (Grauman—for TV); The Seniors (Amateau) (as Alan); Our Winning Season (Ruben)(as Paul Morelli)
Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill (Schumacher—for TV); Breaking Away (Yates) (as Mike)
Gorp (Ruben) (as Mad Grossman); The Long Riders (Walter Hill) (as Ed Miller)
All Night Long (Tramont) (as Freddie Dupler); Caveman(Gottlieb) (as Lar); The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (Maxwell) (as Travis Child); Bill (Page—for TV)(as Barry Morrow)
Johnny Belinda (Harvey—for TV) (as Kyle)
Bill: On His Own (Page—for TV) (as Barry Morrow); Jaws 3-D (Jaws III) (Alves) (as Mike Brody); The Right Stuff(Kaufman) (as Gordon "Gordo" Cooper); Tough Enough(Fleischer) (as Art Long)
Dreamscape (Ruben) (as Alex Gardner)
Enemy Mine (Petersen) (as Davidge)
The Big Easy (McBride) (as Remy McSwain); Innerspace(Dante) (as Lt. Tuck Pendleton); Suspect (Yates) (as Eddie Sanger)
D.O.A. (Morton and Jankel) (as Dexter Cornell); Everybody's All-American (Hackford) (as Gavin Grey)
Great Balls of Fire! (McBride) (as Jerry Lee Lewis)
Flesh and Bone (Kloves) (as Arlis Sweeney); Undercover Blues (Ross) (as Jeff Blue); Wilder Napalm (Caron) (as Wallace Foudroyant)
Wyatt Earp (Kasdan) (as Doc Holliday)
Something to Talk About (Hallström) (as Eddie Bichon)
Dragonheart (Cohen) (as Bowen)
Gang Related (Kouf) (as William); Switchback (Stuart) (as Frank LaCrosse)
The Parent Trap (Nancy Meyers) (as Nick Parker); Panama Canal: The Eighth Wonder of the World (Vink—for TV)(as Narrator); Savior (Antonijevic) (as Joshua Rose/Guy);Everything That Rises (as Jim Clay + dir, exec prod—for TV)
Any Given Sunday (Stone) (as Jack "Cap" Rooney)
Frequency (Hoblit) (as Frank Sullivan)
By QUAID: articles—
"When Dennis Met Meg," interview with George Kalogerakis, in Vogue (New York), November 1993.
"The (Almost) Born-Again Dennis Quaid," interview with Nancy Mills, in Cosmopolitan, June 1994.
"Dennis the Menaced," interview with Steve Grant, in Time Out (London), 9 October 1996.
On QUAID: book—
Birnbaum, Gail, Dennis Quaid, New York, 1988.
On QUAID: articles—
Taylor, Clarke, "Dennis Quaid: A Quandary at a Career Crossroads," in Los Angeles Times, 2 January 1984.
Seeley, David, "Dennis, Anyone?," in Playboy (Chicago), December 1987.
Haskell, Molly, "Sympathy for the Devilish: Hollywood's New Man—Not Afraid of Women," in Vogue (New York), March 1988.
Hoban, Phoebe, "The Quintessential Dennis Quaid," in Cosmopolitan, March 1988.
Greene, Bob, "Getting Quaid," in Esquire (New York), April 1988.
Norman, Michael, "Dennis Quaid Can't Sit Still: A Young Actor Rocks on the Cusp of Stardom," in New York Times Magazine, 6 November 1988.
Tosches, Nick, "Playing the Killer," in Vogue (New York), July 1989.
Natale, Richard, "Lose 43 Pounds. Ride a Horse. Emote. Just Another Day at the OK Corral," in Los Angeles Times, 19 June 1994.
Draper, R., "The Tao of Dennis," in Premier (Boulder), February 1995.
* * *
Dennis Quaid is consummately a genre actor. His career alternates comedies, musicals, and Westerns with sci-fi films, neo-films noir, and melodramas. He thus works in a frame of Hollywood tradition: twice over, in that his physical form—tall, well-muscled yet lithe, with a trademark grin—echoes not his immediate "New Hollywood" predecessors but much earlier Hollywood leading men. Connecting to an even older tradition, Quaid specializes in men on quests. But he brings a responsiveness and humor to his adventurers which marks them as products of his feminist-influenced times.
His acting style itself injects a contemporary note. He works avidly to make his characters' contours and capacities part of his body: he learned to fly to play an astronaut, pounded a piano hours a day to play a rock star, gained 40 pounds for one role, lost 40 for another. In this Quaid is a quintessential "post-Method" actor. Whatever his personal take on Lee Strasberg's Method (which the New York Times Magazine reports he "will mention" but not "intellectualize"), his devotion, first, to "living" his parts, and, second, to transforming conventions demonstrates his embrace of the Method's two central precepts—which have exceeded their roots in the teachings of Stanislavski and Strasberg and permeated Hollywood since the 1950s.
The conjunction of new techniques in acting—and in filmmaking overall—with established story structures makes Dennis Quaid's movies entertaining. Unfortunately, in Hollywood at a time when stars are defined by their ability to carry blockbuster franchises, usually through many sequels, Quaid's versatility may have kept him from becoming the superstar he seemed primed to become in the late 1980s. Nonetheless he has worked quite steadily since the late 1970s. The first phase of Quaid's career found him moving from bit parts to large supporting roles in a string of youth sex comedies and melodramas; in 1979, he got his first real notice as the angriest young man in Breaking Away. Over the next four years he worked at a middle level in television films and features, in some well-received projects (The Long Riders, Bill) and some misses (Caveman, Jaws 3-D).
In 1983 he found the wellspring of the adventurer type he would come to embody, with the role of cocky, intense but relaxed space traveler "Gordo" Cooper in The Right Stuff (one of three biopics in Quaid's catalog). Between 1984 and 1990 Quaid became a full-fledged leading man, playing the searcher in cycles of sci-fi films (Dreamscape, Enemy Mine, Innerspace), and perverse crime stories (The Big Easy, Suspect, D.O.A.). Easy made him a heartthrob of the moment, as his corrupt but charming police detective set out on a quest across the landscape of uptight female sexuality in the person of Ellen Barkin. Quaid's next two films also grapple with harsh romance. The aging athlete of Everybody's All-American seems a later chapter in the coming-of-age sports melodramas Quaid had done in his early days. Playing Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls of Fire! similarly followed from Quaid's previous, lesser-known country-rock musicals (Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Tough Enough), bringing on-screen his talents for singing and songwriting.
But neither All-American nor Fire! were huge hits, perhaps in part because they both concern pioneering heroes who fail as much as they succeed. Come See the Paradise resembled some of Quaid's previous work with its theme of cross-racial inclusivity (Enemy Mine)—but its questioning of U.S. wartime policies did not match the tenor of the Gulf War. After taking two years off to kick cocaine, get married, and have a son, Quaid returned with three leading roles in 1993, the most well-reviewed being the country noir Flesh and Bone which co-starred his wife, Meg Ryan. Quaid turned to supporting roles for two years (it was to play tubercular Doc Holliday in Wyatt Earp that he lost 40 pounds). Dragonheart put him back at center stage, literalizing Quaid's affinity for his cardinal genre, the knight's quest, as revved up with state-of-the-art special effects, in an attempt to reunite a fine actor with box-office success.