For more than 35 years, Randy Quaid has delighted filmmakers and fans alike with the range and mobility of his talent, with his adventurous quest to stretch the variety of his characterizations and even with the skill with which he has morphed his appearance. Like the other great-unchained character lead stars of his time, such performers as Gene Hackman, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson, Quaid has been, by turns, dangerous, romantic, tragic and whackily comedic.
Randy was born in Houston to William and Nita Quaid, an electrician and a real-estate agent. While in high school at The Bellaire Academy in Houston, he caught the acting bug. He attended the University of Houston, but dropped out after winning several key parts for director Peter Bogdonavich.
His career started off in award nomination fashion with the fragile, sweet characters he created with telling comedic and dramatic expertise in such films as Last Detail, The (1973) (Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination), Last Picture Show, The (1971), Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, The (1974) and Midnight Express (1978). His ability to create the lovable oddball was perhaps never better expressed than in his work as one of the four lead stars of a film which quickly became the biggest money-making movie success of all time, Independence Day (1996). As the tormented crop duster who eventually saves the world, Quaid created one of Hollywood's most memorable portrayals of unlikely heroism.
At the same time, he has proven an actor of dominating and even intimidating strength, most memorably in his Emmy Award-nominated and Golden Globe winning television performance as Lyndon Baines Johnson in the heralded production of LBJ: The Early Years (1987) (TV)and his portrayal of Randy Weaver in Siege at Ruby Ridge, The (1996) (TV). His portrayal of Blanche DuBois' suitor in Streetcar Named Desire, A (1984) (TV), exhibited Quaid's way with a role of touching pathos.
Quaid attempted to return to series television with David E. Kelley's The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire, (2003), the series was short-lived on CBS.
In 1989, Randy married model Evi Motalaner. It is his second marriage. He was previously married to Ella Jolly; they had 1 daughter--Amanda Marie. He is the older brother of actor, Dennis Quaid (by about 3.5 years).