Far From Heaven
“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
An actor since the 1970s, Dennis Quaid gained recognition for his brilliant scene-stealing role of Frank Whitaker in Todd Haynes’ Academy Award nominee Far From Heaven (2002), for which he picked up a New York Film Critics Circle Award, a Chicago Film Critics Award, an Online Film Critics Society Award, an Independent Spirit Award, as well as earned nominations at the Golden Globe and Screen Actor Guild Awards. Rising to prominence as a high school jock in the Oscar winner for Best Screenplay Breaking Away (1979), Quaid, with his killer smile, rocky good looks and well-defined physique, turned the heads of film critics for his excellent portrayal of homicide Louisiana detective Remy McSwain in The Big Easy (1987). As a result, he was garnered with a 1988 Independent Spirit Award. He is also well-remembered for delivering fine turns in such films as The Long Riders (1980), The Right Stuff (1983), Everybody's All-American (1988), Great Balls of Fire (1989), Lawrence Kasdan’s epic Wyatt Earp (1994), Something to Talk About (1995), the well-received Any Given Sunday (1998), the hit Frequency (2000), Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic (2000, won a Screen Actors Guild Award), the critically acclaimed Dinner With Friends (2001, TV) and The Rookie (2002).
Fans can also watch the actor in the more recent and upcoming Cold Creek Manor (2003, with Sharon Stone), The Alamo (2004, opposite Billy Bob Thornton), the big budget The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Paul Weitz’ In Good Company (2004), the remake of Flight of the Phoenix (2004), the comedy Yours, Mine and Ours (2005, also with Rene Russo), American Dreamz (2006) and Shame on You (2006, also serves as a director and writer).
Off screen, the award-winning actor received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 16, 2005. About 300 friends and coworkers, including Topher Grace, Quaid’s co-star in the film In Good Company, attended the ceremony. Quaid is also a humanitarian and has taken part in a number of charities. He works with the charity International Hospital for Children in New Orleans and makes trips to Central America to help build medical clinics and transport sick children back to the United States for treatment they cannot get locally. Quaid is also a golfer, and in 2005, he was listed as the top golfer among the “Hollywood Set” by Golf Digest.
As for his private life, the 52-year-old actor has been married three times. He married actress P J Soles in 1978, but the couple divorced in 1983. In 1991, Quaid began a new family with actress Meg Ryan, but again his marriage ended up in divorce in 2001. Currently, the father of a son named Jack Quaid (born in 1992, mother Meg Ryan), Quaid is the husband of real-state agent Kimberly Buffington, whom he married in 2004. 6’ 2” Quaid was also romantically involved with actress Lea Thompson (lived together for four years), Shanna Moakler (dated in 2001), Cynthia Garrett and Anna Poche (both in 2002).
Childhood and Family:
On April 9, 1954, Dennis William Quaid was born in Houston, Texas, where he was also raised. His father is William Rudy Quaid (aka Buddy Quaid), an electrical contractor, and his mother is Juanita Bonniedale Jordan, a real-estate agent. His parents divorced when Dennis was in high school. Dennis has one older brother, actor Randy Quaid (born October 1, 1950), and his half brother, Buddy Quaid (born on November 26, 1974), is also an actor.
After starting acting while studying at Bellaire High School, Dennis next followed in his older brother’s footsteps to study drama at the University of Houston. After a successful performance with the college production of “Bus Stop” (1974), Dennis decided to leave his studies and took off for Hollywood to give acting a try.
While on the set of Our Winning Season (1978), Dennis met and fell in love with 28-year-old actress P J Soles and the couple soon married. However, after a five-year relationship, the couple became estranged and filed for divorce in 1983. A few years after the separation, Dennis was involved with actress Meg Ryan and they announced their engagement in 1989, but his problems with drugs and alcohol put a stop to marrying the beautiful actress. Successfully kicking off his addictions in 1990, Dennis and Ryan tied the knot on the Valentines Day the following year. During the 1990s, Dennis and Meg were considered one of the more stable couples in Hollywood. However, the pair shocked the public when they declared their separation in June 2000. Dennis legally divorced his wife of nine years on July 16, 2001. Dennis and Ryan share a son named Jack Quaid (born on April 24, 1992). 50-year-old Dennis next married a 32-year-old Texas real-state agent named Kimberly Buffington, on July 4, 2004.
“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 am happier with my life now then 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.” Dennis Quaid
The Big Easy
A Houston native, Dennis Quaid began his career as an impressionist performing in local nightclubs when he was 15. After acting in high school productions, Quaid went on to perform with the University of Houston. As he scored a success with the 1974 production of “Bus Stop,” Quaid subsequently dropped out of college, then headed for Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. At first, it wasn’t easy for Quaid to find work. He supported himself by taking such jobs as an amusement park clown and a singing waiter before receiving the tiny role of a bellhop in Jonathan Demme’s Crazy Mama (1975). A year later, his part in The Missouri Breaks ended up on the cutting floor.
After a string of small roles in James Bridges’ drama September 30, 1955 (1977), I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977), Our Winning Season (1978), The Seniors (1978), and early TV appearances in Are You in the House Alone (1978) and Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill (1979), Quad’s efforts finally blossomed when he was cast as the frustrated Midwestern teenager, Mike, in the acclaimed Breaking Away (1979), starring opposite Dennis Christopher. The Oscar winning film for Best Screenplay brought the actor attention from Hollywood.
Quaid got the first chance to costar with his brother Randy in Walter Hill’s The Long Riders (1980), but after the fine performance, he was fenced in low-rated films like Gorp (1980), The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (1981) and Jaws 3-D (1983). Quaid then earned positive reviews as cocksure astronaut Gordon Cooper in The Right Stuff (1983), costarring Sam Shepard and Ed Harris.
In 1987, Quaid’s career received a boost with his romantic turn as New Orleans detective Remy McSwain in the Jim McBride-helmed The Big Easy. Starring opposite Ellen Barkin, Quaid’s performance was so outstanding that the Independent Spirit handed him a Best Actor award.
The Independent Spirit winner followed it up with such good turns as an ex-high school football star in Everybody's All-American (1988) and temperamental rock great Jerry Lee Lewis in the biopic Great Balls of Fire (1989), for director Jim McBride. Despite critically acclaimed performances, the films were certified box office disasters. After the supporting role of mischievously, charming cad Jack Faulkner, opposite Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep, in Postcards from the Edge (1990), Quaid took a two-year, self-imposed hiatus from filmmaking.
Quaid made his return in 1993 with three movies, Wilder Napalm, Undercover Blues and Flesh and Bone. The following year saw the actor lose up to 40 pounds to portray Doc Holliday (character had tuberculosis) in Lawrence Kasdan’s epic Wyatt Earp (1994). Though the feature failed to find a large audience, many critics praised Quaid’s performance. He next starred as the adulterous husband of Julia Roberts’ character in the likeable comedy-drama Something to Talk About (1995) and the medieval knight Bowen in the unsuccessful big-budget fantasy Dragonheart (1996). Quaid stepped back into box office duds with Gang Related (1997), Switchback (1997) and Savior (1998). In 1998, he costarred with Natasha Richardson in the remake of Disney’s The Parent Trap, joined Sean Connery and Angelina Jolie in Playing by Heart, and starred in, as well as made his directorial debut, in the made-for-TV film Everything That Rises. By the end of decade, Quaid’s career heated up once again with his meaty role in the well-received film Any Given Sunday, where he played a past-his-prime football quarterback. The Oliver Stone’s pro-football drama also starred Al Pacino and Cameron Diaz.
Entering the new millennium, Quaid’s popularity continued to rise when he received offers to play Frank Sullivan, the long-dead firefighting father of a modern detective in the hit Frequency (2000). The same year, he took home a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by the Cast for the Steven Soderbergh-directed Traffic (2000), starring Benicio Del Toro. On the small screen, Quaid landed a costarring role in the critically acclaimed television film Dinner with Friends (2001). Back to the big screen, Quaid scored a hit with the drama-family film The Rookie (2002), where he was cast in the starring role of middle-aged high school baseball coach Jimmy Morris.
Another big breakthrough also arrived in 2002 when he was hired to support Julianne Moore as Frank Whitaker in Todd Haynes’ Oscar contender Far From Heaven. Due to his virtuoso performance, Quaid was handed a New York Film Critics Circle, a Chicago Film Critics, an Online Film Critics Society and an Independent Spirit award for Best Supporting Actor. He also received a Screen Actor Guild and a Golden Globe nomination.
From 2003-2005, Quaid added six more movies to his resume. He was first paired with Sharon Stone in Mike Figgis’ crafty, but commercially lacking, take on the haunted house thriller in Cold Creek Manor (2003), and then starred as legendary Lone Star maverick Sam Houston in The Alamo (2004) with Billy Bob Thornton. He next was seen as an climatologist who attempts to discover a way to save the world from abrupt global warming in director Roland Emmerich’s big budget disaster film The Day After Tomorrow (2004), found himself acting opposite Scarlett Johansson and Topher Grace in the comedy In Good Company (2004, directed by Paul Weitz), starred as Capt. Frank Towns in Flight of the Phoenix (2004) and was cast in the lead role of a widower Coast Guard Admiral with eight children, who marries a widow with her own brood of eight, in the comedy Yours, Mine and Ours (2005), opposite Rene Russo. In 2006, Quaid can add the Paul Weitz-helmed/scripted comedy film American Dreamz (2006) and Shame on You (2006) to his long impressive acting resume. The latter also gives Quaid additional credits as a director and writer.