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Whatever Happened To Randy Quaid?

Randy Quaid has undoubtedly lived one of the craziest lives of any Hollywood actor. With a few iconic roles to his name but far more scandals and controversies, Quaid's time as a movie star is behind him. He hasn't been doing much acting in recent years but he has remained extremely vocal online, and he frequently takes to social media to espouse conspiracy theories and MAGA political talking points.

Nowadays, Quaid's acting career is practically non-existent, but what happened? Quaid torpedoed his own career after years of terrible decision-making, blaming his problems on others like Rupert Murdoch and a shadowy group of assassins that only exists in his mind. Let's walk through his self-implosion downfall step by step, but be warned, the story takes a few wild turns and leads to some decidedly not-safe-for-work places. It's a bumpy ride, so strap in as we explore whatever happened to Randy Quaid. 

He squandered the potential of his early roles

If you are familiar with modern-day Randy Quaid's antics, it can be easy to forget that he was a genuinely talented actor back in the early days of his movie career. His first few roles were in classics like "The Last Picture Show," "Paper Moon," and "The Last Detail," the latter of which earned him the only Oscar nomination of his career.

Later on, Quaid became best known as Cousin Eddie in the "Vacation" series. Though even success led to the abysmal "Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure," which bumped him up from side character to leading man with disastrous results. He had a couple of high-profile roles in the '90s — namely "Kingpin" and "Independence Day" — but Quaid's career was all but over before the end of the following decade. Rather than being the result of poor role choices, Quaid's personal life was what caused the end of his career.

His little brother surpassed him in stardom

Randy Quaid's younger brother is fellow actor Dennis Quaid. The two played brothers on screen in "The Long Riders" in 1980 which was one of Dennis Quaid's first substantial film roles. Aside from some stage work and a TV project that wasn't picked up, the two never acted together again.

Dennis slowly rose to become the bigger star, and his career continued chugging along while Randy's took a nosedive. Dennis hasn't been completely without controversy — such as his stint in rehab to deal with cocaine addiction (via People) — but he never went off the deep end like his brother and managed to maintain a reasonable public image. Despite Randy's frequent public statements attempting to rope his famous brother into his controversies, Dennis has largely kept his head down and avoided commenting on his brother's actions beyond saying that he misses him.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Quaid versus Focus Features

In 2006, Randy Quaid sued Focus Features over the movie "Brokeback Mountain," in which he played a supporting role. Quaid claimed that he was lied to about both the film's budget and its expected earning potential at the box office and felt misled when it ended up becoming an Oscar winner and grossing over $178 million worldwide. Quaid's goal with the lawsuit was to get an additional $10 million or more out of the studio on top of the pay he had already received.

"Brokeback Mountain" was released in 2005, and his career hit the skids shortly afterward. The producers and studio fought back, considering the lawsuit nonsensical. Quaid eventually dropped the suit without settlement. After rumors began circulating that Quaid was paid off in a backroom deal, Focus Features' attorneys released a statement saying, "Focus Features never negotiated, offered or agreed to any settlement agreement with Mr. Quaid or his attorneys, but we are happy to put this behind us, and do wish Mr. Quaid all the best." (via Deadline)

His first arrest

Randy Quaid's first major crime took place in 2009. Non-coincidentally, 2009 was also the year his career dead-ended after his then-final supporting performance in the straight-to-video comedy "Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach."

Alongside his wife Evi, Quaid was arrested on charges of conspiracy, burglary, and defrauding an innkeeper (per CBS News). The Quaids racked up a $10,000 hotel bill in California and fled to Texas (Randy's home state) without paying, which led to a felony warrant for their arrest. After the arrest, Randy was driven by the police to a bank where he withdrew $40,000 in cash to pay bail, leading to some questioning how he was able to easily produce $40,000 after being unable or unwilling to pay the original $10,000 bill. The felony charges were eventually dropped after Evi accepted a plea deal (as reported by CNN). In exchange for the dropped charges, she was sentenced to community service and three years of probation.

The previous year, Randy had gotten himself a lifetime ban from Actors' Equity over his unacceptable behavior during a stage play, which also led to Evi getting into a violent fight with an elderly receptionist (per Vulture).

More felony charges

Just one year after their first felony charges, Randy and Evi Quaid found themselves staring down another, this time for squatting, residential burglary, and extensive vandalism in excess of $5,000 worth of damages (per CNN). The Quaid couple were found squatting in a guest house on the property of a home they used to own in Montecito, California, but had sold several years prior. They claimed to still own the home despite clear documentation proving that they did not.

The couple was arrested but managed to post bail. When they were due to appear in court, they failed to show up and could not be located by law enforcement. The Quaids disappeared and would not surface again in the U.S. until five years later when they were arrested in the state of Vermont. Randy and Evi were each held on a $500,000 bail and now had to face a fugitive from justice charge too for evading arrest for five years (as reported by CTV News).

His time as a fugitive on the run

When the Quaids skipped out on their mandated court appearance for their felony charges, they went on the run and crossed the border into Canada, where they remained for about five years (per CNN). Extradition efforts were set in motion to send the Quaids back to California to face their charges, but they managed to evade responsibility by claiming to be asylum seekers.

The Quaids claimed that they were fleeing for their lives under fear of assassination from "the Hollywood star whackers." The Canadian government granted them a temporary stay in the country, which they tried to extend by applying for Canadian citizenship. Randy's application was denied and he was facing deportation, so the couple went on the run again.

They were caught crossing the Canadian border into Vermont and were detained with their bail set at $500,000 each, which they were unable to pay. The couple caught a lucky break when a Vermont judge dropped their fugitive from justice charges and denied extradition attempts to send them back to California. This strangely lenient judge even released them without any bail whatsoever, citing a lack of probable cause on their charges (as reported by ABC News).

The Hollywood star whackers

With his acting career over, Randy Quaid has become well-known as a conspiracy theorist. His most persistent conspiracy is what he dubbed "the Hollywood star whackers." Quaid claims that a shadowy group of assassins are employed by powerful people in Hollywood to sabotage and murder movie stars. The Hollywood star whackers were the group that the Quaids pointed to when they fled to Canada as asylum seekers to avoid their felony charges in California.

Evi Quaid told the press, "Hollywood is murdering its movie stars for ad sales." She also said that Randy feared for his own life and worried that he would be assassinated by "the murderous people in Hollywood. Accountants and lawyers — embezzlers." The Quaids have cited the deaths of actors Heath Ledger and David Carradine as examples of actors murdered by the Hollywood star whackers, both of whom Randy knew personally. The Quaids also told Vanity Fair that Robert Blake, Lindsay Lohan, Jeremy Piven, and Britney Spears were other victims of the star whackers' sabotage.

His connection to Donald Trump and election misinformation

Randy Quaid is an extremely vocal supporter of Donald Trump, both during his presidency and to this day. Following Joe Biden's presidential win in the 2020 election, Quaid began promoting a new conspiracy theory alongside his pre-existing Hollywood star whackers and fake news conspiracies. Quaid has and continues to perpetuate the claims of voter fraud and election rigging while also claiming that Trump won the 2020 election and had the presidency stolen from him.

Donald Trump was more than welcoming of his support and has interacted extensively with Quaid over Twitter. Trump even retweeted and quote-tweeted multiple messages and videos of Quaid incoherently shouting election misinformation while putting on strange, fake voices. Beyond the fraudulent content, Quaid's manner in the videos is bizarre and unsettling with him screaming ominous statements like "a day of reckoning is nigh!" (per NBC News), none of which stopped Trump from retweeting him and thanking Quaid for the support.

Quaid continues to tweet about Trump, election misinformation, and other MAGA political topics like Trump freeing the "political hostages" who stormed the Capital during the January 6 insurrection. The Independent went as far as to call Quaid "the President's unofficial spokesman" following their extensive online interactions.

The Rupert Murdoch video

In one bizarre and, frankly, disturbing video, Randy and Evi acted out a sex act on camera while incorporating a paper mask of Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire chairman and CEO of News Corporation. The video was posted to Quaid's personal YouTube and Vid.me pages until the former removed the video for violating its anti-bullying policy and the latter shut down its servers entirely.

In the video, Randy appears without pants while Evi wears a bathing suit. Evi puts on a mask of Rupert Murdoch, and the two proceed to pantomime sex while Randy shouts Murdoch's name. The Quaids frame the sex act as a form of retaliation against Murdoch for slandering them in the press. In addition to Rupert Murdoch, Randy also directly calls out Bruce Berman, a Warner Brothers executive and the CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures. 

Quaid accuses Berman of stealing his house — presumably the same residence that Randy and Evi were charged with felonies for squatting in and vandalizing. Randy also claims in the video, "Warner Brothers even had my wife and I arrested six times by TMZ." He does not elaborate on how or why he thinks Warner Brothers could do this or why he thinks TMZ has the power to arrest anybody. After uploading this fake sex video, the Quaids went on to release multiple hardcore sex tapes combining unsimulated sex with their Rupert Murdoch and Hollywood star whackers conspiracy theories.

His wild documentary

The persistent conspiracy theory pushed by Randy and Evi Quaid is the Hollywood star whackers nonsense. The conspiracy theory became the subject of a documentary made by the Quaids in 2011, except it isn't really a documentary at all. There are no interviews and there is no proof or even any coherent explanation of the conspiracy theory. Instead, the work resembles an experimental dramatization of what the Quaids claim happened to them, which includes Randy being shot and killed out in the desert, only to be magically healed and brought back to life moments later.

The "documentary" was titled "Star Whackers: A Comedy of Terrors" and was directed by Evi while Randy wrote the script and plays almost every character. Beyond the conspiracy theory at the heart of it being total baseless nonsense, the supposed documentary is even more unhinged than one might expect. Randy spends the vast majority of the hour-and-a-half-long video in the nude and is even visibly aroused and touching himself at points. The bulk of the runtime is spent showing Randy run around the desert nude, quoting Shakespeare and rambling incoherently, playing with animal bones, shooting real guns, and getting too close for comfort with the local wildlife — such as when he stops to watch two horses have sex or when he puts a live pony into a headlock while it squeals in pain. Unsurprisingly, this pseudo-documentary never received any sort of official distribution.

Re-selling an old movie

The film "The Debtors" was directed by Evi Quaid all the way back in 1999, and it stars Randy Quaid alongside Michael Caine and Catherine McCormack. After a few small, free screenings, the movie never had an official release and even though the budget was over $13 million, the box office return was a non-existent $0. Randy and Evi Quaid were alone in wanting to release the movie, as the reactions to the handful of screenings that took place were so disastrous that everyone else involved vowed to shelve the film entirely. The behind-the-scenes squabble over releasing the film even led to a court mandate that legally prohibited the Quaids from showing the film. As producers, the Quaids took a big financial hit, and they filed for bankruptcy the following year.

For everyone else involved, the story of "The Debtors" was buried then, but not for the Quaids. In 2022, Randy Quaid began attempting to sell the film on Twitter. Given the court mandate and all of the other producers and investors involved, Quaid might not be legally in the clear to independently sell the movie online, but he is trying anyway. Quaid has made "The Debtors" available to purchase for $5 through DaCast, which is primarily a live-streaming service and is in no way a professional platform to distribute a feature film on. The $5 charge only gives the viewer access to the movie for one hour, which means each person attempting to watch the entire movie would need to purchase it twice.

His unhinged YouTube channel

Randy Quaid has a personal YouTube channel under the name Quaid Films, and there he uploaded dozens of videos over the course of about two years. Many of his videos have only a few hundred views, though a couple regarding Donald Trump and the Covid-19 pandemic reached wider audiences after Trump signal-boosted them. Almost all of the videos are shot on Quaid's cellphone with his face in extreme close-up while strobing colored lights flash on him. The videos mostly feature him growling, yelling, and laughing maniacally in weird voices about conspiracy theories or political subjects with a MAGA slant and typically find him using a fake British accent for some reason.

Quaid's ramblings are often completely incoherent in the videos, many of which are anti-journalism and promoting "fake news" talking points. Other videos are about Iran, Mexico, and Trump, and many are vaguely threatening and ominous in nature. His last video on the channel was posted two years ago and was about the Covid-19 pandemic under the title "I Am Gonna Kill This F****** PLAGUE!"

He almost ran for office

In 2021, Randy Quaid announced on Twitter, "I'm seriously considering running for governor" (via ABC News). The state of his campaign would have been California, and the timing of his announcement coincided with the attempted recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom. The recall effort ended up failing, and Newsom remained the governor. Even though he didn't officially run, the tease made it clear that Quaid might pursue political office for real at some point in the future and offered a peek at his personal political agenda.

Quaid made it clear that his mission statement if he were elected as governor would be to "clean up the District Attorney Offices throughout the state." He specifically called out corruption in the Santa Barbara DA's office, which is the particular DA's office that pursued felony charges against Quaid in relation to his crimes years earlier. Quaid's aspirations to run for any political office in California are especially questionable and far-fetched given that he is still wanted in the state. A lenient Vermont judge denied his extradition back to California to answer for his felony charges, but if he were to ever step foot back in California, he would be arrested on those standing charges. As ABC News reported back in 2015, the Santa Barbara DA made it clear that they planned to arrest Randy and Evi Quaid if they ever left the state of Vermont.

His return to acting

For many years, Randy Quaid's final screen performance was in the straight-to-video movie "Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach" in 2009. After nearly a decade away from acting, Quaid returned with a role in the 2018 movie "All You Can Eat," also known as "Weight." The low-budget movie was screened at a couple of film festivals before being dumped straight to video and VOD.

Rather than being any sort of grand return to acting, the movie was forgotten as soon as it arrived. Quaid hasn't acted in anything else in the five years since and he does not have any projects announced for the foreseeable future. Given that his reputation is so thoroughly tarnished these days and the fact that the felony warrant on him and his wife remains outstanding in California, his options for returning to a career as an actor are quite limited. His bizarre suspicions that Hollywood assassins are out to kill him might preclude him from wanting to return to the Los Angeles film business anyway. His Twitter profile currently reads that he is between pictures, implying that he does intend to continue acting, but he would need to find people willing to work with him first.