Dennis Quaid has taken part in almost every aspect of filmmaking, from being a star in front of the camera, to being a director and producer as well.

Getting Started

Dennis was born in Huston, Texas on April 9, 1954, and followed the footsteps of his older brother Randy, who was also a well known actor, by attending the University of Texas. Unfortunately, he dropped out in 1974 and started to chase an acting career by moving to Los Angeles. He started out small, as many of the greats did, by playing in Johnathan Demme's 1975 film Crazy Mama, and then on to a bigger role in September 30,1955 (1975). However, Dennis really started making a name for himself after appearing in Breaking Away in 1979, which won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award. He continued to show in the movies such as The Long Riders, a 1980 Western, and also the romantic comedy All Night Long in 1981. On some lower-end films, he can be seen in The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia and Jaws 3-D. Dennis made his next big step in The Right Stuff (a film version of the best-selling Tom Wolf book) where he played Gordon Cooper, a cocky astronaut in 1983.

Moving Up

Things started moving faster for Quaid with his role that took a romantic turn playing a homicide detective in New Orleans who gets involved with a district attorney, in The Big Easy (1987). He also worked with Cher when the both appeared in the thriller Suspect. On the emotional side of things, Dennis first met actress Meg Ryan while filming the entertaining comedy Innerspace and fell in love a year later in their next movie together, D.O.A. (1988). Then, in 1989, they became engaged. There was one thing that was in the way though. Meg would not marry him until he dealt with his problem of drinking and drugs. In 1989 he starred in the high-profile film Great Balls of Fire playing the great temperamental rock artist Jerry Lee Lewis, he was in the spotlight more than ever and decided to stop his addictions. He quit the alcohol and cocaine in 1990, and Meg and Dennis were then married a year later.

Change of Pace

After acting with Meryl Streep and Shirley McLaine in Postcards from the Edge in 1990, Dennis took voluntary hiatus from the filmmaking business to return in 1993 with a star role in Flesh and Bone along with Meg Ryan. He then trimmed off 42 pounds for Wyatt Earp in 1994 where he gave an acclaimed performance as Doc Holliday who was a sidekick for an Old West hero. Quaid had another success in 1995 playing the part of a cheating husband with Julia Roberts in Something to Talk About. His next few movies such as Dragonheart (1996), Gang Related (1997), Switchback (1997) and Savior (1998) did not do so well. In 1998, he got a boost when he appeared in the remake of the family classic The Parent Trap, but soon headed off that same year to make his directorial debut with the television movie Everything That Rises that he also starred in.

Back in the Act

Dennis soon got back into the swing of things after some meaty roles in the well-received films Any Given Sunday and Frequency. New York Film Critics Circle also named him Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Far From Heaven. While his career was on the rise, his marriage was on the downfall even though Meg and Dennis appeared to be one of the more stable Hollywood couples. There was a lot of strain on the marriage from sharing their time between their son Jack, and homes in New York City, Santa Monica and Paradise Valley, Montana. Shockingly, Dennis and Ryan announced their separation in June of 2000 after nine years of marriage. While this happened, Meg was romantically involved with Russell Crowe who was her co-star in Proof of Life. One month later, Dennis claimed that he and Meg had "irreconcilable differences", and filed for divorce in July 2000. Dennis will next appear as the Lone Star legend Sam Houston in The Alamo that will be released in December 2003.

Return to Old Love

After Dennis and Meg ended their relationship, Dennis found a way that brought him back to life in so many ways. While going to see his actor friend Harry Dean Stanton perform with his band at an L.A. club, Harry invited Dennis on stage for a bit of reminiscing. Quaid has played the guitar since the age of 12, but put it away when his acting career took off (even after his first band the "Electics" signed a contract with Capital Records). As soon as Dennis picked up that guitar after so many years, it all came back to him and there was no stopping him after that. You can now find Dennis as lead singer and guitarist with his band - "Dennis Quaid and the Sharks" performing in many L.A. clubs. Also in the Sharks is:

  • Jamie James - Guitar
  • Tom Silk - Bass
  • Ken Stage - Keyboards and Harmonica
  • Tom Walsh - Drums



    Sources:

    • www.biography.com
    • http://dennisquaid.net/articles/lvs061501.pfhtml
    • Personal Knowledge
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