Whatever Happened To Randy Quaid From ‘National Lampoon Christmas Vacation’?

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1989 brought Randy Quaid to the comedy, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Portraying Eddie Johnson, the typically unannounced and uninvited relative, Quaid made fans laugh nationwide.

So where did Randy Quaid end up after John Hughes’ Christmas comedy? Let’s find out.

Career Post-National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION, Randy Quaid
NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION, Randy Quaid, E.G. Marshall, 1989. Everett Collection

Shortly after appearing in the 1989 family comedy, Randy Quaid featured in ’90’s Days of Thunder. In this film, Quaid portrayed NASCAR car owner and salesman, Tim Daland. Additionally, from 1991-1992, Quaid held a role in the series Davis Rules.

RELATED: ‘National Lampoon Christmas Vacation’ Cast Then And Now 2021

After this, the actor starred in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure in 2003. Quaid’s appearance in this film marked his final role with the National Lampoon’s Vacation film series. Additionally, in 2003 Quaid starred in the short-lived series, The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire.

Randy Quaid in Brokeback Mountain
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, Randy Quaid, 2005, ©Focus Films/Everett Collection

Later in 2005, Randy Quaid accepted a supporting role in Brokeback Mountain as rancher Joe Aguirre. That same year, the actor received Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award nominations for his portrayal of Elvis Presley’s manager, Tom Parker, in the miniseries, Elvis. Additionally, Quaid featured in ’05’s Category 7: The End of the World and multiple commercials for KFC.

Then, Quaid starred in the Canadian independent comedy, Real Time in 2008. The film opened the 2008 Slamdance Film Festival and his performance earned Quaid a Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award.

Real Time Film Quaid
REAL TIME, from left: Jay Baruchel, Randy Quaid, 2008. ©Image Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

2009 brought Randy Quaid to the comedy, Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach. However, after the filming of this movie, the actor ran into legal troubles that prevented him from acting for nearly a decade. Quaid’s return to the big screen came in 2018 with a role in Rob Margolies’ All You Can Eat. The film appeared at the Northeast Film Festival which led to Quaid winning their award for “Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Film.”

Appearances in Live Theater

In 2004, Randy Quaid starred as Frank in the world premiere of Sam Shepard’s The God of Hell in New York City. His portrayal of Frank— a dairy farmer whose home is infiltrated by a dangerous government operative— was well-reviewed by top critics in NYC.

Quaid in 2003
Photo by: Peter Kramer
STAR MAX, Inc. – copyright 2003.
5/14/03
Randy Quaid at the CBS program announcements.
(NYC) ImageCollect

Then, in February of 2008, the Actors’ Equity Association banned Quaid for life and fined him more than $80,000. The actions taken against the actor came after all 26 members of the cast of The Merry Wives of Windsor came forward with allegations against Quaid. According to the New York Post, these allegations included that while on set, Randy Quaid physically and verbally abused his fellow performers. His costars said that the show closed rather than continuing to Broadway because of Quaid’s behavior.

At the time, Quaid’s lawyer, Mark Block, stated that the charges were false. Block claimed that the show’s producers did not want to give Randy Quaid his contractual rights to creative approval. During all of the drama, the actor stated, “I am guilty of only one thing: giving a performance that elicited a response so deeply felt by the actors and producers with little experience of my creative process that they actually think I am Falstaff.”

Additional Legal Issues

Randy and wife Evi
Randy & Evie Quaid 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles, CA January 29, 2006. ImageCollect

In 2009, Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi Motolanez, were arrested for allegedly defrauding an innkeeper in Santa Barbara. The pair were caught after using an invalid credit card to pay a $10,000 bill. They were later released on bail that same night and paid the majority of the bill. However, Quaid and his wife repeatedly failed to appear in court until the following year when the case was dismissed against Quaid for lack of evidence. 

Additionally, the couple was charged with burglary in September of 2010. The charges came after they spent five days occupying the guest house in a vacant home they formerly owned.

The next month, Randy Quaid and Evi moved to Vancouver, Canada seeking asylum under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. However, border authorities arrested the couple for their warrants in the United States. Soon after, the two were granted bail and Quaid gave a press interview.

In 2011, Canada granted citizenship to Evi Motolanez and Randy Quaid sought permanent resident status as her husband. However, in January of 2013, Canada denied the request. 

Additionally, in 2014 the Quaid’s sued the U.S. State Department for revoking their passports in 2011. By 2015, the actor was set for deportation back to the U.S. but drove across the border into Vermont with his wife. The couple was then detained by U.S. Customs and held pending an extradition procedure ordered by the state of California.

The Vermont judge, however, reviewed the case and voided the extradition request. The Quaids were then released and remained in Vermont. All charges were then dropped and as of 2017, Randy Quaid and his wife made Vermont their permanent home.

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