What Really Happened To Randy Quaid

Golden Globe-winner Randy Quaid—full name Randy Randall Rudy Quaid—went from a beloved actor in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Independence Day, and Saturday Night Live, to a self-proclaimed refugee, wanted man, and conspiracy theorist. From his critically-acclaimed movie roles to his multiple arrests, let's figure out what really happened to Quaid.

Quaid before the trouble

Quaid lived a charmed early life, growing up in Bellaire, Texas, with his mother, father, and famous brother, actor Dennis Quaid. Randy married Ella Jolly in 1989 and had a daughter, Amanda Marie. They divorced in 1986, and three years later, Quaid wed Evi Motolanez.

Daughter Amanda, who turned 33 in 2016, reportedly lives in New York City and is heavily involved in theater. She's also appeared on television shows and talk shows as an actress and panelist. Amanda said she prefers to keep the nature of her relationship with her father exclusive in order to respect his privacy. Of her own entertainment career, she told The Desert Sun, "I was certainly supported by both of my parents to do whatever I wanted to do. But probably being around it made it seem like a viable option in a way that a lot of kids may not see it as a viable option."

The bizarre behavior begins

After filming a slew of successful movies, Randy continued to turn Hollywood heads for his critically-acclaimed role as rancher Joe Aquirre in the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain (2005). However, after the film's release, Randy filed a bizarre lawsuit against Focus Films, claiming the production company "intentionally misrepresented the film as a low-budget art house film with no prospect of making money in order to secure his services at below market rates." Randy wanted $10 million dollars in damages.

Randy soon dropped the suit, saying Focus Films offered to pay him a bonus instead of going through with the legal action. Focus Films denied that story. "The circumstances of him dropping the suit are as mysterious as the circumstances under which he filed his claim," said a company spokesperson. "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 [him] all the best."

The onset of legal woes

Just three years after the Brokeback Mountain idiosyncrasy, Quaid and his wife were arrested in Texas after allegedly stiffing a hotel in Santa Barbara, Calif. on a $10,000 bill. In a written note to TMZ, Evi attempted to explain their side of the legal issue, saying, "I promise the state of California, Texas does not bother people over hamburgers ordered by room service, supposedly burglarized." The Quaids also provided a copy of a cashed check in an attempt to show the debt had been paid.

After posting bail, the couple remained in Texas, but after missing three court dates, a Santa Barbara judge issued a bench warrant, and the couple was extradited to California for trial. Randy and Evi were charged with defrauding an innkeeper, burglary, and conspiracy after reportedly using an invalid credit card at the hotel and at another resort in the area. Randy was eventually cleared of all charges due to insufficient evidence, and Evi pleaded no contest on misdemeanor charges of defrauding an innkeeper. She was sentenced to three years of probation and community service.

More charges emerge as the Quaids flee to Canada

Randy and Evi tangled with the law again in Santa Barbara in 2010 when they were arrested and booked for felony residential burglary. Evi was also charged with resisting arrest.

According to TMZ, the Quaids were allegedly squatting in a guest house they claimed to own. TMZ said the couple had owned the home years prior, but the property had been sold. The Quaids claimed that was news to them. The home's owner reportedly didn't know anyone was residing in the house until an alarm was tripped.

According to TMZ, "the realtor found the gate codes had been changed, security cameras had all been moved to face up, and Randy had carved his initials in the mailbox. When the realtor went inside, we're told he found the place trashed—dirty dishes in the sink, footprints everywhere and clothes that didn't belong to the owner were hanging in the closet. The kicker—the Quaids allegedly broke a $7,000 mirror that had been over the fireplace and, according to [a] source, replaced it with a photo of themselves."

The Quaids claimed they were at the center of a life-threatening conspiracy and fled to Canada. According to The Telegraph, Randy applied for refugee status abroad; Evi applied for Canadian citizenship.

The Quaids try to sneak back into the States

The couple's attempts to stay in Canada didn't go well. TMZ said the pair was not granted asylum, but because their U.S. passports had been revoked, they were also unable to return to the States unless they faced the music in court. In October 2015, Randy and Evi reportedly made a run for the U.S. border. They were apprehended in Vermont, but due to some paperwork problems out of California, a judge dismissed their fugitive charges and granted them permission to stay.

Randy told the Burlington Free Press, "I've never worried about being found guilty or any of that for any of this because I know the truth, and I knew the facts are going to come out at some point." He also told the paper he planned to stay in the Green Mountain State and become a volunteer firefighter.

Conspiracy theories and "Star Whackers"

Randy and Evi starred in a self-funded, self-produced documentary called Star Whackers in 2011. The film chronicled the couple's decade-long attempts to elude alleged specialized Hollywood assassins. Vancouver Sun film critic Peter Birnie referred to the flick as "drugged-out dreck," slamming Randy. "Spouting Shakespeare as he stands in a full-length fur coat with penis hanging out, Quaid must compete with a howling wind. Falstaff he ain't, especially when the coat comes off and we're left to watch naked nuttiness signifying nothing."

Evi spoke to Vanity Fair about the film in 2011, telling the magazine that she and Randy spend nights in their car "when we're too terrified to leave our stuff or don't feel secure." She insisted, "They're hunting us. It's really happening. They've got us in a spiral. 'Don't let up on 'em. Drive 'em off the road. Starve 'em to death. Pull their money out of their bank accounts.'" Randy added, "I guess I'm worth more to 'em dead than alive."

The couple said the concept of Star Whackers emerged when Quaid stopped receiving royalty checks in the mail, and, naturally, the pair considered assassins to be at the root of the problem. Randy and Evi said they believed the 2009 death of their friend, actor David Carradine, by hanging was also the work of whackers. "They decide, O.K., if we knock off David, then what we can do is simply collect the insurance covering his participation in the television show he was working on overseas," Evi told the magazine. "It's almost moronic, it's so simple." The couple claimed actor Heath Ledger's drug overdose was also connected to assassins.

Though some sources suggested Evi was driving Randy's bizarre behavior, the actor chalked that up to conspiracy too. "They wanted to separate us," he told Vanity Fair, "because Evi is very intuitive and very smart. She's the smartest person I know. You can call her crazy, you can call her whatever you want, but she is my lifeline, and if she wasn't with me, I don't know where I'd be."

His bizarre YouTube videos

Quaid's YouTube videos—filmed by his wife–are the strangest of the strange. From going after media giant Rupert Murdoch, to posing naked with a bunch of bananas, Randy produces plenty of erratic footage for the couple's YouTube channel. He is always shouting about something, and even gave away his costume from Independence Day in goofy fashion. Hopefully, those so-called "Star Whackers" aren't watching, though it looks like Randy has managed to elude them thus far.