The circus has come to town! Specifically, Randy Quaid and his wife Evi arrived in Vancouver seeking refugee status and the protection of the Canadian government. Their first immigration hearing just concluded before the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board who allowed them to remain in Canada on terms that include posting bail of $10,000.00 each and reporting weekly to immigration authorities.
Media reports from the United States have highlighted Mr. Quaid’s recent run-ins with law enforcement, including charges for defrauding an innkeeper and felony burglary charges in relation to the Quaids’ occupation of a home they do not own. On the former charges, Mr. Quaid’s wife received probation, while the charges were dropped against him. With respect to the felony burglary, the Quaids’ were released on bail of $50,000.00 each and were to return to court in Santa Barbara California this week.
Instead of going to court, the couple came to Vancouver. Meanwhile back in California the court issued warrants for the arrest of the Quaids and increased their bail to $500,000.00 each. So what is going on with this pair? To understand Mr. Quaid’s current circumstances a review of his career is instructive.
Randy Quaid received his first big break when he appeared in the Peter Bogdanovich/Cybill Shepherd movie “The Last Picture Show”. His first major motion picture role was in 1973 with Jack Nicholson in “The Last Detail”. Quaid was nominated for a Golden Globe, a British Film Award and an Oscar. He went on to star in over 90 movies, including “National Lampoon Vacation”, winning an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in “LBJ The Early Years”.
Quaid spent one season on “Saturday Night Live” and in 2005 played a pivotal supporting role in “Brokeback Mountain”, a film that earned $160 million. Mr. Quaid sued the filmmakers of “Brokeback Mountain” for their alleged misrepresentations to him of the film’s style and budget. Quaid signed a contract for his services on the basis that the movie was a low-budget art film, presumably taking a lesser fee on that account. It is reported that Mr. Quaid later dropped his lawsuit because he was able to come to an out-of-court resolution with the filmmakers.
Mr. Quaid’s troubles continued in 2008 when 26 cast members of the musical “Lone Star Love”, playing in Seattle on its way to the Big Apple, complained of his physical and verbal abuse towards them. At an Actor’s Equity hearing, Quaid was banned for life from the union and ordered to pay a fine of $81,000.00. It is reported that as a result of Quaid’s abusive behavior the show closed and never made it to Broadway.
This brings us back to Vancouver, where the Quaids were arrested yesterday on the warrants from California. So what are the grounds for their refugee claims? How are they being persecuted in their homeland?
At a press conference following today’s hearing they said that they fear for their lives and referred to unknown persons who they call “star-wackers”. They cited the recent murders of nine close friends including actors Heath Ledger, David Carradine and Chris Penn. How odd? None of these men were murdered. Ledger overdosed on prescription drugs; Carradine hung himself in a hotel room in Asia and Penn, at 300 pounds, died of natural causes.
Like I said, the circus has come to town.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang