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The Roy Faires Collection, no. 14 - Interview with Dennis Quaid (1988)

Austin History Center

Sound | 1988

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  •  Roy Faires asks actor Dennis Quaid about Miller Lite beer advertisements for the “Biggest Party in History” featuring his brother, Randy Quaid 
  •  Quaid discusses the challenges of his role in Everybody’s All-American (1988) 
  •  “It’s about what really matters” 
  •  On working with Jessica Lange 
  •  Faires asks Quaid about his upcoming film, Great Balls of Fire! (1989) 
  •  “Don’t lose that Texas accent” 
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In this unedited interview for Austin’s KVUE-TV, Roy Faires sits down with actor Dennis Quaid (a Houston native) to talk about his latest film, Everybody’s All-American (1988), also starring Jessica Lange. Quaid discusses the challenges of his role in the film and his excitement for his upcoming picture, Great Balls of Fire! (1989). Faires also questions Quaid about Miller Lite beer commericals featuring his brother, Randy Quaid. Faires worked as a special project director and entertainment critic/reporter at KVUE-TV, Austin’s ABC affiliate, from 1976-1989.
Roy Faires asks Dennis Quaid about commercials featuring his brother, Randy Quaid. In a 16-month blitz, Miller Brewing Co. ran a series of advertisements in Texas featuring Randy Quaid as he made plans to throw Miller Lite’s “Biggest Party in History.” The campaign fulfilled its promise, hosting parties in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Midland, and McAllen and even bigger bashes in Houston and Dallas over Labor Day weekend in 1989. Houston’s party (held in the Astrodome) included beach volleyball; professional wrestling; and a concert featuring the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, and the Who. (The musical acts also played in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl the following night.) More than 450,000 Texans attended events across the state, costing Miller an estimated $15 million. Miller’s strategy worked, however; after the campaign, the beer maker regained ground in the lucrative Texas market, with the brand increasing nine percent. Just how lucrative? A 1989 industry newsletter about the beer business estimated the total national market at $45 billion a year, with Texas accounting for roughly 8.2 percent. That’s about $37 million per percentage point in retail sales!

Dennis Quaid is an actor born in Houston on April 9, 1954, to William Rudy Quaid and Juanita “Nita” Bonniedale Jordan. He has one brother, Randy, who is also an actor. He grew up in Houston’s Bellaire neighborhood and studied drama at the University of Houston. Encouraged by his brother’s acting success, Quaid dropped out of school to try his own luck in Hollywood. He struggled for a few years to earn more than minor roles in films and TV movies before gaining some recognition in 1979 for Breaking Away. He married actress P.J. Soles that year, but they divorced in 1983. He found more success in the 1980s with a steady stream of film roles, such as The Right Stuff (1983), Enemy Mine (1985), The Big Easy (1986), and Great Balls of Fire! (1989).

Quaid had been struggling with substance abuse when he met Meg Ryan on the set of Innerspace in 1987. After getting clean, he and Ryan married in 1991 and had a son, Jack Henry, the following year. During the nineties, Quaid appeared in such films as Wyatt Earp (1994) and The Parent Trap (1998). He and Meg Ryan divorced in 2000.

With the release of Far From Heaven in 2002, Quaid received more critical recognition. His role earned him an Independent Spirit Award and a New York Film Critics Circle Award, as well as Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations. He married for the third time in 2004, to Kimberly Buffington, a Texas real-estate agent, with whom he had twins Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace.

Quaid has continued appearing in films in the last decade, including The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Footloose (2011). He also has shown in an interest in charity work, particularly with the “Dennis Quaid Charity Weekend,” an annual  golf tournament held in Austin that raises money for local children’s charities.