n September, Oscar-nominated actor Randy Quaid (memorable in films like National Lampoon's Vacation and The Last Detail) and his wife Evi were arrested for residential burglary and illegal squatting. Then last month, they fled to Canada and sought asylum status, claiming they were being persecuted in the U.S. and that their lives are in danger. Yesterday, the couple skipped out on a California court date, and lost half a million dollars in bail. It's the latest in an increasingly bizarre series of events for the couple that have reduced the once-respected actor to a Hollywood curiosity. Here's a brief guide:
What is the Quaids' latest woe?
Though scheduled to appear before a Santa Barbara, Calif., court yesterday for their felony vandalism arraignment, the couple didn't show — causing Evi to forfeit her $500,000 in bail, according to a court spokeswoman who spoke with People. Randy's $500,000 in bail was not seized.
Why did Evi lose her bail but Randy didn't?
Randy can't leave Canada until his November 8 immigration hearing in Vancouver, while Evi is free to come and go as she pleases. The couple's justification for her no-show in Santa Barbara: As the Quaids' attorney told the judge, they're "inseparable" — "that's not a legal answer," he added quickly.
What are they doing in Canada?
Fearing for their lives, reportedly. The couple fled to Canada last month after missing an earlier court appearance in California. When arrested in Vancouver for missing court, the Quaids appeared before a Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, claiming that a celebrity-killing cult was threatening their lives, leading the Quaids to seek asylum in Canada. "Hollywood is murdering its movie stars," Evi Quaid said.
What are they talking about?
The Quaids claim a Hollywood group called "Star Whackers" murdered a number of their celebrity friends, including the late Heath Ledger and David Carradine, whose deaths have been widely accepted as a drug overdose and accidental asphyxiation or suicide, respectively. The Quaids believe they're next on the hit list. "On a scale from one-to-ten, this is a ten, this is as crazy as it gets," says Michael Lewittes at GossipCop.
What exactly did they do to get arrested in California?
They Quaids were found living illegally in the guest house of a Montecito, Calif., property they once owned. They had allegedly caused thousands of dollars of damage, at one point breaking an expensive mirror and replacing it with a photograph of themselves. When the police arrived, the Quaids claimed "they had owned the property since the 1990s."
What sort of legal problems has Randy Quaid had previously?
In 2004, the IRS accused Quaid of not paying taxes. In 2006, he sued Focus Features for not paying him more handsomely for his minor role in Brokeback Mountain. In 2008, he was thrown out of the cast of a Seattle play — and eventually the Actors' Equity Association — for abusive and inappropriate behavior. In 2009, Quaid and his wife were arrested for leaving a hotel without paying their $10,000 bill. The couple failed to show up for court appearances related to the hotel incident in October 2009 and April 2010; when they finally did appear in court, they arrived with Quaid's 1987 Golden Globe award (for his role in a miniseries about LBJ) in hand. In August, the couple sued their lawyer, accusing him of stealing their money.
Any theories on this pattern of odd behavior?
Unsurprisingly, some feel drug abuse may be a factor. A private investigator once hired by the Quaids claims that Evi "snorts Demerol to cure migraines and believes a murder plot is afoot" — and that she may even have designs on killing Randy. Most of the couple's friends and family, including Randy's celebrity brother Dennis Quaid, have reportedly given up trying to help them. Mental health professionals speculate that a feeling of celebrity entitlement may also be behind their latest antics. "People who are talented, smart or athletically gifted are often allowed to avoid unpleasant realities," says Paul S. Applebaum, a professor of psychiatry.
What's next for the couple?
The court put out a bench warrant for Evi's arrest for another $500,000. A warrant for Randy's arrest was also issued, but it will be held on condition that he appear in court on November 16. If the couple fails to make that court date, Randy will lose his $500,000 in bail, and Evi will be on the line for another $500,000 — bringing her total to $1 million and the couple's grand total to $1.5 million.
This article was originally published on September 21 and last updated on November 3.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- Why is American internet so slow?
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- The GOP must try to win over African-Americans
- Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza's dad: 'I wish he'd never been born'
- 10 things you need to know today: March 10, 2014
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
Subscribe to the Week