Dennis William Quaid (born April 9, 1954) is an American actor. He became known during the 1980s after appearing in several successful films including The Big Easy.
Quaid was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Juanita Bonniedale "Nita" (née Jordan) Quaid, a real estate agent, and William Rudy Quaid, an electrician. He is the younger brother of actor Randy Quaid. Quaid has Irish and Cajun (French) ancestry. He attended Pershing Middle School in Houston. He studied Chinese and dance at Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas, and later in college, at the University of Houston, under drama coach Cecil Pickett.
After his brother, Randy, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Last Detail (1973), Quaid dropped out of the University of Houston before graduating and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career of his own. He initially had trouble finding work but began to gain notice when he appeared in Breaking Away (1979) and earned good reviews for his role in The Right Stuff (1983).