With all the focus on the WGA strike there’s another entertainment union fracas that’s fallen by the wayside, this one involving Actors’ Equity and Randy Quaid. The actor — brother of Dennis, Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon’s Vacation flicks — was so odious to his fellow cast members while performing in the musical Lone Star Love that the union banned him FOR LIFE!
Some background: Lone Star Love was the little musical that never could. A country version of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, the show had tried to wrangle (oof!) a Broadway run for years. It had a mixed reception during its Off-Broadway run but no name attached and problems with the story. It languished in development until Quaid became attached to the project, which gave it some momentum. But even the prospects of moving to Broadway were not worth the experience of working with the entitled star, and the producers shuttered the show during its try-out run in Seattle.
Quaid and his wife Evi were accused of “hijacking the show.” According to Michael Riedel, “Evi was trashing the producers and rewriting the script. Randy was fiddling around with his blocking, showing off his enormous codpiece and experimenting with the color of his hair (he eventually settled on magenta).”
After all 26 cast members of the show filed a grievance with their union, Equity handed down their ban and also fined Quaid $81,572. Apparently Quaid couldn’t be bothered to attend the hearing, but his his own merry wife did, decrying the whole thing as a “Nazi plot.” (Um, what?)
Show business, there’s no business like it. Though I think even the most devout theatregoer might be thankful they were spared the sight of Randy Quaid’s codpiece-accented, magenta-haired interpretation of Falstaff.