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Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 09/20/2010

The Randy Quaid arrest: How we got here

By Jen Chaney

Mug shots of Randy and Evi Quaid after their latest arrest. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office/AP)

As noted in Celebritology this morning, Randy Quaid and his wife Evi are in trouble with the law again. The couple currently faces burglary charges for allegedly living in a guest house on a property in Montecito, Calif. The actor and his wife say they have owned the property since the 1990s, but documents indicate that it is currently owned by someone else, who bought the house from the person who bought it from the Quaids. In other words, Cousin Eddie and his spouse sold the place a long time ago, but seem to have forgotten.

This is hardly the first example of sadly strange behavior from the brother and sister-in-law of Dennis Quaid. Need a memory refresher on what preceded this event? Here's a timeline, which includes information about a recently filed lawsuit that could explain why the Quaids believe that guest house is rightfully theirs.

July, 1983: Quaid stars as the clueless, money-troubled Cousin Eddie in "National Lampoon's Vacation," a role he would reprise a few years later in "Christmas Vacation." Despite the obvious parallels, this was just an acting gig. Quaid's real life wouldn't start to vaguely mirror Eddie's for another two decades.

Oct. 5, 1989: Randy Quaid, then 38, marries Evi Motolanez, then 26, less than a year after meeting her on the set of "Bloodhounds of Broadway," the barely seen movie starring Madonna, Matt Dillon and Jennifer Grey. In a People magazine profile published a couple of months after they married, Evi Quaid joked: "My nightmare ... is that people are going to see National Lampoon's ‘Christmas Vacation’ and think, 'That's the guy Evi married.' " The couple would eventually adopt two children, Charlotte and Kaki.

Oct. 12, 2004: The IRS files the first of two tax liens against Randy Quaid for delinquent tax bills. His liens total $1.6 million, according to the Detroit News. It's unclear whether the liens have been paid.

March, 2006: Quaid files a lawsuit against Focus Features and the producers of "Brokeback Mountain," accusing them of not paying him adequately for his role in the Oscar-winning drama. He asks for $10 million in compensation and claims in the suit that the studio and director Ang Lee knew the film would be a major, well-marketed Hollywood release, not a small indie that required everyone to sacrifice their normal salaries. Quaid eventually dropped the lawsuit because, as the Associated Press reported, he said that Focus agreed to pay him a bonus. Focus reps denied that any such agreement was ever reached.

September 2009: The Quaids are arrested in Texas for allegedly skipping out on a $10,000 hotel bill in (yes) Montecito, Calif. The episode lead to reports of additional unpaid bills, as well as some missed court appearances and some bizarre ones in which the two are accompanied by Quaid's Golden Globe Award.

April 2010: Felony charges in the hotel case against Randy Quaid are dropped, but Evi Quaid pleads no contest to a misdemeanor: defrauding an innkeeper. She is sentenced to three years of probation. For a brief few months, it seems like maybe this is all behind them.

August, 2010: The Quaids sue their former lawyer and estate planner on the grounds that they created a fake living trust, stole their money and prevented other lawyers from representing them. The convoluted lawsuit -- filed in Los Angeles Superior Court according to Courthouse News Service -- may explain why the Quaids believe the house in which they were just arrested for squatting actually belongs to them. From the Courthouse News Service story:

"Quaid claims he and his wife bought a house in Montecito, Calif., in 1989 for $1.35 million. Quaid says he handed the details of the transaction off to his business manager, Warren Grant and his lawyer, Lloyd Braun, who is not listed as a defendant.
The next day, Quaid claims Braun and his wife, Lauren, attached their names to the deal's escrow account.
That got Braun access to Quaid's assets through a "pooled loan," allowing Braun to use Quaid's home equity for his own real estate deals without Quaid's knowledge, according to the complaint.
City National Bank allegedly played along with the plot because Braun designated it as the beneficiary of properties he bought with Quaid's equity.
In 1991, Quaid says he sold his Montecito home to then-Warner Bros. executive Bruce Berman, again letting Grant and Braun handle the sale. But Quaid claims he recently found out that the home is still in his name."

Still with us? Good, because that brings us to the present.

Sept. 18, 2010: The Quaids are arrested on felony burglary charges for occupying that aforementioned guest house. TMZ notes that the Quaids reportedly broke a $7,000 mirror that hung over the fireplace, then replaced it with a picture of themselves. It's unclear whether this latest arrest will be considered a violation of Evi Quaid's probation.

By Jen Chaney  | September 20, 2010; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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As bizarre as anything Joaquin Phoenix could come up with.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 20, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Their lawyer Lloyd Braun sure gets around. He started out as a Dinkens aide and childhood friend of George Costanza.

Posted by: buffysummers | September 20, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Glad I'm not the only one who picked up on the Seinfeld parallel.

"Jerry was wearing glasses to fool Lloyd Braun!"

Posted by: GFisher1 | September 20, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Either heavy drug usage, or they are truly going schizo. Sad to see.

Posted by: mr_bill_10 | September 20, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

He is weirder than I am. I feel better now.

Posted by: glenmayne | September 20, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Note to the Quaid's; dont smile for mug shots.

Posted by: nuke41 | September 20, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The Seinfeld Lloyd Braun had also had a mental/emotional breakdown and everyone tiptoed around him.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | September 20, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

serenity now!!!

Posted by: pswift00 | September 20, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Jen, for answering my question in this morning's post: what the heck happened here?

Now that I know that, I can say this whole situation is still, as an Aussie friend of mine would say, a dog's breakfast.

Posted by: Californian11 | September 20, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Let us remember that Randy Quaid was abducted and (apparantly) diddled by aliens in "Independence Day". I prefer to regard this role as autobiographical. It explains everything.

Posted by: wgmadden | September 20, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey here's something else for the timeline:

2008: Randy Quaid Banned from Actors Equity.

for physically and verbally abusing fellow actors.

Posted by: eeepc | September 20, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Check out the mug shots. He looks demented and she looks bat s--t crazy.

Posted by: BurgundyNGold | September 20, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Poor fellow. I actually had a premonition that something like this might befall him someday after seeing "The Last Detail" (starring Jack Nicholson, 1973). Nicholson played a Navy SP (shore patrolman, aka cop) escorting a young, hapless prisoner named "Meadows" (Quaid) to a Navy Brig to serve a long sentence for a relatively trivial, even dumb offense; a swipe at the unfairness of military justice. Without dwelling on the ins-&-outs of the plot and theme, Quaid's performance (as a rather strange, somewhat spaced-out, even mildly-retarded social misfit inhabiting a parallel universe to the US Navy's) was altogether too convincing, like Otto Preminger's performance, as Oberst (Colonel) von Scherbach, in "Stalag 17" (my father, who knew him, remarked that Preminger wasn't acting).

One also hears odd echoes of the high-concept title of Tom Wolfe's famous last novel, "You Can't Go Home Again".

Posted by: hogsmile | September 20, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Time to star in "Brokeback Mountain 2" and earn some more cash.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | September 21, 2010 2:46 AM | Report abuse

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