The Curious Case of Randy Quaid

06/28/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In Hollywood there is the oft-told tale of the greater brother and the lesser brother. Consider Jeff and Beau Bridges; this year the former won an Academy Award in the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role while the latter starred in Free Willie 4.

The same is true of the Quaid boys, Dennis and Randy. While the former has kept his star shining by such tried and true Hollywood methods as maintaining his boyish good looks, doing charity work and knocking up a younger blonde, the latter is a stupid oaf, now at the center of a minor fraud case.

Hollywood is in shock and awe over the bizarre behavior of Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi -- who should consider adding an L to the end of her name.

The pair stands accused of stiffing a swank Santa Barbara resort out of some major bucks.

Randy and Evi allegedly turned their noses up a $10,000 bill from the San Ysidro Resort near Santa Barbara. This is the same playground where Golden Era Hollywood heavy-hitters such as Groucho Marx, Gloria Swanson and Cary Grant enjoyed a wide range of debauchery. It's also the very hideaway where John F. Kennedy and Jackie honeymooned. Rumor has it JFK bedded three chambermaids after taking the former Miss Bouvier's virginity at the fancy resort.

The Quaids, however, seem content to leave a different kind of stain at San Ysidro.

I spent nearly 10 years in Santa Barbara covering for the local daily court dramas, crimes and public shame. I know the prosecution team involved in the Quaid matter. They are not going to let this slide. This is the same office that twice tried to put Michael Jackson in irons for child molestation. One suspects that Santa Barbara prosecutors will have better luck getting the Quaids to settle the bill than they did with the Jacko mess.

Things are already off to a fine start. On Monday, Santa Barbara Judge Frank Ochoa ordered the Quaids to jail on for skipping multiple appearances in their felony case. The Quaids barely had time for a proper cavity search. Instead, they posted bail of $100,000 each and left the jail after three hours in custody.

The rich do enjoy a better lifestyle that the rest of us potato eaters.

But beyond the pettiness of the charges and the arrogance of the Quaids' disrespect for a hotel bill and the law, one is left to wonder what the heck is wrong with a multi-millionaire actor who allegedly chose to ignore a bill that amounts to pork chop money.

I suspect this oddness stems from Randy's second-banana status not just in Hollywood, but also inside his own family. Sure, Randy has enjoyed a nice career. He's made nearly 70 movies. He's even served as the voice of the beloved Col. Sanders in a few Kentucky Fried Chicken ads. But when it comes to glory and fame, Randy is the slobbering stepchild to his hot-looking little brother, Dennis.

While Randy spent the 80s and 90s playing second fiddle to Chevy Chase in a slew of slapstick National Lampoon's Vacation flicks, little bro Dennis blocked out the sun with his killer smile and put the wood to "America's Sweetheart", Meg Ryan. Never mind that Dennis and Meg reportedly cheated on each other before their divorce. Fact is, when you think Quaid, you think Dennis, not Randy.

I guess it is tough being the Fredo Corleone of the Quaid clan. But that's what Randy has dealt with since his little bro showed off his chiseled looks in Breaking Away. While Dennis charmed Hollywood and bedded babes, Randy got the fuzzy end of the lollypop and played the role of fool in the Vacation movies.

Imagine the indignity of playing backup to Chevy Chase?

Randy ultimately ran the Vacation brand into the ground in 2003 by once more playing the fat, stupid low-life Cousin Eddie in a made-for-TV flop called National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure.

Not a great end to what was a promising career.

Randy was discovered by one-time kingmaker Peter Bogdanovich, who cast him in The Last Picture Show. Randy got to escort then-hottie Cybill Shepherd to a skinny dipping party in the flick. Bogdanovich ended up bedding young Shepherd during the production.

Randy has since perfected the role of fat losers for much of his career. He rose to the top in 1973 portraying a simple-minded Navy sailor in The Last Detail. Oddly enough, Randy's character, Larry Meadows, receives an eight-year sentence for trying to steal $40 from the commanding officer's wife's charity. Randy's character later tries to run away to avoid punishment.

Maybe Randy's criminal attorney can claim the actor was reliving one of his past role when he fled Santa Barbara.

Randy also ran into trouble following his performance in the Academy Award-winning Brokeback Mountain. Randy sued the production company, claiming he deserved more money for his brief role as a gay-hating boss.

A court-ordered psychological exam is clearly needed, not just to settle this little mess, but to help Randy understand that he hates living in the shadow of his younger, better- looking brother.

While we are at it, I think DNA tests should also be ordered because I really don't think Randy is related to Dennis, at least not by blood.