The sad, strange saga of Independence Day hero Randy Quaid

Randy Quaid is a Golden Globe-winner and an Oscar and Bafta nominee who was discovered by Peter Bogdanovich. But perhaps the single most celebrated moments of his career involves him hurtling up the glowing urethra of an alien attack saucer poised over Area 51.

The scene appears in Roland Emmerich’s 1996 blockbuster Independence Day – and it was Quaid’s triumphant battle cry of “Hello boys, I’m ba-aack!”, with just the right yoo-hoo! inflection on the last word, that made a very silly action-movie moment immediately iconic.

In February this year, Quaid posted a video on Twitter in which he gave the beloved “I’m ba-aack” catchphrase another airing. The context was rather different, though: he said it while pretending to have rough sex with his wife Evi, who was wearing a bikini and a Rupert Murdoch mask, while an unseen dog barked in the background.

Throw in his supporting part alongside Brando and Nicholson in The Missouri Breaks, a memorable turn as Cousin Eddie in the National Lampoon Vacation comedies, and major character roles in everything from Days of Thunder to Brokeback Mountain, and it’s an unusual career arc to say the least. But Quaid is an unusual case.

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