Alexis Arquette, the transgender character actress and sibling of actors David, Rosanna, Richmond and Patricia Arquette, died Sept. 11 in Los Angeles. She was 47.
Her family announced the death but did not provide a cause.
She was born Robert Arquette in Los Angeles in 1969, and she was a performer from a young age, appearing in a music video for the Tubes’ “She’s a Beauty” at age 12 and the occasional other project.
She got her big break in the 1989 adaptation of “Last Exit to Brooklyn,” where she played the trans sex worker Georgette. She was just visiting New York with her sister Patricia Arquette, who was up for a role in the film but pregnant at the time.
“They asked me if I wanted to read for a role because they knew that I’d done a drag thing at one of my friend’s clubs,” Alexis Arquette said in a 1999 Index Magazine interview. “I ended up getting the job, basically through my sister. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been in New York. But nobody gives you a job, you’ve got to earn it on your own. I would never want anyone to think that there’s some kind of cachet to my name.”
She also had bit roles in films such as “Pulp Fiction” (1994), “Bride of Chucky” (1998) and as a Boy George impersonator in the Adam Sandler comedy “The Wedding Singer” (1998).
Her long list of credits comprises mostly low-budget and independent fare. Ms. Arquette also performed in nightclubs and cabarets, sometimes under the name Eva Destruction.
“I enjoy being a character actor, I enjoy being different in everything. I want a private life, I want to be able to go to 7-11 and not get into a fight with a guy because he saw me in a movie, or not have people hitting on me simply because they saw me in a movie,” she said in the 1999 interview. “You want to be wanted for who you are, not what you’ve done or who you’ve become.”
Ms. Arquette also appeared on Season 6 of the VH1 reality series “The Surreal Life,” and she was credited for bringing increased awareness and visibility to the transgender community.
She chronicled her transition and the process of her sex reassignment surgery in the 2007 documentary “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.”
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