Tragedy rocked Hollywood yesrterday with the death of Alexis Arquette, who had become a pioneering transgender actress in Hollywood and was a member of the well-known Hollywood family. She was 47 years old.
Born Robert Arquette on July 28, 1969, Alexis was the second youngest child of popular character actor Lewis Arquette (who passed away in 2001) and Mardi Nowak, an actress, poet, and therapist. Alexis’ siblings, Rosanna, Patricia, Richmond, and David are well known actors in Hollywood as well.
The acting bug has hit Alexis and made her debut in the music video for The Tubes’ hit song “She’s a Beauty” in 1982. In 1986, Alexis made her film debut in the role of Alexis, an androgynous friend and bandmate of Evan Richards’ character in Down and Out in Beverly Hills.
In 1989, Alexis maintained a major role as the cross-dressing Georgette in the screen adaptation of Last Exit to Brooklyn, based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr. Arquette would appear in many low-budgeted films, including Children of the Corn V and Sometimes They Come Back…Again, the latter playing the ringleader of a demon gang. In 1994, Arquette was the one who attempts to shoot John Travolta and Samuel Jackson during the “divine intervention” scene in Pulp Fiction.
In 1997, we saw Arquette in one of her most famous roles, as Boy George-impersonator George in The Wedding Singer, opposite Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Her constant renditions of “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” provided some laughs as well as other scenes where it allowed her to be quite funny.
In the late 90’s, Alexis Arquette began the transition from male to female with the full support of her family and fans. This would be documented in a 2007 film entitled Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother, directed by Matthew Barbato.
Alexis is survived by her siblings and nieces and nephews. Prior to her death, Alexis completed her final film role as a cop in the independent film Citizens, due for release in 2017. As a final tribute, check out Alexis in 2009 on Larry King Live discussing Chaz Bono’s transition and speaking about transgenderism in general.
Rest in Peace, Alexis Arquette.