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Alexis Arquette[1] (born Robert Arquette; July 28, 1969 – September 11, 2016) was an American actress, cabaret performer, underground cartoonist, and activist. She was well known for her gender transitioning, and for supporting other people making similar transitions.[2]

Early life

Arquette was born in Los Angeles, California, the fourth of five children of Brenda Olivia "Mardi" (née Nowak), an actress, poet, theater operator, activist, acting teacher, and therapist, and Lewis Arquette, an actor and director. Mardi Nowak was Jewish of Russian and Polish descent.[3] Lewis Arquette was a convert to Islam from Catholicism.[4][5] Lewis's family's surname was originally "Arcouet" of partial French-Canadian ancestry;[6] Lewis's father was comedian Cliff Arquette. Alexis Arquette was distantly related to American explorer Meriwether Lewis.[4][7] Actors Rosanna, Richmond, Patricia, and David Arquette are her siblings.


In 1982, at the age of 12, Arquette's first acting gig was as "this little kid who's on a ride with all these women and whatnot" in the music video "She's a Beauty" by The Tubes.[8] In 1986, Arquette debuted on the big screen in an uncredited role as Alexis, the androgynous friend and bandmate of sexually ambivalent teenager Max Whiteman (Evan Richards) in Down and Out in Beverly Hills.[9]

Arquette, in the earlier years of her career, primarily performed as a female impersonator, frequently under the name "Eva Destruction". Later in her career, she made public that she had begun the process leading to sex reassignment surgery.[10] To this end, Arquette had publicly declared that she considered her gender to be female.

At nineteen, Arquette landed a sizeable film role, playing trans sex worker Georgette in the screen adaptation of Last Exit to Brooklyn.[2] The majority of Arquette's film work was in low-budget or independent films. In total, Arquette starred in more than 40 movies, including I Think I Do, Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror, and Sometimes They Come Back... Again. Arquette also starred as a crack addict opposite Tim Roth in Jumpin' at the Boneyard, as a teenage boy seeking revenge for a horrible childhood in the New Zealand-shot horror fantasy Jack Be Nimble, and as a murderous drag queen in the low budget comedy Killer Drag Queens on Dope.[11][12]

Arquette also had supporting roles in Pulp Fiction, Threesome and Bride of Chucky,[13] and she played a Boy George fanatic, George Stitzer, in the Adam SandlerDrew Barrymore film The Wedding Singer, singing "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" over and over. Her role as Georgina, a Boy George impersonator, in another Sandler–Barrymore film, Blended, was a reference to that role. In 2001, Arquette returned to New Zealand to play Roman emperor Caligula in two episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess.[14] That same year, Arquette guest starred in the Friends episode "The One with Chandler's Dad", in which she directly interacted with her sister-in-law, Courteney Cox. Also in the same year, she cameoed in Son of the Beach.[14]

In September 2005, VH1 announced Arquette as one of the celebrity house-guests on the 6th season of The Surreal Life. On January 31, 2007, Arquette was a featured celebrity client and guest judge on the première episode of Bravo's reality show Top Design.[15] Arquette also made a cameo appearance in Robbie Williams' She's Madonna video.[16]

Personal life and death

In 2004, Arquette expressed an interest in undergoing formal male-to-female transitioning by the use of hormone treatments and, ultimately, a sex reassignment surgery, which she realized in 2006, in her late 30s.[17] Those experiences were documented in the film Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother, which debuted at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.[18] Arquette was a vocal supporter of transgender people, including Chaz Bono, who transitioned from 2006 to 2008.[17] Arquette died on September 11, 2016, surrounded by close family. Arquette was serenaded with David Bowie's "Starman".[19][20][21] The immediate cause of death was cardiac arrest caused by myocarditis caused by cardiomyopathy caused by HIV, which Arquette had contracted 29 years earlier.[1][22]


Year Title Role Notes
1989 Last Exit to Brooklyn Georgette
1990 Gavre Princip – Himmel unter Steinen Milan
1990 High Score Yago / Freddie
1992 Jumpin' at the Boneyard Dan
1992 Terminal Bliss Craig Murphy
1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vampire DJ
1992 Of Mice and Men Whit
1992 Miracle Beach Lars
1993 Ghost Brigade Cpl. Dawson
1993 Grief Bill
1993 Jack Be Nimble Jack
1994 Threesome Dick
1994 Pulp Fiction Man #4
1994 Don't Do It David
1995 Days of the Pentecost Mechanic
1995 Paradise Framed
1995 Frank & Jesse Charlie Ford
1995 Frisk Punk (victim #3)
1995 White Man's Burden Panhandler
1996 Kiss & Tell Amerod Burkowitz

Wigstock: The Movie Himself

1996 Cosas que nunca te dije Paul
1996 Sometimes They Come Back... Again Tony Reno Video
1996 Never Met Picasso Andrew Magnus
1996 Scream, Teen, Scream Lisa Marie Short film
1997 Inside Out Adam Short film
1997 Goodbye America Paul Bladon
1997 I Think I Do Bob
1997 Close To Deaf Mute Short film
1998 Fool's Gold Mark
1998 Wedding Singer, TheThe Wedding Singer George
1998 Cleopatra's Second Husband Alex
1998 The Thin Pink Line Mr. Ed
1998 Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror Greg Video
1998 Bride of Chucky Damien
1999 She's All That Mitch
1999 Clubland Steven
1999 Out in Fifty Kim
1999 Love Kills James
2000 Piccadilly Pickups Henri de la Plus Ooh Arrgh
2000 Price of Air, TheThe Price of Air Willy
2000 Boys Life 3 Adam Segment: "Inside Out"
2001 Perfect Lover Onix
2001 Audit Richard Short film
2001 Tomorrow by Midnight Sidney
2002 The Trip Michael
2002 Spun Moustache Cop
2003 Killer Drag Queens on Dope Ginger credited as Eva Destruction
2003 Movie Hero, TheThe Movie Hero Strange, Yet Attractive Woman
2003 Wasabi Tuna Champagne Anna
2005 Lords of Dogtown Tranny
2010 Here & Now Ramona
2010 Hard Breakers Ms. Independence
2011 Getting Back to Zero Judy
2013 Tranzloco Alexis
2014 Blended Georgina
2015 Playing the Straight Man Alexis Short Film


Year Title Role Notes
1989 Alien Nation John Barrymore Episode: "Contact"
1991 American Playhouse Werner Hauser Episode: "The Hollow Boy"
1994 Lies of the Heart: The Story of Laurie Kellogg Denver McDowell TV film
1995 Dead Weekend McHacker TV film
1995 Roseanne Episode: "December Bride"
1999 Strip, TheThe Strip Cleo Episodes: "Games Without Frontiers", "Send Me an Angel", "Even Better Than the Real Thing"
1999–2000 Beggars and Choosers Larry / Lola TV series
2000 Felicity Jim Episode: "Docuventary II"
2000 Friends The Customer Episode: "The One with Rachel's Sister"
2001 Friends Waiter in Drag Episode: "The One with Chandler's Dad"
2001 Xena: Warrior Princess Caligula Episodes: "The God You Know", "You Are There"
2001 Son of the Beach Beverly Episode: "B.J. Blue Hawaii"
2005 Wanted Paula Episode: "Lips Are Lips"
2008 Californication Lady in Jail Episode: "The Great Ashby"


  1. ^ a b c "Alexis Arquette battled HIV for 29 years". TMZ. September 20, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Press, Associated (2016-09-12). "Alexis Arquette: actor and activist dies aged 47". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  3. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (October 8, 2002). "Arquette Reconnects". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  4. ^ a b Myrna Oliver (February 13, 2001). "Lewis Arquette Obituary Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-04-05. 
  5. ^ "Rosanna Arquette profile". Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ Finding Your Roots, February 9, 2016, PBS
  7. ^ Hoggard, Liz (August 18, 2006). "Patricia Arquette: The not-so-dippy hippie". London, UK. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  8. ^ Lee, Chris (1998). "Interview with Alexis Arquette". indexmagazine. Archived from the original on April 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  9. ^ "Alexis Arquette's 5 Most Memorable Roles". Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  10. ^ "Alexis Arquette's Sex Change Documentary to Air on A&E". Queer Day. 14 Oct 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  11. ^ "Alexis Arquette's Kiwi role". Stuff. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  12. ^ "VUDU - Watch Movies". Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  13. ^ Greenwood, Carl (2016-09-11). "Wedding Singer actress Alexis Arquette dies aged 47 listening to Bowie's Starman". Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  14. ^ a b "Actress Alexis Arquette dies aged 47 while listening to David Bowie hit 'Starman'". 2016-09-11. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  15. ^ McGeorge, Alistair (2016-09-12). "Who is Alexis Arquette? Profile of the Wedding Singer actress who has died at 47". Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  16. ^ "She's Madonna: Music Video". Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  17. ^ a b "BEFORE & AFTER Alexis Arquette's experiences as a transgender woman in Hollywood". 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  18. ^ Ali, Lorraine (May 13, 2007). "None of Us Are Safe". Newsweek. 
  19. ^ Hautman, Nicholas. "Alexis Arquette Dead: Transgender Actress Dies at 47". Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  20. ^ Warner, Kara; Mazziota, Julie (September 11, 2016). "Alexis Arquette, Transgender Actress and Sister to David and Patricia Arquette, Has Died". People. Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  21. ^ Richmond Arquette (September 11, 2016). "Press release from Patricia on behalf of all of us". Retrieved 2016-09-14. 
  22. ^ Maya Oppenhim (September 21, 2016). "Alexis Arquette's death certificate shows she lived with HIV for 29 years". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-09-21.