Transgender actor and activist Alexis Arquette died over the weekend at age 47. Arquette paved the way for transgender actors in Hollywood, and her work as an activist is being remembered by the entertainment and LGBT communities. She leaves behind her famous actor siblings Rosanna Arquette, Patricia Arquette and David Arquette.
Most famous for her turn as a Boy George-esque character in the 1998 Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore comedy “The Wedding Singer,” Arquette was also featured in “Pulp Fiction” and “Bride of Chucky.”
Her brother, Richmond Arquette, shared a statement from their family, including actress Patricia Arquette, about their sister’s death on Facebook.
“Despite the fact that there are few roles for trans actors, she refused to play roles that were demeaning or stereotypical. She was a vanguard in the fight for understanding and acceptance for all trans people.”
While Alexis may not have been as big of a household name as David, Patricia and Rosanna, she was a prominent figure in the LGBT community, hosting a popular monthly club night in L.A., and telling her story of transitioning from male to female in the 2007 documentary “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.”
Patricia Arquette told the L.A. Times in 2008 that Alexis had identified as a girl since she was very young. “I remember Alexis growing up, and we’d be in school in kindergarten, and they’d say, ‘Get in line, boys here, girls here.’ Alexis would always get in the girls’ line.”
But her gender identity was not always clear-cut, even to those closest to her. Brother David Arquette appeared on the FYI show “Kocktails with Khloe” early in 2016 and said she had shifted to calling herself “gender suspicious,” Entertainment Tonight reported.
“I said, ‘You’re my sister and brother?’” … “[Alexis] said, ‘It depends on how I’m dressed.’”
Regardless of labels, Alexis’s impact on creating greater acceptance in the entertainment community for trans people was undeniable. Her passing was met with a huge outpouring of support and sadness on social media from her siblings, celebrities and fans.
Our thoughts are with the Arquette family.