Alexis Arquette

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Alexis Arquette
Arquette at VH1's April 2009 Daisy of Love premiere party at My House, Hollywood, California
Robert Arquette

(1969-07-28)July 28, 1969
DiedSeptember 11, 2016(2016-09-11) (aged 47)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesEva Destruction
Years active1982–2014

Alexis Arquette (born Robert Arquette; July 28, 1969 – September 11, 2016) was an American actress.

Early life

Arquette was born in Los Angeles,[1] the fourth of five children of Lewis Arquette, an actor and director,[2][3][4] and Brenda Olivia "Mardi" (née Nowak), a Jewish[5] actress, poet, theater operator, activist, acting teacher, and therapist. Lewis's family's surname was originally "Arcouet";[6] Lewis's father was comedian Cliff Arquette, who went by the stage name of Charley Weaver. Arquette was distantly related to American explorer Meriwether Lewis.[7][3] 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 made her big screen debut 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, Arquette 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 19, Arquette played trans sex worker Georgette in the screen adaptation of Last Exit to Brooklyn.[11] 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.[12][13]

Arquette also had supporting roles in Pulp Fiction, Threesome and Bride of Chucky,[14] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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 the music video for Robbie Williams' song "She's Madonna".[16]

Personal life and death

In 2004, Arquette expressed an interest in undergoing gender-transitioning medical treatment. She decided against undergoing hormone therapy and kept her choice of whether she underwent gender-affirming surgery private from the media by the time she completed her transition in 2006.[17][18] Her experience was documented in the film Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother, which debuted at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.[19] Arquette was a vocal supporter of other transgender people, including Chaz Bono, who transitioned shortly after Arquette.[18]

Arquette contracted HIV in 1987.[20] In later life, Arquette suffered from ill health as a result of being HIV-positive.[20][21][22] Amid these increasing complications, Alexis began presenting again as a man in 2013.[21] Brother David Arquette said that Alexis was "gender suspicious" and alternately felt like a man or a woman at different times.[23][24][25]

Arquette was placed in a medically-induced coma and died on September 11, 2016, surrounded by close family, at the age of 47. Arquette was serenaded with David Bowie's "Starman".[26][27][28] The official cause of death was cardiac arrest caused by myocarditis stemming from HIV.[20][29]


Year Title Role Notes
1989 Last Exit to Brooklyn Georgette
1990 High Score Yago / Freddie
Terminal Bliss Craig Murphy
Death of a Schoolboy [de] Milan
1992 Jumpin' at the Boneyard Dan
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vampire DJ
Of Mice and Men Whitt
Miracle Beach Lars
1993 Ghost Brigade Cpl. Dawson
Grief Bill
Jack Be Nimble Jack
1994 Threesome Dick
Pulp Fiction Fourth Man
Don't Do It David
1995 Frisk Punk (victim #3)
White Man's Burden Panhandler
Paradise Framed
Frank & Jesse Charlie Ford
Days of the Pentecost Mechanic
1996 Things I Never Told You Paul
Sometimes They Come Back... Again Tony Reno Video
Never Met Picasso Andrew Magnus
Scream, Teen, Scream Lisa Marie Short film
Wigstock: The Movie Herself
1997 Inside Out Adam Short film
Goodbye America Paul Bladon
I Think I Do Bob
Close To Deaf Mute Short film
Kiss & Tell Amerod Burkowitz
1998 The Wedding Singer George Stitzer
Cleopatra's Second Husband Alex
Love Kills James
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror Greg Video
Bride of Chucky Damien
Fool's Gold Mark
The Thin Pink Line Mr. Ed
1999 She's All That Mitch
Out in Fifty Kim
Clubland Steven
2000 Piccadilly Pickups Henri de la Plus Ooh Arrgh
The Price of Air Willy
Boys Life 3 Adam (segment "Inside Out")
2001 Perfect Lover Onix
Audit Richard Short film
Tomorrow by Midnight Sidney
2002 The Trip Michael
Spun Moustache Cop
2003 Killer Drag Queens on Dope Ginger credited as Eva Destruction
The Movie Hero Strange, Yet Attractive Woman
Wasabi Tuna Champagne Anna
2005 Lords of Dogtown Tranny[30]
2006 Husky 2: Together Again Gloria Robinson
2010 Hard Breakers Ms. Independence
Here & Now Ramona
2011 Getting Back to Zero Judy
2013 Tranzloco Alexis
2014 Blended Georgina
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 The 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"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1994 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Actor Nominated
1997 L.A. Outfest Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film
Never Met Picasso


  1. ^ "A Tear in the Ocean: The Final Days of Alexis Arquette". The Hollywood Reporter. September 13, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  2. ^ Bussmann, Kate (February 9, 2015). "Patricia Arquette interview: on Boyhood, Nicolas Cage and growing up". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Hoggard, Liz (August 18, 2006). "Patricia Arquette: The not-so-dippy hippie". The Independent. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  4. ^ "Alexis Arquette, Jewish transgender actress and advocate, dies at 47". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. September 12, 2016. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  5. ^ "David Arquette: The Females of My Life". Jewish Journal. February 17, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  6. ^ Finding Your Roots, February 9, 2016, PBS
  7. ^ Myrna Oliver (February 13, 2001). "Lewis Arquette Obituary Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  8. ^ Lee, Chris (1998). "Interview with Alexis Arquette". indexmagazine. Archived from the original on April 15, 2007. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  9. ^ "Alexis Arquette's 5 Most Memorable Roles". September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  10. ^ "Alexis Arquette's Sex Change Documentary to Air on A&E". Queer Day. October 14, 2005. Archived from the original on March 15, 2007. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  11. ^ "Alexis Arquette: actor and activist dies aged 47". The Guardian. London, England. Associated Press. September 12, 2016. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  12. ^ "Alexis Arquette's Kiwi role". Stuff. September 12, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  13. ^ "VUDU - Watch Movies". Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  14. ^ Greenwood, Carl (September 11, 2016). "Wedding Singer actress Alexis Arquette dies aged 47 listening to Bowie's Starman". Daily Mirror. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  15. ^ McGeorge, Alistair (September 12, 2016). "Who is Alexis Arquette? Profile of the Wedding Singer actress who has died at 47". Daily Mirror. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  16. ^ "She's Madonna: Music Video". Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  17. ^ George, Doran (May 1, 2014). "Negotiating the Spectacle in Transgender Performances of Alexis Arquette, Zackary Drucker, DavEnd, Niv Acosta, and Tobaron Waxman". Transgender Studies Quarterly. 1 (1–2): 273–279. doi:10.1215/23289252-2400244 – via Duke University Press. Due to her concern about side effects, [Arquette] procured a therapist's letter for the right to vaginoplasty that precluded the usually compulsory course of hormone treatment. Yet Arquette denied the viewer a spectacle of surgical transition, ... and she insisted on her claim to female identity while keeping private whether she has undergone, is undergoing, or will undergo surgery.
  18. ^ a b "BEFORE & AFTER Alexis Arquette's experiences as a transgender woman in Hollywood". October 3, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  19. ^ Ali, Lorraine (May 13, 2007). "None of Us Are Safe". Newsweek. Archived from the original on May 15, 2007.
  20. ^ a b c Oppenhim, Maya (September 21, 2016). "Alexis Arquette's death certificate shows she lived with HIV for 29 years". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on September 22, 2016. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Abramovitch, Seth (September 13, 2016). "A Tear in the Ocean: The Final Days of Alexis Arquette". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  22. ^ "Alexis Arquette, actor and transgender campaigner – obituary". The Telegraph. London. September 18, 2016. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  23. ^ Izadi, Elahe (September 11, 2016). "Alexis Arquette, actress and transgender advocate, dies at 47". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  24. ^ Mallenbaum, Carly (September 11, 2016). "Transgender actress Alexis Arquette, of the Arquette acting family, is dead". USA Today. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  25. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (September 12, 2016). "Alexis Arquette obituary". The Guardian. London. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  26. ^ Hautman, Nicholas (September 11, 2016). "Alexis Arquette Dead: Transgender Actress Dies at 47". Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  27. ^ Warner, Kara; Mazziota, Julie (September 11, 2016). "Alexis Arquette, Sister to David, Rosanna and Patricia, Has Died". People. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  28. ^ Arquette, Richmond (September 11, 2016). "Press release from Patricia on behalf of all of us" (Press release). Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  29. ^ "Alexis Arquette battled HIV for 29 years". TMZ. September 20, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  30. ^ Lords of Dogtown (film). 2005. Event occurs at 1:46:55.

External links