Actor and activist Alexis Arquette dies aged 47

Star of Last Exit to Brooklyn and sibling of fellow actors David, Rosanna and Patricia Arquette died on Sunday morning

Alexis Arquette, the transgender character actress and sibling of actors David, Rosanna, Richmond and Patricia Arquette, died early on Sunday morning in Los Angeles. She was 47 and surrounded by family who serenaded her with David Bowies Starman, her siblings said in a statement.

Alexis was a brilliant artist and painter, a singer, an entertainer and an actor, her brothers and sisters said. We learned what real bravery is through watching her journey of living as a trans woman. We came to discover the one truth that love is everything.

They added: We are comforted by the fact that Alexis came into our family and was our brother and then our sister, and that she gave us so much love. We will love you always, Alexis. We know we were the lucky ones.

Alexis was born Robert Arquette in Los Angeles in 1969, and was a performer from a young age, appearing in a music video for the Tubes Shes a Beauty at age 12.

A versatile performer, Arquettes big break came in the 1989 adaptation of Last Exit to Brooklyn, in which 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.

They asked me if I wanted to read for a role because they knew that Id done a drag thing at one of my friends clubs, Arquette said in a 1999 Index Magazine interview. I ended up getting the job, basically through my sister.

If it wasnt for her, I wouldnt have been in New York. But nobody gives you a job, youve got to earn it on your own. I would never want anyone to think that theres some kind of cachet to my name.

She also had bit roles in films such as Pulp Fiction, Bride of Chucky and as a Boy George impersonator first in the Adam Sandler comedy The Wedding Singer and again in Blended.

On Sunday, Boy George tweeted his condolences to my sister Alexis Arquette. Another bright light gone out far too soon.

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, Arquette said in the 1999 Index interview. 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. You want to be wanted for who you are, not what youve done or who youve become.

Arquette also appeared on season six of the VH1 reality series The Surreal Life, and 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: Shes My Brother.

In their statement, the Arquettes said that their sisters career was cut short, not by her passing, but by her decision to live her truth and her life as a transgender woman.

Despite the fact that there are few parts for trans actors, she refused to play roles that were demeaning or stereotypical, they said. She was a vanguard in the fight for understanding and acceptance for all trans people.

The Arquette family requested privacy, and that donations be made to organizations that support the LGBTQ community.

Among tributes paid on social media, Patricia Arquette tweeted a link to Bowies Starman and wrote: Breaking through the veil singing StarMan.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/sep/11/actor-and-activist-alexis-arquette-dies-aged-47

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