Jewish transgender actress Alexis Arquette dies at 47

Transgender actress Alexis Arquette, who worked to raise awareness about the transgender community, died on Sept. 11. She was 47.

Alexis Arquette in 2010 photo/jta-getty images-kevin winter

The sister of actors David, Rosanna, Richmond and Patricia Arquette, Alexis died as her family serenaded her with David Bowie’s “Starman,” according to a statement put out by her siblings. The cause of death was not given.

Arquette gained fame after playing a transvestite sex worker in the 1989 film adaptation of the novel “Last Exit to Brooklyn.” She also had roles in “Pulp Fiction,” “Bride of Chucky” and “The Wedding Singer,” and performed in nightclubs and cabarets.

She documented her gender transition and sex reassignment surgery in the 2007 film “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.”

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

The Los Angeles native was born to a Jewish mother, actress Brenda Denaut, and a Catholic father who later converted to Islam, actor Lewis Arquette. She launched her acting career as a 12-year-old, when she was Robert Arquette, playing the role of a young boy in the Tubes’ video for their hit “She’s a Beauty.” — jta

JTA

JTA news agency