Alexis Arquette is an American trans woman, actress, musician, and cabaret performer. She was born in Los Angeles, California to Brenda “Mardi” Olivia, an actress, poet, theater operator, activist, acting teacher and therapist, and Lewis Arquette, an actor and director. Her paternal grandfather was comedian Cliff Arquette. Her mother was Jewish, the daughter of a Holocaust refugee from Poland, and her father was a convert to Islam and a descendant of explorer Meriwether Lewis. Arquette’s siblings are actors Rosanna, Patricia, Richmond and David.
In 1982, at the age of twelve, Alexis’ first job was in the music video “She’s a Beauty” by The Tubes. Four years later, she debuted on the big screen with an uncredited bit part as Alexis in the comedy film Down and Out in Beverly Hills. At twenty-two, Arquette landed her first significant acting role, playing a transvestite Georgette in Last Exit to Brooklyn. Sixteen years later, she went through her own transition from male to female, an experience that was documented in the film, Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother, which debuted at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
Lesser known than her siblings, the majority of her film work has been limited to low-budget or independent films. She also appeared in I Think I Do, Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror, Sometimes They Come Back… Again, and Killer Drag Queens on Dope, among 40 other independent pictures. Arquette has appeared in supporting roles in Pulp Fiction as well as mainstream films. In 2001, she played the Roman emperor Caligula in two episodes of the cult television show Xena: Warrior Princess. Also in 2001, Arquette guest starred in the Friends episode in the show’s seventh season. She had a cameo appearance in Son of the Beach and in September 2005, VH1 announced her casting in an upcoming season of the reality show The Surreal Life.