The transgender activist Alexis Arquette has died at the age of 47, surrounded by her famous family and serenaded with a David Bowie song.
Although Alexis’ cause of death was initially mysterious, People Magazine now says Arquette died from complications of AIDS.
Alexis is from a famous acting family; she was the sibling to the actors David, Rosanna, and Patricia Arquette, as well as Richmond, who announced Alexis’ death on Facebook.
USA Today says Alexis “is best known for playing a brief but memorable role as the ‘Fourth Man’ in Pulp Fiction and the Boy George-inspired character George in the 1998 comedy The Wedding Singer.”
Alexis, who died on September 11, was also well known for her transgender activism; she was, other than Caitlyn Jenner, one of Hollywood’s best known transgender activists. Alexis debuted her transition to the public at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, said Cinema Blend.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Alexis’ Family Memorialized Her for Teaching the World ‘Acceptance’
According to People Magazine, Alexis’ family remembered her for her transgender activism, including teaching the world “acceptance.”
The Washington Post said Alexis chronicled her transition “in the 2007 documentary ‘Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.'”
Alexis died shortly after midnight, said The Washington Post.
According to Slate Magazine, Alexis “was part of the third generation of Arquette family members in show business: her grandfather Cliff, her father Lewis” were actors before the siblings joined the business.
Many tributes poured in:
Fox News said Alexis started acting at the age of 12: “Alexis was born Robert Arquette in Los Angeles in 1969, and she was a performer from a young age, appearing in a music video for The Tubes’ ‘She’s a Beauty’ at age 12,” said the network.
2. Alexis Died Surrounded by Her Siblings, Who Released a Statement on Her Death
Several of Alexis’ siblings are famous. According to People Magazine, she died with her siblings “Patricia, David, Rosanna and Richmond” at her side.
Alexis’ net worth was overshadowed by that of her most famous siblings, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which pegs her siblings as being worth millions.
Alexis placed on a listing of the richest transgender activists in the world, but her net worth was listed as “unknown.”
Alexis’ brother, Richmond, released a statement on Facebook on behalf of all of Alexis’ siblings. It read:
Hello, and thank you to everyone who is a member and who has expressed love toward our sister/brother. I posted this on my page early this morning and would like to share it with all of you. With respect and love.
Our brother Robert, who became our brother Alexis, who became our sister Alexis, who became our brother Alexis, passed this morning September 11, at 12:32 am. He was surrounded by all of his brothers and sisters, one of his nieces and several other loved ones. We were playing music for him and he passed during David Bowie’s Starman. As per his wishes, we cheered at the moment that he transitioned to another dimension.
I am feeling immense gratitude to have been afforded the luxury of sharing life with him/her, for learning from Alexis, for being given the gift of being able to love her/him and to be loved by him/her. He was a force.
He died as he lived, on his own terms. I am immensely grateful that it was fast and painless. It was an incredibly moving experience and I am humbled and grateful to have been able to have been with him as he began his journey onward.
Thank you, Alexis, I love you and will love you always.
Alexis’ siblings said, “The family asks that in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations please be sent to organizations that support the LGBTQ community in honor of Alexis Arquette,” said Us Weekly.
3. Alexis’ Siblings Serenaded Her With a David Bowie Song as She Died
CBS News reports that Alexis’ siblings “serenaded her with David Bowie’s ‘Starman,'” as she passed away on September 11.
Patricia Arquette, Alexis’ sister, shared the above video to Starman after Alexis died. Rolling Stone said Alexis “was also known for playing George, a Boy George wannabe, in the 1998 Adam Sandler film The Wedding Singer.”
Alexis’ sibling, David Arquette, once said she identified as “gender suspicious,” said CNN, quoting David Arquette as saying, “She was like, ‘Yeah, sometimes I’ll be a man, sometimes I’ll be a woman. I like to refer to myself as gender suspicious.'”
Alexis’ sister, Patricia, once said in an interview, according to The Los Angeles Times, “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. I remember Alexis getting dressed in drag at 4.”
According to Slate, Alexis had several prominent roles: “On stage, she played Lee Harvey Oswald in John Malkovich’s Steppenwolf production of Libra. She also performed in drag as “Eva Destruction,” and appeared in character in the 1995 documentary Wigstock: The Movie.”
4. David Arquette Called Alexis His ‘Hero for Eternity’
One of Alexis’ most famous siblings, David Arquette, tweeted in Alexis’ honor after Alexis died. David wrote:
David Arquette’s ex-wife, Courtney Cox, and the mother of his daughter, also tweeted condolences:
Boy George also tweeted condolences:
CNN said Alexis “was one of the earliest high-profile advocates for transgender rights and said she identified with being a woman at a young age.”
5. Arquette Died of AIDS-Related Complications, People Magazine Says
TMZ said only that Alexis had been battling “an illness.” Other sites were similarly cryptic about the cause of Alexis’ death. On September 12, People Magazine reported that a source close to the family had confirmed that “Alexis Arquette died from complications related to AIDS.”
Radar Online quoted Robert Dupont, who knew Alex, as saying, “Alexis was living with AIDS and he had an inoperable tumor and he had developed an infection.”
The Washington Post said a cause of death was “not immediately released.”
Rolling Stone said that Alexis died of a “lengthy illness.”
The Los Angeles Times also declared Alexis’ cause of death unknown.