As confirmed by TMZ, actress Alexis Arquette died this morning while “surrounded by family and friends” and “listening to David Bowie’s ‘Starman.’” Probably best known for her roles in Pulp Fiction and The Wedding Singer, TMZ adds that she was “a champion for trans rights.” She had reportedly been “battling an illness” and was 47.
Arquette’s brother, actor Richmond Arquette, posted a statement about her death on Facebook (via People):
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 incredible 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 always love you.
Alexis Arquette was born Robert Arquette in 1969 and began acting at a young age, with her first big role coming in Uli Edel’s adaptation of Last Exit To Brooklyn. She later appeared in Pulp Fiction, playing the guy who ineffectively shoots at John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson while they’re talking to Phil LaMarr’s Marvin—and in The Wedding Singer—in which she played a Boy George-inspired performer. In 2007, her experience as a transgender actress was documented in the film Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.
Boy George himself tweeted about Arquette, saying that “another bright light” had “gone out far too soon.”
Patricia Arquette, Alexis’ sister, also took to Twitter to share a pair of songs dedicated to her, specifically “Starman” and T. Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer.”