Patricia Arquette

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette has had a long career in film and television, continually showing her great range as a performer across genres.


American actress Patricia Arquette comes from a long line of performers in her family. She gained critical acclaim for her work in the made-for-TV movie Wildflower, co-starring with Reese Witherspoon. In 1997 she continued to show her great range as a performer when she starred in David Lynch's Lost Highway. She later co-starred with her then-husband Nicholas Cage in Bringing out the Dead. Arquette later starred for several seasons in the TV series Medium, and won a supporting actress Academy Award in 2015 for the drama Boyhood.

Famous Family

Actress Patricia Arquette was born on April 8, 1968, in Chicago, Illinois. Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Arquette has played an unusual mix of characters in her career, from a naïve prostitute in the film True Romance to a suburban mother with psychic powers in the television series Medium.

Arquette comes from a long line of performers. Her great-grandfather performed on the vaudeville circuit, and her grandfather Cliff Arquette often appeared on television as the folksy character Charley Weaver on Jack Parr's 1950s version of The Tonight Show.

Arquette's father Lewis was an actor and director and her mother Mardi was a performer, a writer, and an activist. One of five children, Patricia followed her older sister Rosanna’s footsteps to become an actress. Her other remaining siblings Richmond, Alexis, and David have also worked in the entertainment industry.

In her early teens, Arquette went through a rebellious period in her life. She was caught shoplifting at the age of 12 and later shaved her head. At the age of 14, she moved in with her sister Rosanna. Rosanna was an up-and-coming actress at the time who soon made it big with the 1985 hit Desperately Seeking Susan. Patricia started acting, too, taking on roles in such films as Pretty Smart (1987) and Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987).

The following year, Arquette had her first child, a son named Enzo, with musician Paul Rossi. She also earned critical acclaim for her work as an actress after co-starring with Reese Witherspoon and Beau Bridges in the 1991 Lifetime made-for-TV movie Wildflower. It tells the story of a hearing-impaired girl who is misunderstood and abused by her father. Arquette earned a CableACE Award for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries for her performance.

Early Acting Career

Arquette also received positive reviews for her work in Sean Penn’s directorial debut, The Indian Runner (1991), about two brothers on opposite sides of the law. In the film, she played the girlfriend of Frank Roberts (Viggo Mortensen), a wayward criminal who tells his lawman brother Joe (David Morse) that he wants to reform himself. She then appeared opposite Liam Neeson and Joan Allen in Ethan Frome (1993), a film adaptation of an Edith Wharton novel. This dreary period drama failed to attract much of an audience.

Later that year, Arquette made a splash on the big screen in the crime adventure tale True Romance (1993) as Alabama Whitman, a rookie streetwalker. Her character joins up with a comic book store clerk (Christian Slater) who helps her escape from her pimp (Gary Oldman). The two end up running away with a large amount of cocaine that belongs to the mob, which they try to sell to finance their escape abroad.

Indie and Television Roles

After several fast-paced action films, Arquette gave a more subdued performance in Ed Wood (1994), a biopic starring Johnny Depp as the famed B-movie director. She showed that she could handle comedic material as well, playing Ben Stiller’s wife in Flirting with Disaster (1996). Around this time, Arquette married actor Nicholas Cage.

In 1997, Arquette continued to show her great range as a performer. She starred in David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997), playing two different characters or two different versions of the same character — this has been left up to the viewer to decide. One of the characters is a passive, possibly adulterous housewife of a sax player (Bill Pullman), and the other is a femme fatale mixed up with a gangster (Robert Loggia).

Arquette later co-starred with her then-husband Nicolas Cage in the 1999 drama Bringing Out the Dead directed by Martin Scorsese. That same year, Arquette starred in the comedic thriller Goodbye Lover (1999). She had greater commercial success with the religious-themed horror film Stigmata (1999), playing a young hairdresser who suddenly starts having visions and bleeding from wounds that mirror the ones Jesus Christ experienced during his crucifixion.

The following year, Arquette appeared in more lighthearted fare, co-starring with Adam Sandler in the comedy Little Nicky (2000). After several rounds of separations and reconciliations, her marriage to NicolasCage also ended around this time. She later started dating actor Thomas Jane. The couple welcomed their daughter Harlow in 2003. That same year, Arquette had a supporting role in the popular comedy Holes, based on the popular children’s book of the same title.

'Medium' and Oscar for 'Boyhood'

In January 2005, Arquette took to the small screen in the crime drama Medium, as real-life psychic medium Allison Dubois. In this role, she plays the wife and mother of three who tries to balance her family life, her law school studies, and work with the police to solve cases. For her work on the show, Arquette won a 2005 Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series.

After the end of the show’s first season, Arquette married Thomas Jane in Venice, Italy, on June 25, 2006. Medium ran for a total of seven seasons, until 2011. Arquette has gone on to star in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire as well as the innovative indie-film drama Boyhood (2014), in which she played a single mother striving to care for herself and her kids. She has earned much acclaim for the role, winning both a Golden Globe and an Oscar in the category of supporting actress. Towards the end of her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards telecast, Arquette also made a rousing political statement that unabashedly called for fair wages and equal rights for women in America.

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