Who Is Patricia Arquette?

Born in Chicago in 1968, actress Patricia Arquette comes from a family of performers. She earned acclaim for her work in the made-for-TV movie Wildflower (1991) and the crime adventure True Romance (1993), before demonstrating her range in David Lynch's Lost Highway (1997). While starring in the crime drama Medium, Arquette also was involved in the decade-plus production of Richard Linklater's Boyhood (2014), for which she won an Academy Award. The actress later enjoyed crucial roles in the series Escape at Dannemora and The Act.

Famous Family

Emmy and Academy Award-winning Actress Patricia Arquette was born on April 8, 1968, in Chicago, Illinois. She 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, writer and activist. One of five children, Patricia followed her older sister Rosanna’s footsteps to become an actress. Her other siblings, Richmond, Alexis and David, have also worked in the entertainment industry.

In her early teens, Arquette went through a rebellious period. 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.

Early Career: 'Wildflower,' 'The Indian Runner' and 'True Romance'

Patricia started acting, too, taking on roles in such films as Pretty Smart (1987) and Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987). She earned critical acclaim for her work alongside Reese Witherspoon and Beau Bridges in the 1991 Lifetime made-for-TV movie Wildflower, about 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.

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. 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.

Arquette 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.

Film Star: 'Ed Wood,' 'Lost Highway' and 'Stigmata'

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).

Arquette continued to show her great range as a performer 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).

In 1999, Arquette co-starred with then-husband Nicolas Cage in the drama Bringing Out the Dead, directed by Martin Scorsese, and 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. She went on to supporting roles in the popular comedy Holes (2003) and the drama Fast Food Nation (2006), both adaptations of recently published books.

'Medium' and 'Boardwalk Empire'

In January 2005, Arquette took to the small screen for 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 and garnered several Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. Medium ran for a total of seven seasons, until 2011.

The actress soon returned to television for the recurring role of speakeasy owner Sally Wheet in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Oscar for 'Boyhood'

Arquette featured prominently in Richard Linklater's innovative indie-film drama Boyhood (2014), in which she played a single mother striving to care for herself and her kids. The film was produced over the course of 12 years, providing the effect of its young actors growing up on screen, and Arquette was rewarded for her impressive performance with Golden Globe and Oscar wins in the category of supporting actress. Toward the end of her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, Arquette delivered a rousing political statement that unabashedly called for fair wages and equal rights for women in America.

'CSI,' 'Escape at Dannemora' and 'The Act'

Arquette went on to roles in films like The Wannabe (2015) and Permanent (2017), but continued to enjoy most of her success via the small screen. After appearing on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, she starred in the spinoff CSI: Cyber, which aired for two seasons.

In late 2018 the actress was among the stars of the seven-part Showtime series Escape at Dannemora, based on the 2015 prison break from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Arquette gained more than 40 pounds for the role of Joyce "Tilly" Mitchell, a prison worker who gets romantically involved with two inmates en route to aiding their escape, nabbing another Golden Globe win for her performance.

Arquette next drew attention for her role of Dee Dee Blanchard in the Hulu series The Act, based on the bizarre real-life story of a mother who convinced people that her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, was several years younger and suffering from an array of maladies. Again using the awards circuit as a platform for political statements, she called for transgender rights during her Emmy acceptance speech, and urged Americans to vote for a "better world" after picking up a Golden Globe at the January 2020 ceremony.

Marriages and Children

Arquette had her first child, a son named Enzo, with musician Paul Rossi in 1989. She went on to marry Nic Cage in 1995, but the couple reportedly separated early in their union before taking turns filing for divorce in 2000.

Arquette then dated actor Thomas Jane, with whom she had daughter Harlow in 2003, before the couple tied the knot in Venice, Italy, on June 25, 2006. Their divorce was finalized in 2011.


  • Name: Patricia T. Arquette
  • Birth Year: 1968
  • Birth date: April 8, 1968
  • Birth State: Illinois
  • Birth City: Chicago
  • Birth Country: United States
  • Gender: Female
  • Best Known For: Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette has had a long career in film and television, continually showing her great range as a performer across genres.
  • Industries
    • Television
    • Drama
    • Horror
    • Comedy
  • Astrological Sign: Aries
  • Nacionalities
    • Polish
  • Occupations
    • Television Personality

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  • Article Title: Patricia Arquette Biography
  • Author: Biography.com Editors
  • Website Name: The Biography.com website
  • Url: https://www.biography.com/actors/patricia-arquette
  • Access Date:
  • Publisher: A&E; Television Networks
  • Last Updated: January 6, 2020
  • Original Published Date: April 2, 2014