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Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
This pouty, slender actress frequently plays fragile, misunderstood, and sometimes neurotic women, and while her star never ascended to the heights predicted for her, Arquette has enjoyed considerable success as an offbeat leading lady. Out of an acting family, she was bitten by the bug while in grade school, and left home at age 15, trading the lights of New York for the hills of Hollywood. She played small roles in several films-including Zuma Beach (1978 telefilm), More American Graffiti (1979), Gorp (1980), and S.O.B (1981), before achieving recognition in 1982 as the killer's girlfriend in the widely seen made-for-TV movie The Executioner's Song and in the title role in Johnny Belinda an above-average TV-movie remake. Writer-director John Sayles starred her in his quirky, low-budgeted Baby, It's You (1983), but her breakout role was that of the bored housewife in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), anchoring what had been touted as a low-budget vehicle for pop singer Madonna.
A supporting turn in Silverado (1985) didn't offer Arquette much opportunity, but she was a memorable suicide victim in After Hours (1985), Martin Scorsese's Yuppie-in-wonderland black comedy. 8 Million Ways to Die, Nobody's Fool (both 1986), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), The Big Blue (1988), New York Stories (1989), Sweet Revenge (1990), Flight of the Intruder, Black Rainbow (both 1991), Nowhere to Run and the telefilm The Wrong Man (both 1993) have kept her in the public eye, but that's about all. Arquette still displays the same appeal that first captivated viewers, but the breaks haven't come her way.
Her sister Patricia Arquette has enjoyed a rapid rise to success, with starring roles in a handful of 1993 releases: Ethan Frome, Trouble Bound, Inside Monkey Zetterland and True Romance