Paternal grandfather was humorist Cliff Arquette, who was best known for his Charley Weaver character; maternal grandfather was a Polish Holocaust refugee; her father, Lewis Arquette, was an improvisational comedian and actor who played J.D. Pickett on The Waltons.
First movie role (a walk-on) was as a hippie in 1979's More American Graffiti.
The rock group Toto's Grammy-winning 1982 song Rosanna is about her, as is In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel's 1986 hit. Both Gabriel and Toto bandmember Steve Porcaro were romantically involved with Arquette.
Sued Playboy magazine for publishing unauthorized nude photos of her in 1990.
Made her directorial debut with Searching for Debra Winger, a 2003 made-for-Showtime documentary exploring problems actresses face as they age.
1983, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special: Nominee
1987, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
1986, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Winner
1986, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Female Lead: Nominee
1986, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee