Born into a show-biz family that includes her grandfather, Cliff Arquette, father, Lewis Arquette, and siblings, David, Patricia, and Alexis Arquette, offbeat leading actress Rosanna Arquette worked as a teen in television movies through the '70s and the early '80s, but she didn't become a real star until her role in Susan Seidelman's sleeper Desperately Seeking Susan (1985). Though her part seemed to promise a bright future for the talented and beautiful actress, she has since been more or less relegated to supporting roles and co-leads.
Born in Manhattan on August 10, 1959, Arquette moved about frequently with her family while she was growing up. She made her acting debut in Los Angeles at the age of 17 in a theatrical production of Metamorphosis, and she continued acting in local plays when her family relocated to Virginia. After an audience with a casting director, Arquette began appearing on television, and she made her feature-film debut in More American Graffiti in 1979. She had her first starring role in John Sayles' 1983 romantic drama Baby It's You, playing an overachieving Jewish girl who falls in love with an Italian hunk (Vincent Spano). Though she has subsequently been typecast as kooky but sexy women, early in her career, Arquette demonstrated considerable dramatic ability in The Executioner's Song (1982), the television biopic about convicted killer Gary Gilmore which was later released theatrically.