Anne Heche, wide-ranging actress, dies at 53 after car crash


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Anne Heche, an actress whose roles ranged from a White House stress ball assistant in “Wag the Dog” to a Bates Motel victim in a “Psycho” remake, but who claimed she was “blacklisted” from major studio projects in the late 1990s after she and Ellen DeGeneres hit the ground running as a famous same-sex couple, was taken off life support on August 14. She was 53.

Her death, at a Los Angeles hospital, was confirmed by her publicist Holly Baird. Ms. Heche was hospitalized after driving her vehicle into a home in the city’s Mar Vista neighborhood on August 5. The car went up in flames and she was pulled from the vehicle with severe burns. According to a statement released Friday by one of her representatives, she suffered a serious anoxic brain injury and was pronounced brain dead, and was kept alive so that her organs could be donated.

An initial blood test found narcotics in her system, Los Angeles police spokesman Tony Im told The Washington Post Thursday evening, but a full toxicology report was pending to determine if a substance was linked to medical treatments.

Ms. Heche (pronounced “haysh”) first rose to prominence in the 1990s in supporting roles such as the beleaguered wife of an undercover cop (played by Johnny Depp) in the 1997 crime drama “Donnie Brasco” and as a tightly wounded presidential staffer. in the political satire “Wag the Dog,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, later that same year. She often used her wispy and sprite-like appearance to contrast the sharp edges of her dramatic characters and as a comedic asset while playing quirky roles in rom-coms and other films.

Anne Heche’s family and friends share their love and sorrow at her death

Her breakthrough came with starring roles in several films released in 1998, including “Six Days Seven Nights,” in which she played a New York journalist stranded on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean with a small plane pilot (Harrison Ford ) and ‘Psycho’. in the role of embezzler Marion Crane, whose stabbing death in a shower, with blood flowing down the drain, earned a place in Hollywood fame for Janet Leigh in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 original.

Ms. Heche claimed the movie industry turned its back on her after her relationship with DeGeneres, a comedian who starred on the ABC sitcom “Ellen,” went public just as “Six Days” began filming — though she praised Ford for helping her out. and making sure she stayed in the cast.

She insisted that opportunities for lead roles began to dry up because of the romance at a time when few gay celebrities felt comfortable talking openly about their sexuality. Ms. Heche said in a 2021 interview with the New York Post that she felt “patient zero in the cancellation culture.” DeGeneres’ “Ellen” was dropped after the show’s character — and the real DeGeneres — came out as gay. Advertisers fled, ratings plummeted, and DeGeneres presented “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” a long-running talk and variety show.

‘Ellen made gay okay’: TV host celebrates 20th anniversary of sitcom coming-out episode

Ms. Heche and DeGeneres attended the 1997 premiere of “Volcano,” which featured Ms. Heche played a scientist trying to save Los Angeles from lava after a volcanic eruption. Ms. Heche claimed executives at US distributor Fox advised them not to attend as a couple. They quickly became sought-after stars for fundraisers and same-sex equality rallies.

Ms. Heche and DeGeneres announced plans for a civil union in Vermont as the state in 1999 the partnership legalized, but they ended their relationship the following year. Mrs Heche continued to marry cinematographer Coleman “Coley” Laffoon in 2001. They divorced in 2009.

“I was part of a revolution that brought about social change,” Ms Heche told Warburton magazine in 2020, “and I couldn’t have done that without falling in love with [DeGeneres].”

Ms. Heche sometimes made headlines for erratic behavior that she attributed to psychological problems caused by her father, an organist and choirmaster whom she accused of sexually abusing her. Ms. Heche’s mother, Nancy, and sister Abigail denied that such abuse had taken place. (Mrs. Heche’s father died in 1983 from what she described as AIDS-related causes.)

In August 2000, Ms. Heche wandered into the desert outside Fresno, California, reportedly wearing only a bra, shorts, and sneakers, and eventually knocked on a house door. The police were eventually called and Ms. Heche, according to television station KSEE, made a disjointed statement with references to traveling to heaven on a spaceship.

In her 2001 memoir, “Call Me Crazy,” she described creating alter egos, including one as a half-sister of Jesus Christ called “Celestia,” as a way to deal with her inner demons. On CNN’s “Larry King Live” in 2001, she said: she felt “insane” for 31 years before finding “peace and balance”. Even her therapist didn’t know about her struggles, she said.

“I was raised to always tell everyone that everything was fine,” she said, “and even though I was in therapy for years, I never told anyone that I had a different personality. I never told anyone that I heard voices and spoke to God, I never told anything about it.”

Born in Aurora, Ohio, on May 25, 1969, Anne Celeste Heche was the youngest of five children in a family that, according to Ms. Heche’s accounts, moved frequently and often got by with barely enough money for rent and supplies.

She told the Daily Telegraph that when she was 12, the family was forced to live for a while in a single room at the home of a member of their congregation in Ocean City, NJ. During that time, she found a job at a hamburger on the boulevard.

“That’s where I first became an actress,” she told Suburban Life magazine. “I literally started singing before my dinner right on the boardwalk. I would flip burgers and sing show tunes to get people to our booth.”

After moving to Chicago as a teenager, an agent saw Ms. Heche in a play at the Francis W. Parker School and asked her to take her to New York for daytime soap opera auditions. Her mother insisted that she finish high school, Ms Heche recalled.

A day after graduation, she landed a dual role on NBC’s “Another World” starring identical twins Vicky Hudson (sinister) and Marley Love (standing) from 1987 to 1991.

Rarely had a role or project since the 1990s, Ms. Heche has appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows and several Broadway productions, including opposite Alec Baldwin in “Twentieth Century.” She was nominated for a 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as a narcissistic and glamorous lead actress.

She appeared in many independent films. In 2004, Ms. Heche played a supporting role in “Birth” alongside Nicole Kidman, about a woman who believes her late husband has reincarnated as a 10-year-old boy. In the 2016 dark comedy “Catfight,” Ms. Heche and Sandra Oh portray quarrelsome rivals trapped in a life of dirty tricks and grudges.

In addition to the mother and sister of Mrs. Heche includes a son, Homer, from her marriage to Laffoon, and another son, Atlas, from a relationship with actor James Tupper.

In a life marked by difficulties, Ms. Heche expressed her lasting regret that she never had the chance to go to university. But she found satisfaction and satisfaction in her work.

“My training ground at school was in the best drama school,” she said in an interview with NPR’s “Fresh Air” in 2000. “There’s nothing better than working five days a week and being in front of the camera every day.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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