Anne Heche, actress known for her roles in 90s films, dies at 53

Anne Heche, an actress as well known for her roles in films like ‘Six Days, Seven Nights’ and ‘Donnie Brasco’ as for her personal life, which included a three-year romance with comedian Ellen DeGeneres, died Sunday in Los Angeles, nine days after being the victim of a devastating car accident. She was 53 years old.

Her death was announced on Sunday evening by a representative, Holly Baird, who said in an email that Ms Heche had been “peacefully removed from life support”.

Ms Heche was seriously injured on August 5 when a Mini Cooper she was driving crashed into a two-story house in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, sparking a fire that took more than an hour to complete. firefighters to go out. Mrs. Heche, who was alone in the car, suffered burns and severe anoxic brain damage, caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain.

A Los Angeles police spokesperson said the department is continuing to investigate whether drug use contributed to the accident.

A statement released by her publicist on behalf of her family on Thursday evening said Ms Heche remained in a coma at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital in Los Angeles.

“It has long been her choice to donate her organs, and she is being kept on life support to determine if any are viable,” the statement read.

On Friday, a representative said Ms Heche was declared brain dead on Thursday evening.

Ms. Heche was a soap opera star before she became known to moviegoers. In the late 1980s, shortly after graduating from high school, she joined the cast of the daytime drama “Another World,” where she played good and bad twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love. She won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991 for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series.

In the mid-1990s, she was a rising star in Hollywood. She played Catherine Keener’s best friend in “Walking and Talking” (1996); Johnny Depp’s wife in “Donnie Brasco” (1997); a presidential aide in the political satire “Wag the Dog” (1997), starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro; and a fashion magazine editor who crash-lands on a South Seas island in a plane piloted by Harrison Ford in “Six Days, Seven Nights” (1998).

“Romantic comedies don’t get more formulaic than this bouncy Valentine’s Day, but they don’t get much more delightful either,” Rita Kempley wrote in her review of “Six Days, Seven Nights” in The Washington Post. “So do Heche and Ford as opposites bickering over this tropical adventure.”

Ms Heche began a relationship with Ms DeGeneres in 1997, at a time when same-sex relationships in Hollywood were not fully accepted. The relationship became widely known in April of that year when they appeared hand-in-hand at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington. A few days later, Mrs. DeGeneres’ character on her sitcom, “Ellen,” came out as gay.

Ms. Heche’s decision to reveal that she was in a lesbian relationship, wrote the New York Times, “has confronted Hollywood with a very delicate problem: how to deal with a gay actress whose career has been built on heterosexual roles. “.

After that relationship ended, Ms Heche married and later divorced a man, Coleman Laffoon, with whom she had a son, Homer. She also had a son, Atlas Heche Tupper, from her relationship with actor James Tupper.

She is survived by her sons as well as her mother, Nancy Heche, and her sister Abigail Heche. Her sister Susan Bergman died in 2006; another sister, Cynthia, died in infancy; and her brother, Nathan, died in 1983.

Ms Heche told the New York Post in 2021 that she had been “blacklisted” in Hollywood because of her relationship with Ms DeGeneres.

“I haven’t done a studio photo for 10 years,” she reportedly said. “I got kicked out of a $10 million photography deal and didn’t see the light of day in a studio shot.”

After starring in “Six Days, Seven Nights” and Gus Van Sant’s 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” as Marion Crane, the role originally played by Janet Leigh, the lead roles in the movies largely gave way to appearances on TV shows like “Ally McBeal” and “Nip/Tuck.”

She also starred in the short-lived sitcom “Men in Trees,” had recurring roles on “Everwood” and “Chicago PD,” and landed a starring role in the HBO series “Hung,” which starred Thomas Jane. as a male prostitute.

She appeared on Broadway in the play “Proof” from 2002 until it closed in 2003, then in the 2004 revival of “Twentieth Century,” the 1932 comedy about a Broadway producer (Alec Baldwin) who, as As a passenger on the Twentieth Century Limited train, he meets an old discovery, Lily Garland (Mrs. Heche), who has become a Hollywood star. The role earned Ms. Heche a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.

In his review in The Times, Ben Brantley wrote: “His posture blending serpentine seductiveness with street fighter aggression, his voice oscillating between the velvet of a supper club and the vinyl of a store in ten sous, Mrs. Heche summons a whole gallery of mermaids made in the studio. from the Depression era: Jean Harlow, the pre-mummified Joan Crawford and, yes, Carole Lombard, who played Lily in the film version of Howard Hawks’ “Twentieth Century”.

In 2004, Ms. Heche was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie, for her performance in “Gracie’s Choice,” a television movie about a teenage girl who struggles with her step-parents’ upbringing. siblings after their drug addiction. mother is sent to prison.

She most recently appeared in the films “The Vanished” (2020), a psychological thriller, and “13 Minutes” (2021), which centers on a tornado, as well as several episodes of the courtroom drama “All Rise.”

Anne Celeste Heche was born on May 25, 1969 in Aurora, Ohio. Her father, Donald Heche, was an evangelical Christian and, it turned out, a closeted homosexual. Her first acting role was in a New Jersey dinner theater production of “The Music Man”, which paid her $100 a week.

In 1983, after her father died of AIDS, her mother became a Christian therapist and lectured on behalf of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family organization on “overcoming” homosexuality.

Ms Heche wrote in her 2001 memoir ‘Call Me Crazy’ about being sexually abused by her father and her mother’s denial of the abuse. She said when she called her mother after years of therapy to confront her about it, her mother ended the conversation saying, “Jesus loves you, Anne,” before hanging up.

“People wonder why I’m so open with the truths that have happened in my life,” Ms. Heche said in a 2009 interview with The Times. and the denial I was brought up in, for better or worse, gave birth to a child of truth and love.

In 2018, she said she was fired from a job at Miramax when she refused to perform oral sex on Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul who founded the company with his brother, Bob, and who was accused of sexual assault by dozens of women. . He was convicted of two criminal sex crimes in 2020 and is serving a 23-year prison sentence.

“If I hadn’t been sexually abused as a child, I don’t know if I would have had the strength to stand up to Harvey — and many others, for that matter,” she told the podcast “Allegedly … With Theo Von & Matthieu Cole Weiss. “It wasn’t just Harvey, and I will say that.”

Vimal Patel contributed report.