Anne Heche, multifaceted actress, dies at 53 after car accident

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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 stabbing victim in a remake of ‘Psycho’, but who claimed she was “blacklisted” from major studio projects in the late 1990s after she and Ellen DeGeneres began dating a celebrity same-sex couple, was taken off life support on August 14. She was 53 years old.

His death, in a Los Angeles hospital, was confirmed by his publicist Holly Baird. Ms Heche had been hospitalized after driving her vehicle to a house in the Mar Vista area of ​​the city on August 5. The car was engulfed 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 severe anoxic brain injury and was declared brain dead, and was kept on life support so her organs could be donated.

An initial blood test revealed narcotics in his system, Los Angles police spokesman Tony Im told the Washington Post Thursday evening, but a full toxicology report was pending to determine if any substance was linked to medical treatments.

Ms. Heche (pronounced “haysh”) first gained acclaim in the 1990s in supporting roles such as the embattled wife of an undercover cop (played by Johnny Depp) in the 1997 crime drama Donnie Brasco and as a presidential staffer closely wounded in political satire “Walk the dog,” with Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, later that same year. She often used her wispy, sprite-like look to contrast the sharp edges of her dramatic characters and as a comedic asset while playing original roles in romantic comedies and other films.

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His breakthrough came with starring roles in several films released in 1998, including “Six Days Seven Nights” in which she plays a New York journalist stranded on a desert island in the Pacific with a small plane pilot (Harrison Ford) and “Psycho” as con man Marion Crane, whose stabbing death in a shower, with blood surrounding the drain, earned a place in Hollywood fame for Janet Leigh in Alfred Hitchcock’s original from 1960.

Ms Heche claimed the film industry turned its back on her after her relationship with DeGeneres, a comedian who starred in the ABC sitcom “Ellen”, went public just as ‘Six Days’ began filming – although she did praise Ford for standing by her side and making sure she stayed in the cast.

She insisted that opportunities for starring roles began to dry up because of romance at a time when few queer celebrities felt comfortable discussing their sexuality openly. Mrs. Heche, in a 2021 interview with the New York Post, said she felt like “patient zero in cancel culture.” DeGeneres’ “Ellen” was dropped after the show’s character — and the real DeGeneres — came out as gay. Advertisers fled, ratings plummeted, and DeGeneres continued to host “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” a longtime talk and variety show.

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

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

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

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

In August 2000, Ms Heche wandered into the desert outside of Fresno, California, apparently wearing only a bra, shorts and sneakers, and ended up knocking on the door of a house. The police were eventually called and Ms Heche, according to KSEE TV channeloffered a rambling statement that included references to traveling to heaven on a spaceship.

In his 2001 memoir, “Call me crazyshe described creating alter egos, including one as a half-sister of Jesus Christ named “Celestia,” as a way to deal with her inner demons. On CNN “Larry King Live” in 2001 she said she felt “crazy” for 31 years before finding “peace and balance”. Even her therapist was unaware of her struggles, she said.

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

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

She said the daily telegraph that at the age of 12, the family was forced to live for a time in a single room in the home of a member of their congregation in Ocean City, NJ During this time, she found employment in a burger stand on the boardwalk.

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

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

One day after graduation, she lands a dual role on NBC “Another world” playing identical twins Vicky Hudson (sinister) and Marley Love (upright) from 1987 to 1991.

Ms. Heche was rarely without a role or project since the 1990s, appearing 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 the narcissistic and glamorous female lead.

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

In addition to Ms. Heche’s mother and sister, survivors include a son, Homer, from her marriage to Laffoon, and another son, Atlas, from a relationship with actor James Tupper.

In a life marked by hardship, Ms. Heche expressed lingering regret that she never had the opportunity to go to college. But she found satisfaction and fulfillment in her work.

“My training ground in school was at the best acting school,” she said in a 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.”

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