Anne Celeste Heche[1] (/h/ (listen) HAYTCH;[2][3][4] May 25, 1969 – August 11, 2022[a]) was an American actress, known for her roles in a variety of genres in film, television, and theater, receiving numerous accolades, including a National Board of Review Award and multiple Emmy Awards.

Anne Heche
Anne Heche July 14, 2014 (cropped).jpg
Heche at 2014 NBCUniversal's Summer TCA Tour
Born
Anne Celeste Heche

(1969-05-25)May 25, 1969
DiedAugust 11, 2022(2022-08-11) (aged 53)[a]
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
EducationFrancis W. Parker School
OccupationActress
Years active1977–2022
Spouse
Coleman "Coley" Laffoon
(m. 2001; div. 2009)
Partners
Children2
Parent
RelativesSusan Bergman (sister)
Elliot Bergman (nephew)
Natalie Bergman (niece)

Heche's professional acting career began on the soap opera Another World (1987–1991) portraying the twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love, for which she received a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991. Her acting profile rose during the first half of the 1990s, gaining particular attention for her co-starring role in the independent film Walking and Talking (1996) and for her standout supporting role in the crime drama Donnie Brasco (1997). Further high-profile roles followed in 1997, including Volcano, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Wag the Dog. In 1998, Heche further rose to prominence with her leading role in the romantic comedy Six Days, Seven Nights opposite Harrison Ford. Also in 1998, she starred in Gus Van Sant's shot-for-shot remake of Psycho.

From 1999 to 2001, Heche took fewer acting roles and concentrated on directing projects, most notably a segment of the HBO anthology film If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000). Her acting roles from the 2000s onward focused on independent films, TV series, and some stage roles. In 2004, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in the Broadway revival of the play Twentieth Century and a Primetime Emmy Award for the television film Gracie's Choice, also starring in an acclaimed supporting role in the supernatural drama Birth. Other film roles included Cedar Rapids (2011), Catfight (2016), and My Friend Dahmer (2017). Heche also starred in a number of dramatic television series, including Men in Trees (2006–2008) and Hung (2009–2011). In 2020, she appeared as a contestant in the 29th season of Dancing with the Stars.

Events in Heche's personal life often upstaged her acting career. From 1997 to 2000, she was in a high-profile same-sex relationship with comedian Ellen DeGeneres, sometimes described as "the first gay supercouple". Immediately following her split with DeGeneres in 2000, she had a highly publicized psychotic break in which she appeared at a rural ranch house outside of Fresno, California claiming to be an entity named "Celestia" who would take humanity to heaven in a spaceship. In 2001, she published a memoir titled Call Me Crazy that alleged extensive childhood sexual abuse by her father.

On August 5, 2022, Heche was critically injured when she crashed her car into a house at high speed. She died at a hospital in Los Angeles on August 11, 2022.[a]

Early lifeEdit

Heche was born on May 25, 1969, in Aurora, Ohio, the youngest of five children of Donald "Don" Joe Heche and Nancy Heche (née Prickett).[9][10] During Anne's early childhood, the Heche family lived in various towns in the suburbs of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio.[11] Her parents were fundamentalist Christians and the family was raised in a deeply religious environment,[12][13][14] a situation that she later likened to being "raised in a cult".[15] At the same time, Don Heche led an unstable lifestyle, often changing professions and prone to frequent get-rich-quick schemes,[16][17] though also with a real gift for music that led to jobs as a choir director in several churches.[16][18] Heche noted in her memoir that her family changed denominations several times depending on which church her father found work in.[19]

Because of Don Heche's often unstable lifestyle and financial situation, the Heche family moved numerous times during her childhood.[12][13][20] One of Don Heche's financial schemes led the family to resettle in the Atlantic City, New Jersey area in 1977, first in Ventnor City and later Ocean City.[20][21][22] One of Anne's first jobs was at a boardwalk hamburger stand, where she would sing songs from Annie to attract customers.[20][23] The family’s precarious financial situation led to the foreclosure of a home her father owned and later their eviction from a rental home. The Heches moved in with a family from their church who offered them a place to live as an act of charity.[24][25] Anne’s mother separated from her father and demanded he leave the household. Her mother and all of the children then took jobs to support the family and be able to live on their own.[13] Anne found work at a dinner theater in Swainton, her first professional acting job, earning $100 a week (about $300 per week in 2022 dollars).[20][26][27]

Don Heche moved to New York City, where Anne and her sisters would occasionally visit him, noticing his declining health. He claimed it was cancer, though he in fact had developed late-stage AIDS. Although he lived as a gay man in New York, he kept his sexuality and the nature of his illness from his family. On March 3, 1983, he died of complications from AIDS at 45 years of age.[28] His family did not know that he was dying of AIDS and had not even heard of the disease until coming across an article on AIDS in the New York Times about a month before his death.[29][30][31] In a 1998 interview, Anne reflected that her father being closeted ultimately "destroyed his happiness and our family. But it did teach me to tell the truth. Nothing else is worth anything."[32]

Three months after her father's death, Anne's 18-year-old brother Nathan was killed in a car crash when his car missed a curve and struck a tree.[27][33] The remainder of her immediate family subsequently moved to Chicago to be closer to other family members.[34][35] Anne, her mother, and her older sister Abigail, who had left college, were all living together in a one-bedroom apartment, which lacked privacy and which Heche would compare to living in a dorm room.[36]

Heche attended the progressive Francis W. Parker School, where she continued to be active in theatre, performing in such plays as Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth and Irwin Shaw's Bury the Dead.[37][38][39] When she was 16, a talent scout spotted her in a school play and invited her to audition for the daytime soap opera As the World Turns. Heche flew to New York City with her mother, auditioned, and was offered a part. She was not able to accept the offer, as it would have entailed moving with her family to New York City in the middle of her school year, and having her mother leave a new job at a brokerage firm. In her memoir, Heche notes that she really wanted to move out on her own and "escape [her] mother’s grasp", but this was not an option while she was still a minor.[27][40]

In 1987, at the end of her senior year, she was offered another audition, this time for the soap opera Another World. She was offered a role after two auditions and accepted, in spite of her mother's opposition. She moved to New York City and started work on the soap opera just days after her high school graduation.[37][38][41] In a later interview she stated, "I did my time with my mom in a one-bedroom, skanky apartment and I was done."[27]

CareerEdit

1987–1996: Early television and film rolesEdit

Heche had her debut television role on the soap opera Another World in the dual role of twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love.[38][42][43] Heche continued on the series for nearly 4 years, from 1987 to 1991.[42][43] She received several awards for her work on Another World, including a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series in 1991.[43]

Heche was unsure about her future as an actress after leaving Another World, having not performed in any other onscreen roles during her time on the soap opera and not having any acting jobs in place at the time she decided to leave. She knew that she did not want to continue in soap operas, something that was considered fairly insignificant in the larger world of professional acting. As a backup plan, she applied to and received an offer of acceptance from Parsons School of Design in New York City. However, right after applying to design school, she was offered a small supporting role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame television film adaptation of the Willa Cather novel O Pioneers!, featuring Jessica Lange. Heche decided to take that offer rather than attend design school and to continue with her career as an actress.[44]

She received news of her Daytime Emmy Award for Another World while in Nebraska filming O Pioneers!. "Does this mean I’m an actress?" was her response in a telephone call with her agent following the news. The agent suggested that she relocate from New York City to Los Angeles, which she did days after shooting was completed on the film.[45] O Pioneers! would air in February 1992 and was her first TV movie. Her performance garnered some positive critical notice.[46] After completing O Pioneers!, she starred in a guest appearance in an episode of Murphy Brown.[47][48] Though this episode was shot after O Pioneers!, it aired in November 1991 and hence was her primetime television debut and her first screen appearance outside of Another World. After her Murphy Brown appearance, however, she felt that guest spots on television episodes would be detrimental to her long-term career success and mostly avoided TV guest spots[48] until the 2000s.[49]

Heche also starred in several roles in Los Angeles theater productions in 1991 and 1992, including "Us & Them", a Generation X slice-of-life theater piece,[48][50] and Getting Away With Murder, a stage adaptation of the James M. Cain stories Dead Man and The Baby in the Icebox, which were produced as part of the Mark Taper Forum-sponsored "Sundays at the Itchey Foot" series.[51][52] In early 1993, Heche made her theatrical film debut in the little-seen independent film An Ambush of Ghosts, directed by Everett Lewis.[53] Soon afterward, she appeared in the Disney film The Adventures of Huck Finn with Elijah Wood. Over the next two years, she performed mainly in bit parts in feature films such as A Simple Twist of Fate (1994) and larger supporting roles in cable television movies such as Girls in Prison (1994) and Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long (1995).

She appeared in her first lead role (though without receiving top billing) in Donald Cammell's erotic thriller Wild Side (1995), alongside Christopher Walken and Joan Chen. The film gained some notoriety for its inclusion of a very strong lesbian sex scene between Heche and Chen.[54][55] In 1996, Heche had the starring role as a college student contemplating an abortion in a segment of the made-for-HBO anthology film If These Walls Could Talk, co-starring Cher and Demi Moore.[56] Also that year, she appeared opposite Catherine Keener portraying childhood best friends in the independent film Walking and Talking. The limited-release film garnered favorable reviews from critics and is number 47 on Entertainment Weekly's "Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time" list.[57] Heche gained positive notice from film critic Alison Macor of Austin Chronicle, who wrote in her review that she "is destined for larger film roles".[58]

1997–1999: Career breakthroughEdit

 
Heche at the Primetime Emmy Awards in 1997

In 1997, Heche starred in what has been described as her breakthrough role in the crime drama Donnie Brasco as the wife of the main character, an FBI undercover agent played by Johnny Depp. The film was a critical and box-office success, and Heche's supporting role was widely-praised.[citation needed] Critic Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that Heche "does well with what could have been the thankless role".[59] By the late 1990s Heche continued to find recognition and commercial success as she took on supporting roles in three other 1997 high-profile film releasesVolcano, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Wag the Dog. The disaster film Volcano, about the formation of a volcano in Los Angeles, had her star with Tommy Lee Jones and Gaby Hoffmann, playing a seismologist. While critical response towards the film was mixed, it grossed US$122 million at the international box office.[60] She portrayed the minor role of a backwoods loner in the slasher thriller sleeper hit I Know What You Did Last Summer, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr. Despite her limited screen time in the film, Heche was considered a "standout" by some reviewers,[61] such as Derek Eller writing for Variety.[62] She obtained the part of a presidential advisor opposite Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman in the political satire Wag the Dog, a role that was originally written for a man.[63] Budgeted at US$15 million, the film made US$64 million.[64] She received the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1997 for her roles in Donnie Brasco and Wag the Dog.

Heche's first lead role in a major film came in the 1998 romantic adventure Six Days, Seven Nights, where she appeared opposite Harrison Ford, portraying a New York City journalist who ends up with a pilot (Ford) on a deserted island following a crash landing.[65] She had been cast in the film one day before her same-sex relationship with Ellen DeGeneres went public.[66] Although Heche was cast in a second starring role shortly thereafter as Vince Vaughn's love interest in the drama Return to Paradise (1998), she felt that her relationship with DeGeneres destroyed her prospects as a leading woman.[67] According to Heche, "People said, 'You're not getting a job because you're gay'".[68] She commented: "How could that destroy my career? I still can't wrap my head around it."[67] Six Days, Seven Nights received mixed reviews, but grossed US$74.3 million in North America and US$164.8 million worldwide.[69] On her appearance in the dramatic thriller Return to Paradise, a writer for The New York Times remarked, "as Ms. Heche's formidable Beth Eastern does her best to manipulate the other characters on (costar Joaquin Phoenix's character) behalf, Return to Paradise takes on the abstract weightiness of an ethical debate rather than the visceral urgency of a thriller".[70]

Heche starred in Gus Van Sant's Psycho (1998), a remake of the 1960 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. In the updated version, she took on the role originally played by Janet Leigh as Marion Crane, an embezzler who arrives at an old motel run by serial killer Norman Bates (played by Vince Vaughn in their second collaboration). Psycho earned negative reviews, and despite a US$60 million budget, it made US$37.1 million worldwide.[71] In an otherwise negative review of the film, Janet Maslin of The New York Times felt that Heche was "refreshingly cast in Marion's role", while noting that her portrayal was "almost as demure as Ms. Leigh's, yet she's also more headstrong and flirty".[72] Her 1998 films were the only theatrically released films in which she had a leading role.[73] Heche also starred opposite Ed Harris in the 1999 film, The Third Miracle, directed by Agnieszka Holland.[74]

1998–2001: Directing projectsEdit

Heche spent much of the 1998 to 2001 working on film directing projects, often writing her own screenplays. She pulled back from acting roles during this period and had relatively few acting appearances from 1999 to 2001.[13] Her first effort at writing and directing was a 1998 short film titled Stripping for Jesus, which was about an evangelical Christian stripper who writes Bible verses on her body so as to reach clients "in a language that they understand".[75] According to Heche, the film was a metaphor for "my life as I saw it". The film was fully self-financed.[76] Heche starred in the film along with Suzanne Krull and Karen Black.[75]

Her next several films were made for cable television and featured then-partner Ellen DeGeneres in varying degrees of participation. The first of these (and the one with the widest release) came in 2000, when Heche directed a segment of If These Walls Could Talk 2 for HBO. An anthology film, it consisted of a series of segments about lesbian life in individual years over several decades. In Heche's segment, "2000", DeGeneres and Sharon Stone starred as a contemporary lesbian couple trying to have a baby together via artificial insemination.[77] DeGeneres was also one of the executive producers of the film. In 2001, Heche directed another anthology film segment, this time part of On the Edge, a Showtime anthology of science fiction stories directed by different actresses.[78] Heche's segment, titled Reaching Normal, was her screenplay adaptation of the short story Command Performance by Walter M. Miller Jr.[79] The segment features Andie MacDowell and Paul Rudd in the story of a housewife who enters into a telepathic extramarital affair; the segment includes a cameo appearance by DeGeneres.[80]

Heche also directed a documentary that was to be released in 2001, Ellen DeGeneres: American Summer, about DeGeneres' 2000 stand-up comedy tour.[81] The project was never completed.[82] DeGeneres, who financed the documentary, states that she "burned" the film after attempting to salvage the project following the couple's split, but that the memories that it brought back were too painful.[83]

2000–2009: Independent films, TV series, and Broadway rolesEdit

Most of Heche's roles in the early 2000s were in independent films and television; she played the role of Dr. Sterling in the film adaptation of Elizabeth Wurtzel's autobiography about depression, Prozac Nation, with Christina Ricci and Jessica Lange. Premiered at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival, the film received a DVD release in 2005. She appeared as a hospital administrator in the thriller John Q, about a father and husband (Denzel Washington) whose son is diagnosed with an enlarged heart. The production made US$102.2 million at the worldwide box office,[84] despite negative reviews by critics.[85] In 2001, she obtained a recurring role in the fourth season of the television series Ally McBeal.[86]

In 2002, Heche made her Broadway debut in a production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Proof, in the role of a young woman who has inherited her father's mathematical genius and mental illness. The New York Times found Heche to be "consequential" in her portrayal and compared her to Mary-Louise Parker and Jennifer Jason Leigh, who had previously played the character, stating: "[...] Ms. Heche, whose stage experience is limited and who is making her New York stage debut at 33, plays the part with a more appeasing ear and more conventional timing, her take on the character is equally viable. Her Catherine is a case of arrested development, impatient, aggressively indignant, impulsive".[87] In 2004, Heche received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the Lifetime movie Gracie's Choice, as well as a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in the CBS television film The Dead Will Tell. In the same year, she performed on Broadway opposite Alec Baldwin in revival of the play Twentieth Century, about a successful and egomaniacal Broadway director (Baldwin), who has transformed a chorus girl (Heche) into a leading lady. For her performance, she was nominated for the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.[88]

Also in 2004, Heche appeared alongside Nicole Kidman and Cameron Bright in the well-received independent drama Birth. She took on the recurring role on the WB drama Everwood during its 2004–05 season, and then a recurring role on Nip/Tuck in 2005 as an ex-mob wife and Witness Protection Program subject who requires plastic surgery. Heche continued her television work with Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas film Silver Bells (2005)[89] and in the Lifetime Television film Fatal Desire (2006), about an ex-cop, played by Eric Roberts, who meets a woman on an online dating site who attempts to get him to kill her husband. The movie was loosely based on the Sharee Miller case.[90]

 
Heche in June 2007

Heche appeared in the small-scale dramedy Sexual Life (2005), chronicling modern romantic life and co-starring Azura Skye and Elizabeth Banks. The film was screened on the film festival circuit and received a television premiere. In 2006 Heche began work on her own series, Men in Trees. In the show, she starred as a New York author, who after finding out her fiancé is cheating on her, moves to a small town in Alaska, which happens to be abundant with single men and few women. Men in Trees was canceled in May 2008, after a season shortened by the writer's strike. During the airing of the show, Heche starred in the romantic comedy What Love Is (2007)[91] and in Toxic Skies (2008), a science-fiction thriller based on the chemtrails conspiracy theory.[92]

Heche appeared as the girlfriend of a narcissistic gigolo in the sex comedy Spread (2009), co-starring Ashton Kutcher.[93] The film received a limited release in North American theaters while it made US$12 million at the worldwide box office.[94] Matthew Turney of View London felt that "[t]here's also terrific support" from Heche in what he described as an "enjoyable, sharply written and beautifully shot LA drama".[95] Also in 2009, she was cast in the HBO dramedy series Hung, in a supporting role as the ex-wife of a financially-struggling high school coach-turned-male prostitute, portrayed by Thomas Jane. The series received favorable reviews and aired until 2011.[96]

2010–2022: Later acting careerEdit

A cameo appearance as the CEO of an important company in the well-received comedy The Other Guys (2010), starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, was followed by a much larger role in the independent comedy Cedar Rapids (2011), where she portrayed a seductive insurance agent with whom a naive and idealistic man (played by Ed Helms) becomes smitten. The Sundance-premiered production garnered critical praise and was an arthouse success.[97][98] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter remarked in his review for the film, "while Heche shines brightest in more brittle mode, as in HBO's Hung, she strikes a sweet balance between Joan's mischievous and maternal sides".[99]

In the drama Rampart (2011), she starred with Woody Harrelson and Cynthia Nixon, as one of the two former wives of a corrupt police officer (Harrelson), who also happen to be sisters. The film had a selected theatrical run following its premiere at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival, and garnered an overall positive response;[100][101] The San Francisco Chronicle, remarked that Heche and her other female co-stars, "allow Harrelson to shine – he has always had a way of preening for women – and he brings out the best in them".[102] Heche had the leading role in the comedy That's What She Said (2012), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival,[103] and also played the girlfriend of a former pro golfer (Colin Firth) in Arthur Newman (also 2012).[104]

Heche starred with James Tupper, Jennifer Stone, and Rebekah Brandes in the supernatural horror film Nothing Left to Fear (2013), about a family's life in a new town being interrupted by an unstable man of the cloth. The film received a release for video-on-demand and selected theaters.[105] It was panned by critics,[106] and the Los Angeles Times remarked that both Heche and Tupper "should write apology notes to their fans".[105] Also in 2013, Heche headlined the short-lived NBC sitcom Save Me, in which she starred as a Midwestern housewife who believes that she is channeling God.[107] She played the waitress friend of a recovering gambling addict (Jason Statham) in the action thriller Wild Card (2014).[108] Distributed for a VOD and limited release in certain parts of North America only, the film only grossed US$6.7 million internationally on a $30 million budget.[109] She had a recurring guest-role on The Michael J. Fox Show before its cancellation. In 2013, she signed a first look deal with Universal Television.[110]

USA Network's action-adventure drama series, Dig, had Heche portray the head of the FBI office in Jerusalem whose agents uncover a 2,000-year-old conspiracy while investigating an archaeologist's murder. The six-episode series premiered in late 2014.[111] In 2015, Heche guest-starred in the ABC thriller series Quantico playing the role of criminal profiler, Dr. Susan Langdon.[112] On September 27, 2016, she starred in the post-apocalyptic action drama Aftermath, which debuted on Canada's Space Network and on United States' Syfy. Heche played Karen Copeland, a U.S. Air Force pilot from Washington, who must navigate Armageddon, with her university-professor husband Josh, played by James Tupper, and their three nearly adult children. Neither Dig nor Aftermath was renewed for a second season.[113][114]

Heche filmed the supporting part as the lead singer for a Broadway musical in Opening Night (2016), with Topher Grace. The musical comedy was screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival.[115][116] In another independent film, the comedy Catfight (2016), Heche starred opposite Sandra Oh, portraying one of two bitter rivals who pursue a grudge match that spans a lifetime. Like Heche's previous projects, the film premiered on the film-festival circuit and received a VOD and limited release,[117] to largely favorable reviews from critics.[118] Los Angeles Times wrote: "Oh and Heche are great here, giving performances entirely lacking in vanity and self-consciousness. They aren't afraid to get ugly, both in their treatment of everyone around them as well as in their post-brawl bruises, which makes them that much funnier".[119]

In 2017, Heche played a supporting role in My Friend Dahmer as Joyce, the mentally ill mother of the teenaged Jeffrey Dahmer (Ross Lynch).[120] She received positive reviews for her performance, with The Hollywood Reporter calling her "nerve-jangling perfection"[121] and Empire calling her "entertainingly off-kilter".[122]

On September 25, 2017, Heche debuted as the series lead playing Deputy Director Patricia Campbell of the Defense Intelligence Agency in the military/espionage thriller The Brave, which lasted for one season on NBC.[123] In 2018, she joined the television series Chicago P.D. in a supporting role.[124] In late 2020, Heche competed as one of the celebrities in the 29th season of Dancing with the Stars, but was eliminated from the contest after the fourth week.[125][126] In 2021, Heche co-starred in an ensemble cast in Lindsay Gossling's 13 Minutes about four families struggling with multiple dilemmas in a fictional Oklahoma town just before a devastating tornado hits.[127]

At the time of her death in August 2022, Heche had completed filming several films that were still in post-production and where she would appear posthumously.[128] One of these films was Girl in Room 13 that aired as part of Lifetime's "Ripped from the Headlines" feature film. The movie is about human trafficking and was dedicated in memory of Heche.[129]

Other mediaEdit

In 2001, she published a memoir titled Call Me Crazy,[130] which discussed her family and career background, as well as for the first time discussing her history of mental illness and alleging sexual abuse by her father.[82] In 2021, on her Better Together podcast, she said that she was working on a second memoir tentatively titled Call Me Sane.[131] In September 2022, the second memoir, now titled Call Me Anne, was submitted in manuscript form shortly before her death and was announced for a January 2023 publication.[132][133][134]

Heche has also narrated several audiobooks, notably, a self-narrated audiobook of Call Me Crazy,[135] as well as narrating audiobook versions of Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999) and Tess Gerritsen's Vanish (2005; co-narrated by Ilyana Kadushin).[136] In 2017, Heche hosted a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Jason Ellis entitled Love and Heche.[137] In late 2020, Heche and Heather Duffy Boylston launched a podcast titled Better Together.[4][138][139]

Heche was chosen by People as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1998.[140]

Personal lifeEdit

Family of originEdit

Anne's mother, Nancy Heche has been a Christian therapist since 1997, and since 2005 has focused on "overcoming homosexuality", frequently speaking at events sponsored by evangelical Christian and Christian right groups, notably Love Won Out, an ex-gay ministry originally sponsored by Focus on the Family.[14][67]

Anne Heche had four older siblings, three of whom predeceased her. The eldest, Susan (1957–2006), died of a brain tumor in 2006. She was a university lecturer in literature and Christian writer, whose 1994 memoir titled Anonymity described their closeted gay father and the effects that his legacy had on the rest of the family.[141][142][143][144] Cynthia died of a heart defect[27] at two months. The third sibling and only brother, Nathan (1965–1983), died at 18 in a car crash three months after their father died in 1983. Anne said his death was a suicide, though her mother and surviving siblings dispute this.[145][146][147] Abigail is the fourth sibling, followed by Anne.[148]

Heche was estranged from the surviving members of her family for many years. A rift with her mother began when she first told her mother of her same-sex relationship with Ellen DeGeneres. The rift deepened when she went public with allegations of sexual abuse in her 2001 memoir, Call Me Crazy, creating a rift with her two sisters as well. Anne claims to have been estranged from her mother since Anne confronted her about her father's sexual abuse.[149] Nancy Heche claimed it was Anne who cut off communication.[150]

In her 2001 memoir, Heche wrote that her mother was in denial about the abuse. For example, when she contracted genital herpes as an infant, her mother insisted that it was a diaper rash and refused to take her to the doctor.[151] Heche said that her father repeatedly raped her from the time she was an infant until she was 12.[13] When she was asked "But why would a gay man rape a girl?" in a 2001 interview with The Advocate, Heche replied "I don't think he was just a gay man. I think he was sexually deviant. My belief was that my father was gay and he had to cover that up. I think he was sexually abusive. The more he couldn't be who he was, the more that came out of him in [the] ways that it did."[152]

Nancy Heche has vehemently denied her daughter's allegations, and responded in a discussion of the book on an internet forum, "I am trying to find a place for myself in this writing, a place where I as Anne's mother do not feel violated or scandalized. I find no place among the lies and blasphemies in the pages of this book."[149][150] Anne's sister Abigail added, "It is my opinion that my sister Anne truly believes, at this moment, what she has asserted about our father's past behavior; however, at the same time, I would like to point out that Anne, in the past, has expressed doubts herself about the accuracy of such memories. Based on my experience and her own expressed doubts, I believe that her memories regarding our father are untrue. And I can state emphatically, regardless of Anne's beliefs, that the assertion that our mother knew about such behavior is absolutely false."[149][150]

In 2009, Heche told The New York Times:

My mother's had a very tragic life. Three of her five children are dead, and her husband is dead. That she is attempting to change gay people into straight people is, in my opinion, a way to keep the pain of the truth out. People wonder why I am so forthcoming with the truths that have happened in my life, and it's because the lies that I have been surrounded with and the denial that I was raised in, for better or worse, bore a child of truth and love. My mother preaches to this day the opposite of that core of my life. It is no mistake that she still stands up against love. And one wonders why I'm not rushing to have her meet my children.[67]

In 2011, Heche told The Daily Telegraph that she had reconciled with her remaining sister Abigail, however, she doubted she would be able to repair her relationship with her mother.[27]

Elliot and Natalie Bergman of the band Wild Belle are her nephew and niece. In 2017, she said that their album Dreamland was her favorite album and described herself as a "proud aunt".[153]

RelationshipsEdit

Heche was in relationships with Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac for about one year in the early 1990s[154] and with Steve Martin, whom she had met on the set of A Simple Twist of Fate, for about two years during the mid-1990s.[155]

 
Heche with Ellen DeGeneres in September 1997
 
Heche with James Tupper in November 2014

Heche's relationship with Ellen DeGeneres and the events following their breakup became subjects of widespread media interest.[65][156][157] They were described as "the world's first gay supercouple".[158] Heche and DeGeneres started dating in 1997, and at one point said they would get a civil union if such became legal in Vermont.[159] They broke up in August 2000.[160][161] Heche stated that all of her other romantic relationships were with men.[27][162] In the memoir Call Me Anne, submitted shortly before her death, she wrote that she never identified as a lesbian and did not regard the terms "gay" or "straight" as relevant to her.[132]

Heche claims that there was professional fallout for her relationship with DeGeneres. She recounts that she was warned not to attend the 1997 premiere of Volcano with DeGeneres and when Heche and DeGeneres did so anyway, they were escorted out before the film had ended.[163][164][165] Heche said that she was told that she would be denied the part in Six Days, Seven Nights for going public with her romance with DeGeneres, but landed the role nevertheless.[163] However, Heche also claimed that she "did not work in a studio picture for 10 years" afterward.[164][165] In a later podcast, she claimed that her split with DeGeneres was not on good terms and that she was effectively blacklisted from The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Heche claimed that this contributed to her lack of large-film roles, with studios being reluctant to hire her for films that they would be unable to publicize on DeGeneres' widely viewed program.[131][166]

In 2000, Heche left DeGeneres for Coleman "Coley" Laffoon, a cameraman whom she met when she hired him as part of the camera crew for the television documentary that she was directing, Ellen DeGeneres: American Summer. On September 1, 2001, she and Laffoon married.[63] They had a son named Homer Heche Laffoon in March 2002.[63][167] Laffoon filed for divorce in February 2007, after five and a half years of marriage.[168] In a separate court filing, he said that Heche "exhibited bizarre and delusional behavior for which she refuses to seek professional help."[169] The divorce was finalized in March 2009.[170][171][172]

Heche left her husband for Men in Trees co-star James Tupper.[173] During their relationship, Heche described herself and Tupper as being "eternally engaged."[174] She and Tupper had a son named Atlas Heche Tupper in March 2009.[175][176] Tupper and Heche separated in January 2018.[177]

Heche and former Hung co-star Thomas Jane announced that they were in a relationship in 2019; they were together into 2020, but had separated by the time of her death.[178][179]

Mental health issuesEdit

In her memoir Call Me Crazy, Heche discusses her struggles with mental health issues and the long-term effect of childhood abuse. She wrote that she had blocked out the memory of much of her childhood[180] and had first gone into therapy during the time that she starred on Another World, undergoing various types of therapy though the mid-1990s.[181] She soon began Reichian body psychotherapy, and wrote that the release of body memories through this therapy helped her recover memories of her alleged sexual abuse by her father and confront the emotional aftermath of childhood trauma.[182] This process was later continued through guided LSD therapy, which she claimed had led to a full recovery of childhood memories.[183]

She underwent another crisis that began about the time she had finished filming Donnie Brasco, in which she said that she began hearing God speaking directly to her.[184] In this state, she said that she was told that she had an inner being called "Celestia" who was an incarnation of God and the Second Coming of Jesus. She believed that it was her mission to enlighten humanity and that she had achieved fame in order to fulfill this role.[185] She had an initial experience of hearing and being directed by God that lasted for 12 days,[184] and her spiritual experiences and alter ego as Celestia continued for another four years.[186] During this time, she claims to have had experiences with glossolalia, automatic writing and drawing, clairvoyance, the ability to psychically heal others, and having stigmata appear on her feet.[187]

On August 19, 2000, immediately following her separation from Ellen DeGeneres,[160] Heche drove on Interstate 5 from Los Angeles to the San Joaquin Valley. Exiting where she said later said she "had been told" to go, she ended up in Cantua Creek, a rural area in western Fresno County, California.[188][189] She left her vehicle at the side of a rural road and, wearing only a bra and shorts, walked 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in extremely hot weather without water, before feeling dehydrated and knocking on the door of a ranch house.[188][190] The woman living at the house recognized Heche from Six Days, Seven Nights and was astonished that a celebrity would show up at her "in the middle of nowhere" location.[188][b] After the woman let Heche in and gave her a glass of water, Heche took off her shoes and requested to take a shower, with which the resident obliged.[188][191] She assumed that Heche was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but Heche later revealed to officers that she had taken ecstasy.[82][192] After taking a shower, Heche entered the living room, asked for a pair of slippers, and suggested that they should watch a movie.[188] Unsure of what to do after Heche had been at the house for a half an hour without contacting anyone, the resident contacted the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.[188] Heche later told the deputies that she was "God, and was going to take everyone back to heaven…in a spaceship".[192] She was then taken to Fresno's University Medical Center by ambulance and was admitted to its psychiatric unit, but she was released within a few hours.[188][193] Heche later described the incident as a "psychotic break".[194]

Heche stated that she was "insane for the first 31 years of her life", and that her insanity was triggered by the sexual abuse that her father subjected her to during her infancy and childhood.[195][196] In a series of nationally televised interviews with Barbara Walters, Matt Lauer, and Larry King to promote Call Me Crazy in September 2001, Heche stated that she created a fantasy world called the "Fourth Dimension" and the alter ego "Celestia" to make herself feel safe.[197][149] Heche said she recovered from her mental health concerns following the incident in Cantua Creek and had put her alter ego behind her.[82][197]

Allegations against Harvey WeinsteinEdit

In a January 2018 interview on the podcast Allegedly with Theo Von and Matthew Cole Weiss, Heche alleged that Harvey Weinstein had exposed himself to her and demanded oral sex. Heche said that she was fired from an unspecified Miramax film in retaliation after she refused Weinstein's advances. She said that there were many other incidents of sexual harassment that took place during her career and stated that her survival of childhood sexual abuse had given her the strength to stand up to unwanted advances such as those made by Weinstein. A spokesman for Weinstein said that he had been "friendly" with Heche, but denied all of her allegations.[198][199]

DeathEdit

Car crashEdit

On August 5, 2022, Heche was involved in a sequence of three motor vehicle collisions in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, the final collision being the most serious, inflicting critical injuries on Heche and destroying a house.[200][201][202] The first collision took place when her vehicle struck an apartment garage and caused minor damage. A video released by TMZ shows her vehicle, a Mini Clubman,[203] at the scene of the accident and an unidentified man repeatedly shouting "Out of the car!" at the driver. The vehicle then reversed and left the scene of the accident. A photo of the driver also released by TMZ is identified as Anne Heche.[203][201][204][205] TMZ also reported a second hit-and-run in which Heche's vehicle struck a Jaguar without stopping, though without injury to the other driver. An accompanying video shows the Mini Clubman speeding down an alleyway and nearly hitting a pedestrian.[206] A doorbell video recorded in the moments before the final crash shows Heche's vehicle driving along a neighborhood street at a very high speed, followed a few seconds later by the sound of a crash.[200][204][207]

In the final crash, her vehicle struck a house, broke through a wall and embedded itself 30 feet (9.1 m) into the building, trapping Heche inside. The vehicle caught fire, which rapidly spread through the entire building. The resulting house fire took 65 minutes to fully extinguish and required 59 firefighters.[201][202][208][209] Firefighters were unable to access and fully extricate Heche from the vehicle for 45 minutes after their arrival on the scene, and initially were not aware that a person was trapped in the vehicle itself.[210] Heche had sustained severe burns and smoke inhalation injuries by the time she was rescued.[201][202] The house was left structurally compromised and uninhabitable.[203][204][208] The tenant living in the house was in the rear of the structure at the time of the collision and only sustained minor injuries, but her attorney said that she and her pets "almost lost their lives" and that she had lost all of her personal property in the fire.[202][209][211]

Law enforcement officials said that Heche was "deemed to be under the influence and acting erratically" at the time of the crashes.[201] The Los Angeles Police Department said that a preliminary blood analysis confirmed the presence of both cocaine and narcotics, including fentanyl, in Heche's system, although a second and more comprehensive drug test is required to determine whether the narcotics detected were given by the hospital or ingested earlier. The second test could take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to complete.[212][213][214]

Hospitalization and deathEdit

As Heche was being removed from the crash scene, she was filmed sitting up on the stretcher and struggling with paramedics while she was being wheeled into the ambulance; however, she lost consciousness soon afterward.[207][215] She was first taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for initial emergency care, and then to Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital for specialized burn center care.[210] On August 8, a representative for Heche said that she was in a coma in critical condition, requiring medical ventilation for pulmonary injury sustained in the accident.[216][217] The representative also said that prior reports that Heche was in "stable condition" were "inaccurate".[217]

On August 11, the representative said that Heche was not expected to survive an anoxic brain injury she had sustained, but that she was being kept on life support to determine if her organs were viable for donation, in accordance with her expressed wish to be an organ donor.[218][219] Heche was declared brain dead a few hours later, but remained on life support to assess organ donor viability and locate recipients.[213][220][221][222] Heche was considered legally dead at that time under California law.[6][223][224]

On August 14, it was announced that organ recipients had been found and that her body would undergo the organ donation procedure that day.[225] To honor her organ donation, hospital staff held an honor walk for Heche.[226] That evening, her publicist announced that she had been "peacefully taken off life support." The office of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner recorded the cause of death as "inhalation and thermal injuries", with "sternal fracture due to blunt trauma" listed as an "other significant condition", and ruled her death an accident.[1][5][227][228]

Anne Heche's cremated remains were interred in a mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on August 23, 2022.[229][230][231][232]

EstateEdit

On August 31, 2022, Heche's eldest son Homer Heche Laffoon filed a petition in the Los Angeles County probate court claiming that Heche had died intestate, and asking that he be named her estate's administrator. Laffoon's lawyer also stated that they wished to have a third party appointed guardian ad litem for Heche's younger son (and Laffoon's half-brother), Atlas Heche Tupper.[233]

On September 15, Heche's former partner James Tupper filed a petition raising objections to Laffoon's. He argued that an email sent by Heche in 2011 describing her wishes in the event of her death should be treated as her will.[234][235]

Tupper's petition challenged Laffoon's qualifications to administer the estate, claiming that at 20 years old, Laffoon lacked the maturity required of an administrator, and that Laffoon's lack of personal assets and income would render him unable to post the required bond. Tupper concluded that he wished to act as executor and hire a professional fiduciary to manage the estate.[234][235]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Director(s) Notes Ref.
1993 An Ambush of Ghosts Denise Everett Lewis [236]
The Adventures of Huck Finn Mary Jane Wilks Stephen Sommers [236]
1994 I'll Do Anything Claire James L. Brooks [237]
A Simple Twist of Fate Tanny's Playmate Gillies MacKinnon [237]
Milk Money Betty Richard Benjamin [238]
1995 Wild Side Alex Lee Donald Cammell [236]
1996 The Juror Juliet Brian Gibson [236]
Pie in the Sky Amy Bryan Gordon [236]
Walking and Talking Laura Nicole Holofcener [239]
1997 Donnie Brasco Maggie Pistone Mike Newell [236]
Volcano Dr. Amy Barnes Mick Jackson [236]
I Know What You Did Last Summer Melissa "Missy" Egan Jim Gillespie [236]
Wag the Dog Winifred Ames Barry Levinson [236]
1998 Six Days, Seven Nights Robin Monroe Ivan Reitman [236]
Return to Paradise Beth McBride Joseph Ruben [236]
Psycho Marion Crane Gus Van Sant [236]
1999 The Third Miracle Roxane Agnieszka Holland [236]
2000 Auggie Rose Lucy Brown Matthew Tabak Also known as Beyond Suspicion [236]
2001 Prozac Nation Dr. Sterling Erik Skjoldbjærg [236]
2002 John Q. Rebecca Payne Nick Cassavetes [236]
2004 Birth Clara Jonathan Glazer [236]
2005 Sexual Life Gwen Ken Kwapis [236]
2007 Suffering Man's Charity Helen Jacobsen Alan Cumming Also known as Ghost Writer [236]
What Love Is Laura Mars Callahan [236]
Superman: Doomsday Lois Lane Voice role [236]
2008 Toxic Skies Dr. Tess Martin Andrew C. Erin [236]
2009 Spread Samantha David Mackenzie [236]
2010 The Other Guys Pamela Boardman Adam McKay Uncredited [240]
2011 Cedar Rapids Joan Ostrowski-Fox Miguel Arteta [236]
Rampart Catherine Oren Moverman [236]
2012 That's What She Said Dee Dee Carrie Preston [236]
Black November Barbra Jeta Amata [236]
Arthur Newman Mina Crawley Dante Ariola [236]
2013 Nothing Left to Fear Wendy Anthony Leonardi III [236]
2014 Wild Card Roxy Simon West [236]
2016 Opening Night Brooke Isaac Rentz [236]
Catfight Ashley Onur Tukel [236]
2017 My Friend Dahmer Joyce Dahmer Marc Meyers [236]
Armed Response Riley John Stockwell [236]
The Last Word Elizabeth Mark Pellington [236]
2019 The Best of Enemies Mary Ellis Robin Bissell [237]
2020 The Vanished Wendy Michaelson Peter Facinelli [236]
2021 13 Minutes Tammy Lindsay Gossling [236]
2022 What Remains Maureen Nathan Scoggins Completed; posthumous release [241]
Wildfire: The Legend of the Cherokke Ghost Horse Diana Jones Eric Parkinson Post-production; posthumous release [241]
2023 Full Ride Beth Hanna & Jerren Lauder Post-production; posthumous release [241]
TBA Supercell Quinn Brody Herbert James Winterstern Post-production; posthumous release [242]
Chasing Nightmares Claire Chris McGowan Post-production; posthumous release [241]
Frankie Meets Jack Katrina Andrew Lawrence Post-production; posthumous release [243]

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role(s) Notes Ref.
1987–1991 Another World Vicky Hudson / Marley Love Regular role [43]
1991 Murphy Brown Nica 1 episode [47]
1992 O Pioneers! Marie Television film [236]
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Kate 1 episode [236]
1994 Against the Wall Sharon Television film [236]
Girls in Prison Jennifer Television film [244]
1995 Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long Aileen Dumont Television film [244]
1996 If These Walls Could Talk Christine Cullen Television film; segment: "1996" [245]
1997 Subway Stories Pregnant Girl Television film; segment: "Manhattan Miracle" [238]
1998 Ellen Karen 1 episode [236]
1999 One Kill Capt. Mary Jane O'Malley Television film [237]
2001 Ally McBeal Melanie West Recurring role, 7 episodes [236]
2004 Gracie's Choice Rowena Lawson Television film [236]
2004–2005 Everwood Amanda Hayes Main role (season 3) [236]
2005 Nip/Tuck Nicole Morretti 3 episodes [236]
Silver Bells Catherine O'Mara Television film [236]
2005–2006 Higglytown Heroes Gloria the Waitress Voice role; 3 episodes [246]
2006 Fatal Desire Tanya Sullivan Television film [236]
2007 Masters of Science Fiction Martha Van Vogel 1 episode [236]
2006–2008 Men in Trees Marin Frist Main role [236]
2009–2011 Hung Jessica Haxon Main role [236]
2011 Girl Fight Melissa Television film [236]
2013 Save Me Beth Harper Main role [236]
2013–2014 The Michael J. Fox Show Susan Rodriguez-Jones 4 episodes [236]
2013, 2015 Adventure Time Cherry Cream Soda Voice role; 2 episodes [236]
2014 One Christmas Eve Nell Blackemore Television film [236]
The Legend of Korra Suyin Beifong Recurring voice role (seasons 3–4) [247]
2015 Dig Lynn Monahan Miniseries [236]
Quantico Dr. Susan Langdon 1 episode [236]
2016 Aftermath Karen Copeland Main role [236]
Looks Like Christmas Carol Montgomery Television film [236]
2017–2018 The Brave DIA Dep. Director Patricia Campbell Main role [236][123]
2018–2019 Chicago P.D. Dep. Superintendent Katherine Brennan Recurring role (season 6); guest role (season 7) [236]
2020 Dancing with the Stars Herself Contestant (season 29) [236][126]
2021–2022 All Rise Corrine Cuthbert Recurring role (season 2), 5 episodes [236]
2022 Girl in Room 13 Janie Television film, posthumous release [129]
2023 The Idol TBA Recurring role, posthumous release [248]

DirectionEdit

Year Title Notes Ref.
1998 Stripping for Jesus Short film [75]
2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 Segment: "2000" [236]
2001 On the Edge Segment: Reaching Normal [236]
Ellen DeGeneres: American Summer Documentary Never released [82][83]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Recipient Award Category Result Ref.
1989 Another World Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series Nominated [249]
Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Female Newcomer – Daytime Won [250]
1991 Another World Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series Won [251]
1992 Another World Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Daytime Drama Won [252][253]
1997 Wag the Dog Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated [254]
Wag the Dog and Donnie Brasco National Board of Review Awards Best Supporting Actress Won [255]
1998 Psycho Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Supporting Actress Nominated [256]
1999 Psycho Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated [257]
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Actress Nominated [258]
Six Days, Seven Nights Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actress – Comedy/Romance Nominated [259]
2000 Herself GLAAD Media Awards Stephen F. Kolzak Award Won [260][261]
Women in Film Lucy Awards Lucy Award Won [262]
2004 Gracie's Choice Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated [263]
The Dead Will Tell Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Nominated [264][265]
Twentieth Century Tony Awards Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play Nominated [266][267]
2019 Herself Sarasota Film Festival Career Tribute Award Won [268]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Heche was declared brain dead and officially pronounced dead on August 11, 2022.[5][6] However, she was kept on life support until August 14 to keep her heart beating until organ donor recipients could be found. As a result, there were conflicting media reports, with some news outlets reporting her death on August 12, while others waited until August 14.[7][8]
  2. ^ Key sources give varied details of this incident. The People magazine story includes an interview with a Fresno technical college student who was alone at her family home when she encountered Heche.[188] In Heche's own account in Call Me Crazy, she says that she encountered a rural farm family who spoke little English.[191] The accounts differ in several other key details as well.

ReferencesEdit

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Biographical sourcesEdit

AutobiographiesEdit

Other sourcesEdit

External linksEdit