Actor Anne Heche dies at 53 from accidents in L.A. automotive crash

Anne Heche, the Emmy- and Tony-nominated actor whose work in “Six Days Seven Nights,” “Another World” and dozens of different initiatives dovetailed with a groundbreaking romance with Ellen DeGeneres that challenged homophobia in Hollywood, has died. She was 53.

Her eldest son, Homer Laffoon, confirmed her demise in a press release to The Occasions on Friday.

“My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom. After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness,” he wrote. “Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom.

“Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace Mom, I love you, Homer.”

Heche was on life assist after crashing her automotive right into a Mar Vista residence, which then caught on fireplace. After the Aug. 5 crash, Heche was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital in important situation. She was declared mind lifeless Thursday night time. As of Friday, Heche was legally lifeless, however her coronary heart was nonetheless beating and her physique was saved on life assist to protect viable organs for attainable donation.

She suffered vital burns within the crash. On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Division confirmed {that a} blood take a look at confirmed Heche was below the affect of narcotics on the time, and one other legislation enforcement supply instructed The Occasions that Heche’s preliminary blood take a look at confirmed cocaine in her system.

Anne Heche posed for Los Angeles Occasions portraits at her L.A. residence on July 21, 2010.

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Occasions)

Earlier than Heche died, the LAPD was planning to manage a second blood take a look at to rule out hospital remedies as the rationale for narcotics exhibiting up in her preliminary display screen. Shortly after the crash, Heche fell right into a coma with a significant damage that required her to be placed on mechanical air flow, her spokesperson mentioned.

By Thursday night time, it was clear that Heche wouldn’t survive. A press release on behalf of her household and buddies mentioned the actor had suffered “a severe anoxic brain injury” and could be saved on life assist to find out whether or not any of her organs have been viable for donation, as had lengthy been her want.

“Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit,” the assertion mentioned. “More than her extraordinary talent, she saw spreading kindness and joy as her life’s work — especially moving the needle for acceptance of who you love. She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and dearly missed for her light.”

Heche’s ex-husband, Coleman “Coley” Laffoon, mentioned in a video that she “was brave and fearless and loved really hard.”

“Goodbye, Anne. Love you, thank you,” he added. “Thank you for all the good times. There were so many, and see you on the other side.”

Rosanna Arquette, Alec Baldwin, James Gunn and James Tupper have been among the many Hollywood figures mourning Heche on social media Friday.

All through her decades-long profession, Heche delivered almost 100 performances on TV, stage and movie. Within the late Eighties, she bought her huge break with a twin function on the long-running NBC cleaning soap opera “Another World.” By 1991, she received a Daytime Emmy for her acclaimed work as Vicky Hudson and Marley Love on the present.

After rising to prominence on the daytime TV circuit, Heche made the leap to the massive display screen, the place she starred in high-profile movies together with “Donnie Brasco” (1997), “Volcano” (1997), “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997), “Six Days Seven Nights” (1998), “Return to Paradise” (1998) and “John Q” (2002).

Two women with short blonde hair, one wearing glasses, look to the side and smile for pictures

Ellen DeGeneres, left, and Anne Heche on the fifty fifth Annual Golden Globe Awards in 1998.

(Mark J. Terrill / Related Press)

Her skilled life took a flip, nevertheless, when she started publicly relationship DeGeneres, who had simply come out as homosexual on her hit sitcom and in actual life. Each performers endured main profession setbacks on account of being open about their sexuality at a time when that was a lot much less accepted.

In a 1998 interview with the Los Angeles Occasions, Heche accused Fox of refusing to rent her after she and DeGeneres made their relationship official across the time the studio’s “Volcano” debuted — and tanked — on the field workplace.

“They still have this bitterness about the timing of my falling in love with Ellen and the opening of ‘Volcano,’” Heche instructed The Occasions.

“I have my own opinions about why that movie didn’t do well, as anybody with half a brain would, but they want to blame it on somebody. I won’t say doors are shut for me. I know there are studios that will hire me (laughing).”

On Friday, DeGeneres expressed assist for her former accomplice.

“This is a sad day,” DeGeneres tweeted. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”

Heche was born Could 25, 1969, in Aurora, Ohio. Throughout her childhood, Heche and her household moved typically when her father, a choir director, pursued completely different gigs. At 12 years outdated, she labored with her mom at a dinner theater in Swainton, N.J., then ultimately moved along with her household to Chicago.

Within the Windy Metropolis got here her huge break. A expertise scout invited a 16-year-old Heche to audition for CBS’ “As the World Turns.” Nonetheless, earlier than she may tackle that daytime drama, her mom insisted that she end her highschool training. After graduating in 1987, Heche debuted as Vicky Hudson and Marley Love in NBC’s “Another World.”

“I think everything in my childhood led me to being an actress,” she instructed Larry King in 2001. “I not only wanted to leave the planet, I wanted to be anything other than who I was. And so did my family.”

In 1991, Heche earned her first Daytime Emmy for her work within the NBC cleaning soap and shortly made her movie debut. All through the ’90s, she appeared in “An Ambush of Ghosts,” “The Adventures of Huck Finn,” “I’ll Do Anything” and others. She ultimately turned a display screen staple, appearing alongside Cher, Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin. In 1996, she appeared in Nicole Holofcener’s Sundance movie “Walking and Talking,” then in Mike Newell’s “Donnie Brasco” with Johnny Depp a 12 months later. She additionally shared the display screen with Tommy Lee Jones in “Volcano.”

Heche met DeGeneres in March 1997 on the Vainness Honest Oscar celebration. The 2 went public with their relationship on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” shortly after Heche joined the solid for “Six Days Seven Nights.”

“I don’t think it was immediately a sexual attraction,” Heche instructed Winfrey about assembly DeGeneres. “I just think it was, ‘Wow, you are just the most incredible person I’ve ever met and I want to be with you.’”

The ladies ended their relationship in August 2000. A day after the breakup, Heche made headlines when she dropped by a stranger’s residence in Fresno and claimed that God “was going to take everyone back to heaven in a spaceship.”

Within the early aughts, she scaled again her time within the highlight, as a substitute choosing roles in indie movies and TV collection resembling “Ally McBeal,” “Prozac Nation” and “Gracie’s Choice.” In 2001, Heche launched her memoir, “Call Me Crazy.” In it, she alleged that her father, who was homosexual and died of AIDS in 1983, abused her when she was younger. She beforehand instructed The Occasions that she supposed for her autobiography to assist others.

“It’s who I am. I hope the fact that I talk about these things in my life might help other people find peace in their own conflicts,” she instructed The Occasions in 2004. “People are curious about it, but I think it will become less and less, and hopefully I’ll have more and more topics to add on so that there won’t always be questions about the last seven years of my life.”

A blonde woman in a black dress embraces a man in a suit

Anne Heche with then-husband Coleman Laffoon on the 2004 Emmy Awards.

(Mark J. Terrill / Related Press)

In September 2001, Heche married Laffoon, a cameraman whom she had employed in 2000 to movie a documentary about DeGeneres. The subsequent 12 months was a busy one as Heche gave beginning to their son, Homer, and made her Broadway debut in a manufacturing of “Proof.”

In 2004, she earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her work in “Gracie’s Choice” and a Tony nomination for her work in a Broadway manufacturing of the play “Twentieth Century,” the place she starred reverse Alec Baldwin. That 12 months additionally noticed Heche seem within the movies “Sexual Life” and “Birth.”

In 2007, Heche filed for divorce from Laffoon and started relationship her “Men in Trees” co-star James Tupper. In December 2008, she gave beginning to her second little one, Atlas. From 2009 to 2011, Heche starred in HBO’s “Hung.” She additionally had a recurring arc as Susan Rodriguez-Jones in “The Michael J. Fox Show” from 2013 to 2014.

Heche revisited Broadway in 2016 with Topher Grace in “Opening Night.” She additionally starred with Sandra Oh within the indie movie “Catfight.”

“Oh and Heche are great here, giving performances entirely lacking in vanity and self-consciousness,” The Occasions’ “Catfight” assessment mentioned. “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.”

A woman holding a pink rose poses for a portrait

Anne Heche photographed in her Los Angeles residence on July 21, 2010.

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Occasions)

“I created characters out of the funniness of life,” Heche instructed The Occasions in 2010, talking about her course of. “And I also loved physical comedy, not over the top, but born of what I thought was true in life, fumbling over the journey through life, which is so complicated and painful.”

In 2017, Heche appeared within the movie’ “My Friend Dahmer” and took up a lead function for the NBC collection “The Brave.” In 2018, she and Tupper cut up. In 2020 she was a contestant on the twenty ninth season of “Dancing With the Stars,” being voted off third among the many contestants. That very same 12 months, she took up a recurring function on the CBS authorized drama “All Rise.”

In recent times Heche continued to maintain busy, launching the “Better Together with Anne & Heather” podcast with co-host Heather Duffy in 2020. In June 2022, she additionally landed a starring function in Lifetime’s upcoming movie “Girl in Room 13,” directed by Elisabeth Röhm. As of Thursday, the movie was nonetheless on observe for its September launch.

Heche is survived by her sons Homer and Atlas.

Occasions employees author Richard Winton contributed to this report.