Anne Heche, who starred in such successful movies like: Volcano, Donnie Brasco, and Wag the Dog and on hit TV shows like: Another World, Men in Trees and Hung, during a very troubled personal life and career, was taken off life support Sunday night, her rep had announced.
In the photo you can see Anne and myself at a happier time: back in February of 2020, just before the Covid-19 lockdown, at the Oscars. She was attending this event with actor Michael Fassbender, who stood quietly to the side.
Anne was always very friendly in person, and when she gave our Entertainment Today’s TV reporters an interview at various awards shows.
Heche, 53, had spent several days in a coma at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills (California) Hospital and Medical Center after her Mini Cooper ran off the road Aug. 5 and smashed into a two-story home in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, causing “structural compromise and erupting in heavy fire,” the L.A. Fire Department said.
She was taken from her vehicle and hospitalized in critical condition, and it took nearly 60 firefighters more than an hour to extinguish the blaze.
Heche suffered burns and a severe anoxic brain injury in the crash. Later, she was determined to be brain dead — legally dead, according to California law — but had been kept on life support so that One Legacy, an organ procurement organization, could see if she was a match for organ donation, her rep, Holly Baird, said.
“Anne Heche has been peacefully taken off life support,” Baird said Sunday night in a statement.
A statement released Friday on behalf of her family and friends called Heche “a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother and a loyal friend. Anne will be deeply missed, but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact.”
In 1997 alone, Heche stood out as Maggie, the wife of Johnny Depp’s undercover FBI agent, in Mike Newell’s Donnie Brasco; as California seismologist Amy Barnes opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Don Cheadle in the disaster film Volcano; as presidential aide Winifred Ames in Barry Levinson’s black comedy Wag the Dog; and as Missy Egan alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar in the slasher flick I Know What You Did Last Summer.
A year later, Heche continued her hot streak, starring in the Ivan Reitman action adventure Six Days Seven Nights (1998) alongside Harrison Ford; in the romantic drama Return to Paradise (1998) with Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Phoenix; and as Marion Crane in Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho (1998).
She first came to fame as a teenager when she portrayed twins on the NBC soap opera Another World, earning a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991.
Heche was the subject of headlines for her romantic relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, whom she dated from 1997 until they split in August 2000. A day after their breakup, she knocked on a stranger’s door in Fresno, California, and was taken to a hospital, with authorities noting she appeared confused.
I had a fantasy world that I escaped to,” she told Barbara Walters in 2001. “I called my other personality Celestia. I believed I was from that world. I believed I was from another planet. I think I was insane.”
In March 1983, her father, Don, died of AIDS. (In a 2001 interview with The Advocate, she called him a “sexual deviant” and said he had raped her until she was 12.) Three months after his death, her 18-year-old brother, Nathan, was killed in a car crash.
(Her sister Cynthia had already died of a heart defect, and another sister, Susan, would die of brain cancer in 2006.)
She and Steve Martin dated for a couple of years before she met DeGeneres; she said her relationship with the future talk show host led Fox to terminate her multimillion-dollar movie deal.
On Friday, DeGeneres wrote on Twitter: “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”
Soon after she and DeGeneres broke up, she married cameraman Coleman Laffoon in 2001, and they welcomed a son, Homer, before divorcing in 2007.
She later had another son, Atlas, with longtime partner James Tupper, whom she began dating after they first met on Men in Trees. She and the Canadian actor ended things in 2018.
Homer, 20, told THR in a statement on Friday: “After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom.”
In her interview with Walters, Heche said she wrote her book “to say goodbye, once and for all, to my story of shame and embrace my life choice of love. The fact that there are people hearing my story is the icing on the most beautiful cake in the world that I imagine says, ‘Happy freedom, Anne. You have made it to the other side.’”
All of our prayers go out to Anne, and her family and friends. We hope she is at peace now.