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Anne Heche, Actress Known for ’90s Film Roles, Dies at 53


Anne Heche, an actress who was as well-known for her roles in movies like “Six Days, Seven Nights” and “Donnie Brasco” as for her personal life, which included a three-year romance with the comedian Ellen DeGeneres, died on Sunday in Los Angeles, nine days after she was in a devastating automotive accident there. She was 53.

Her death was announced by a representative, Holly Baird, who said late Sunday in an email that Ms. Heche had been “peacefully taken off life support.”

Ms. Heche was critically injured on Aug. 5 when a Mini Cooper she was driving crashed right into a two-story home within the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, causing a hearth that took firefighters greater than an hour to extinguish. Ms. Heche, who was alone within the automotive, sustained burns and a severe anoxic brain injury, brought on by an absence of oxygen to the brain.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police said the department was continuing to analyze whether drug use contributed to the accident.

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

“It has long been her alternative to donate her organs, and she or he is being kept on life support to find out if any are viable,” the statement said.

On Friday, a representative said Ms. Heche had been declared brain-dead on Thursday night.

Ms. Heche was a soap opera star before she became known to movie audiences. Within the late Nineteen Eighties, soon after she graduated from highschool, she joined the solid of the daytime drama “One other World,” where she played the nice and evil twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love. She won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991 for outstanding younger actress in a drama series.

By the mid-Nineteen Nineties, 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 within the political satire “Wag the Dog” (1997), with Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro; and a fashion magazine editor who crash-lands on a South Seas island in an airplane piloted by Harrison Ford in “Six Days, Seven Nights” (1998).

“Romantic comedies don’t get more formulaic than this bouncing-screwball valentine, but they don’t get far more delightful, either,” Rita Kempley wrote in her review of “Six Days, Seven Nights” in The Washington Post. “The identical goes for Heche and Ford as squabbling opposites drawn together during this tropical adventure.”

Ms. Heche began a relationship with Ms. DeGeneres in 1997, at a time when same-sex relationships in Hollywood weren’t fully accepted. The connection became widely known in April of that yr after they appeared, hand in hand, on the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington. A couple of days later, Ms. DeGeneres’s character on her sitcom, “Ellen,” got here out as gay.

Ms. Heche’s decision to disclose that she was in a lesbian relationship, The Recent York Times wrote, “confronted Hollywood with a highly delicate problem: methods to cope with a gay actress whose profession has been built on playing heterosexual roles.”

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

Complete information on her survivors was not immediately available.

Ms. Heche told The Recent York Post in 2021 that she had been “blacklisted” in Hollywood due to her relationship with Ms. DeGeneres.

“I didn’t do a studio picture for 10 years,” she was quoted as saying. “I used to be fired from a $10 million picture deal and didn’t see the sunshine of day in a studio picture.”

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

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

She appeared on Broadway within the play “Proof” from 2002 until it closed in 2003, then within the 2004 revival of “Twentieth Century,” the 1932 comedy a couple of Broadway producer (Alec Baldwin) who, as a passenger on the Twentieth Century Limited train, meets a former discovery, Lily Garland (Ms. Heche), who has grow to be a Hollywood star. The role earned Ms. Heche a Tony Award nomination for best performance by a number one actress in a play.

In his review in The Times, Ben Brantley wrote, “Her posture melting between serpentine seductiveness and a street fighter’s aggressiveness, her voice shifting between supper-club velvet and dime-store vinyl, Ms. Heche summons a complete gallery of studio-made sirens from the Depression era: Jean Harlow, the pre-mummified Joan Crawford and, yes, Carole Lombard, who famously portrayed Lily in Howard Hawks’s screen version of ‘Twentieth Century.’”

In 2004, Ms. Heche was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a mini-series or movie, for her performance in “Gracie’s Alternative,” a TV film about a young person faced with raising her half siblings after their drug-addicted mother is shipped to prison.

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

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

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

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

“People wonder why I’m so forthcoming with the truths which have happened in my life,” Ms. Heche said in an interview with The Times in 2009. “And it’s since the lies that I even have been surrounded with and the denial that I used to be raised in, for higher or worse, bore a toddler of truth and love.”

In 2018, she said she had been fired from a job at Miramax when she refused to offer oral sex to Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced film magnate who founded the corporate along with his brother, Bob, and who was accused of sexual assault by dozens of girls. He was convicted of two felony sex crimes in 2020 and is serving a 23-year prison sentence.

“If I wasn’t sexually abused as a toddler, I don’t know if I might have had the strength to get up to Harvey — and plenty of others, by the best way,” she told the podcast “Allegedly … With Theo Von & Matthew Cole Weiss.” “It was not only Harvey, and I’ll say that.”

Vimal Patel contributed reporting.

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