Anne Heche

Anne Heche

Anne Heche (born on May 25, 1969 – Died on August 11, 2022) was an American actress and director. In addition to her film roles, Heche starred in the drama-comedy television series Men in Trees (2006–08), Hung (2009–11), Save Me (2013), Aftermath (2016), and the military drama television series The Brave (2017).

Anne Heche
Name Anne Heche
Full Name Anne Celeste Heche
Birth date May 25, 1969
Birthplace Aurora, Ohio
Death date August 11, 2022
Death place Los Angeles, California
Nationality North American
Work Actress
Dates of activity 1987-2022
Spouse Coleman “Coley”
Laffoon (m. 2001; div. 2009)
Emmys Best Young Actress in a Drama Series
1991 – Another World
National Board of Review Awards Best Supporting Actress
1997 – Donnie Brasco
Best Supporting Actress
1997 – Wag the Dog

Anne Heche’s early years

Anne Celeste Heche was born on May 25, 1969, in Aurora, Ohio, the youngest of five children of Nancy Heche (born Prickett) and Donald Joseph Heche. Her family moved eleven times during her childhood, having lived in an Amish community at one time. When asked in a 2001 interview on Larry King Live what her father’s source of income was, Heche replied, “He was a choir director. But I don’t think he gained much from it per week. He said he was involved in a gas and oil business, and he said that until the day he died, but he was never involved in the oil and gas business.”

The family settled in Ocean City, New Jersey, when Heche was twelve. Due to the family’s strained finances, Anne went to work at a dinner theatre in Swainton. “At the time we were kicked out of our home, my family was hiding in a room in the home of a generous family from our church,” she said. “I was paid $100 a week, which was more than anyone else in my family. We all put our money together in an envelope in a drawer and saved enough to move in after a year.”

On March 3, 1983, when Anne Heche was 13, her 45-year-old father died of AIDS. Heche said on Larry King Live, “He was in complete denial until the day he died. We know he got it from gay relationships. Absolutely. I don’t think it was just one. He was a very promiscuous man, and we knew his lifestyle at the time.” He never came out as homosexual. Heche alleged that he repeatedly raped her from the time she was a child until she was 12, causing genital herpes.

When 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 it came out of him the ways he did.”

In a 1998 interview, she reflected that her father’s being in the closet ended up “destroying her happiness and our family. But it taught me to tell the truth. Nothing else is worth anything.”

Three months after her father’s death, Anne Heche’s 18-year-old brother, Nathan, died in a car accident. The official investigation stated that he fell asleep at the wheel and hit a tree, although Heche claims it was suicide. The rest of Heche’s family subsequently moved to Chicago, where Anne Heche attended the progressive Francis W. Parker School. In 1985, when Heche was 16, an agent saw her in a school play and secured her an audition for the daytime soap opera As the World Turns.

Heche flew to New York, auditioned and received a job offer, but her mother insisted she finish high school first. Shortly before her high school graduation in 1987, Heche was given a dual role in the daytime soap opera Another World. “Once again I was told I couldn’t go. My mother was very religious and maybe she thought it was a world of sinners,” Heche said. “But I picked up the phone and said, ‘Send me the ticket. I’m getting on the plane.’ I was like, ‘Bye!’ I lived with my mom in a disgusting one-bedroom apartment and I was fed up.”


Anne Heche at the Primetime Emmy Awards in 1997
Anne Heche at the Primetime Emmy Awards in 1997


In 1996, Anne Heche landed her first substantial role as a college student contemplating an abortion in a segment of the HBO anthology film If These Walls Could Talk, co-starring Cher and Demi Moore. Also in the same year, she appeared alongside Catherine Keener playing childhood best friends in the independent film Walking and Talking.

The limited-release film received favorable reviews from critics and is number 47 on Entertainment Weekly’s “Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time” list. Heche earned a positive rating from film critic Alison Macor of the Austin Chronicle, who wrote in her review that she “is destined for bigger film roles.” She played the wife of the secret FBI agent and main character played by Johnny Depp in the 1997 crime drama Donnie Brasco. The film grossed $124.9 million worldwide, and critic Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote, “[Heche] does well with what could have been the thankless role.”

She played the minor role of a rural loner in the horror thriller I Know What You Did Last Summer, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. Heche was considered a “highlight” by some critics, such as Variety. She landed the role of a presidential adviser alongside Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman in the political satire Wag the Dog, a role that was originally written for a man. Budgeted at $15 million, the film grossed $64 million.

Anne Heche’s first starring role came in the 1998 romantic adventure Six Days, Seven Nights, where she appeared alongside Harrison Ford, playing a New York journalist who ends up with a pilot (Ford) on a deserted island after a crash landing. She was cast in the film the day before her homosexual relationship with Ellen DeGeneres became public. Although Heche was cast in a second lead role soon after 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 protagonist.

According to Heche, “People would say, ‘You’re not getting a job because you’re gay.’” She commented: “How could this destroy my career? I still can’t understand that.” Six Days, Seven Nights received mixed reviews, but grossed $74.3 million in North America and $164.8 million worldwide. In its appearance in the dramatic thriller Return to Paradise, a writer for The New York Times commented, “as Mrs. Heche’s formidable Beth Eastern does her best to manipulate the other characters in favor of [co-star Joaquin Phoenix’s character], Return to Paradise takes on the abstract weight of an ethical debate rather than the visceral urgency of a thriller.”

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, Marion Crane, a fraudster who arrives at an old motel run by serial killer Norman Bates (played by Vince Vaughn in their second collaboration). Psycho received negative reviews and, despite a budget of $60 million, grossed $37.1 million worldwide. In a negative review of the film, Janet Maslin of The New York Times felt that Heche was “refreshingly cast in the role of Marion”, while noting that her portrayal was “almost as demure as Leigh’s, but she is also more headstrong and seductive”. Her 1998 films remained the only theatrically released films in which she had a lead role.

Personal life of Anne Heche

Anne Heche’s relationship with Ellen DeGeneres and the events that followed her breakup became subjects of wide media interest. The couple began dating in 1997 and at one point said they would get a civil union if it became legal in Vermont. They separated in August 2000. Heche stated that all of his other romantic relationships were with men.

In 2000, Heche reportedly left DeGeneres for Coleman “Coley” Laffoon, a cameraman she met the previous year on DeGeneres’ stand-up comedy tour. On September 1, 2001, she and Laffoon were married. They had a son in March 2002. Laffoon filed for divorce on February 2, 2007, after five and a half years of marriage. The divorce was finalized on March 4, 2009.

Anne Heche reportedly left her husband for Men in Trees co-star James Tupper. She and Tupper had a son in March 2009, their second child and his first. Tupper and Heche split in 2018.

Death of Anne Heche

On August 5, 2022, Anne Heche was involved in a sequence of two car crashes in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles. First, the Mini Cooper she was driving crashed into a garage in an apartment complex, and second when she crashed into a house, which resulted in a fire that left her badly burned. Video footage recorded moments before the final crash shows Heche’s vehicle on a neighborhood street speeding, followed a few seconds later by the sound of a crash.

It took 59 firefighters to deal with the vehicle collision and the house fire, and it took 65 minutes to completely extinguish the fire and rescue Heche from the vehicle. The house became structurally compromised and uninhabitable. The tenant of the house suffered minor injuries, but her lawyer said she and her pets “almost lost their lives,” and that she had lost all of her personal possessions in the fire.

Law enforcement officials said Heche appeared to “be under the influence of substances and acting erratically” at the time of the raids. The Los Angeles Police Department said a preliminary blood test confirmed the presence of narcotics in Heche’s system, although more comprehensive toxicology testing, which can take weeks to identify specific drugs, is needed.

Heche was removed from the crash site on a stretcher and transported to a hospital. She was filmed sitting on the gurney and struggling with paramedics while being put in the ambulance, however, she lost consciousness soon after. On August 8, a representative for Anne Heche reported that the actress was in a coma, in critical condition, breathing with the help of mechanical ventilation due to a lung injury.

On August 11, the representative said Anne Heche was not expected to survive, due to an anoxic brain injury, and that she was being held on life support to determine if her organs were viable for donation, in accordance with her desire to be an organ donor. A few hours later she was declared brain dead, but the actress was kept on support to assess the feasibility of donating her organs and locate recipients. Having been declared “brain dead,” Heche was considered legally dead under California law. On August 14 it was announced that the organ recipients had been located, and that the actress’ body would undergo organ donation procedures that afternoon. That night, her aide announced that she had been “peacefully taken off life support.” She died at the age of 53 from her injuries. For her organ donation, hospital staff performed a walk of honor for Heche.

Anne Heche’s Filmography

Year Film Character Notes
1993 An Ambush of Ghosts Denise
The Adventures of Huck Finn Mary Jane Wilks
1994 I’ll Do Anything Claire
Milk Money Betty
A Simple Twist of Fate Tanny’s Playmate
1996 The Juror Juliet
Wild Side Alex Lee/Johanna
Pie in the Sky Amy
Walking and Talking Laura
1997 Donnie Brasco Maggie Pistone
Volcano Dr. Amy Barnes
I Know What You Did Last Summer Melissa ‘Missy’ Egan
Wag the Dog Winifred Ames
1998 Psycho Marion Crane
Return to Paradise Beth Eastern
Six Days Seven Nights Robin Monroe
1999 The Third Miracle Roxane
2000 Auggie Rose Lucy Beyond Suspicion
2001 Prozac Nation Dr. Sterling
2002 John Q Rebecca Payne
2004 Birth Clara
2005 Sexual Life Gwen
2007 What Love Is Laura
Suffering Man’s Charity Helen
Superman: Doomsday Lois Lane voice
2008 Toxic Skies Dr. Tess Martin
2009 Spread Samantha
2010 The Other Guys Pamela Boardman uncredited
2011 Rampart Catherine
Girl Fight Melissa
2015 Wild Card Roxy


Year Title Character Notes
1987–1991 Another World Victoria ‘Vicky’ Hudson/Marley Love Hudson
1992 O Pioneers! Marie
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Kate 1 episode
1994 The Investigator Lucinda
Girls in Prison Jennifer
Against the Wall Sharon
1995 Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long Aileen Dumont
1996 If These Walls Could Talk Christine Cullen “1996”
Subwaystories: Tales from the Underground Pregnant Girl “Manhattan Miracle”
1997–1998 Ellen Karen 2 episodes
2000 One Kill Captain Mary Jane O’Malley
2001 Ally McBeal Melanie West 7 episodes
2004 The Dead Will Tell Emily Parker
Gracie’s Choice Rowena Lawson
2004–2005 Everwood Amanda Hayes 10 episodes
2005 True
Nip/Tuck Nicole Morretti 3 episodes
Silver Bells Catherine O’Mara
2005–2006 Higglytown Heroes Gloria the Waitress 3 episodes
2006 Fatal Desire Tanya Sullivan
2007 Masters of Science Fiction Martha Van Vogel 1 episode
2006–2008 Men in Trees Marin Frist 36 episodes
2009–2010 Hung Jessica Haxon 18 episodes
2011 Cedar Rapids Joan Ostrowski-Fox
2014 The Legend of Korra Suyin Beifong 7 episodes
One Christmas Eve Nell Blackemore Hallmark movie


Year Film Notes
2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 segment “2000
2001 Ellen De Generes: American Summer Documentary
On the Edge segment Reaching Normal

References (sources)