Anne Heche, the versatile yet troubled performer who appeared in TV shows including “Another World” and “Men in Trees” and in films such as “Donnie Brasco,” “Psycho” and “Wag the Dog,” was taken off of life support on Sunday after being involved in a car crash in Los Angeles on Aug. 5, her rep confirmed. She was 53.
Heche crashed after speeding through the Mar Vista neighborhood of West Los Angeles, where she first hit a garage and then continued until colliding with a house, where her car caught fire. She was severely burned before being pulled from the car.
Heche was declared legally dead in the state of California on Friday, but she remained on life support until she was determined as a match for organ donation.
Heche had a string of significant movie roles in the 1990s and then starred in several TV series, including “Everwood,” “Hung,” “Save Me,” “Aftermath,” “The Brave” and “Chicago P.D.” In HBO’s “Hung,” she played Ray’s cheerleader ex Jessica, and the Guardian wrote of her performance, “Heche plays it just the right side of prickly in ‘Hung.’ Racking her new husband’s credit cards, rifling through his accounts at the suggestion of her mother, and trying just a little too hard to bond with her kids, she’s a great character.”
Her notable film roles in the ’90s included “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Six Days Seven Nights.” In “Donnie Brasco,” she played the wife of Johnny Depp’s FBI agent character, and in “Wag the Dog,” she played presidential aide Winifred Ames, who hires a spin doctor played by Robert De Niro to deal with a presidential controversy.
She also appeared in films including Nicole Holofcener’s “Walking and Talking,” “Volcano” and “That’s What She Said.”
Heche was Emmy-nominated for her role in TV movie “Gracie’s Choice” in 2004. Her most recent TV credits include the series “The Idol” and “All Rise.”
Heche was in a three-year relationship with Ellen DeGeneres that ended in 2000. Ten days after the couple broke up, Heche entered a house outside of Fresno, Calif. and refused to leave. When the sheriffs were called, she told them she was God and was “going to take everyone back to heaven in a spaceship.” In interviews, she had attributed her mental issues to being sexually abused by her father.
Her 2001 memoir “Call Me Crazy” detailed her upbringing in a troubled family. “I had a fantasy world that I escaped to. I called my other personality Celestia,” she told Barbara Walters when her book was released. “I believed I was from that world. I believed I was from another planet. I think I was insane.”
Born in Aurora, Ohio, she had an itinerant childhood and began working in dinner theater to help support her family at the age of 12. Her father died of HIV/AIDS when she was 13, and her brother died after crashing his car soon after their father’s death. She said she turned to drinking, drugs and sex to deal with her traumatic upbringing. She was long estranged from her mother, who would not accept Heche’s claims of sexual abuse against her father.
At 16, she auditioned for the soap “As the World Turns” after acting in a school play. She didn’t take the job, but was then cast on “Another World” at the end of high school, winning a Daytime Emmy for younger actress for playing twins Marley Hudson and Victoria McKinnon.
She was married to cameraman Coley Laffoon, with whom she had a son, Homer. She was then in a relationship with “Men in Trees” star James Tupper, with whom she had her second son, Atlas.
Heche is survived by her two sons, Homer and Atlas.