Who Was Anne Heche?
Actress Anne Heche got her start on the soap opera Another World. She made her film debut in 1993’s An Ambush of Ghosts, but it was her role in Donnie Brasco (1997) that first brought her attention. In 2002, she made her Broadway debut. She was nominated for her first primetime Emmy Award for Gracie’s Choice in 2004. In 2006, she got her own series, Men in Trees. Heche later starred in the television series Hung and the military drama The Brave.
Born on May 25, 1969, in Aurora, Ohio, Heche was raised in a conservative religious household by a Baptist choir director and a homemaker. Heche's father died of AIDS when she was only 12 years old, leaving the family in a difficult financial situation. To help her family make ends meet, Heche started her acting career at a dinner theater in New Jersey. The family later moved to the Chicago area.
While in high school, Heche had her first big break when a talent scout spotted her in a school production. After graduation, she moved to New York City to work on the daytime drama Another World. On the show, she played twins Marley and Vicky Hudson, who had very different personalities—one was gentle and sweet while the other was a bit wicked and rough around the edges. Heche won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991 for her work on the show.
Moving to the big screen, Heche made her feature film debut in 1993's An Ambush of Ghosts. The following year, she developed a brief off-camera relationship with Steve Martin (the two had worked together on the film A Simple Twist of Fate, Heche in an uncredited role). Heche went on to land a part in the film Donnie Brasco (1997), portraying the wife of an undercover FBI agent (Johnny Depp) whose marriage is strained by her husband's work. Her performance in the film earned her both commercial and critical acclaim.
Around that time, Heche appeared to be on the fast track to film success, with roles in the action-drama Volcano opposite Tommy Lee Jones and the political satire Wag the Dog with Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro. In 1997, Heche also made news for her romantic life. She became involved with Ellen DeGeneres, the comedienne and sitcom star. Some wondered whether the relationship would have a negative impact on Heche’s career. Others were skeptical of her ability to convince audiences that she could play as a heterosexual romantic lead. Despite any concerns, Heche starred opposite Harrison Ford in Six Days Seven Nights. In the film, she played as an editor who eventually falls for Ford's character, a pilot, after the two survive an airplane crash together.
'Psycho,' Memoir and Broadway Debut
While there was some speculation about the end of her career, Heche continued to flourish. She starred as a lawyer in Return to Paradise with Vince Vaughn. The pair worked together again on Gus Van Zant’s remake of the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho. But not long after Heche and DeGeneres ended their relationship in 2000, Heche hit some emotional turbulence. She was hospitalized briefly after being found wandering around near Fresno, California.
Heche wrote candidly about her difficult childhood and other personal challenges in her 2001 memoir, Call Me Crazy. That same year, she married videographer Coley Laffoon. The couple welcomed a son, Homer, in 2002. Soon after, Heche made her Broadway debut in the drama Proof and received warm reviews. Her next Broadway appearance, 2004's revival of the comedy Twentieth Century, earned her a Tony Award nomination.
Small Screen Success and Personal Life
Switching to the small screen, Heche received her first primetime Emmy Award nomination for her work on the television film Gracie's Choice in 2004. She also landed a recurring role on the family drama Everwood before getting her own series in 2006. Men in Trees debuted in the fall of 2006 with Heche starring as Marin Frist, a relationship expert who escapes to a small town in Alaska after her own romance falls apart.
In 2007, Heche's life began to mirror her own character: She separated from her husband, with whom she became involved in a public child custody battle. Thereafter, Heche became romantically linked to her Men in Trees co-star, James Tupper. They never married, they chose to instead remain "eternally engaged," until announcing their separation in early 2018.
Meanwhile, the actress continued to work steadily, appearing in films like Cedar Rapids (2011) and Catfight (2017), while landing regular gigs on television. After Men in Trees wrapped in 2008, she starred in the HBO series Hung from 2009 to 2011, and landed lead roles in the short-lived series Save Me and Aftermath. In 2017, she began starring in the NBC military drama The Brave.
Heche was involved in a severe car collision on August 5, 2022. A week later, on August 12, Heche's family announced she was unlikely to survive after suffering a severe anoxic brain injury and would be taken off life support. Heche died later that day.
We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!