R.I.P. Anne Heche, Actress Dead at 53 After Car Crash

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Anne Heche, the actress known for her roles in films like Six Days Seven Nights, Donnie Brasco, and Volcano, has died from injuries sustained in a car crash that occurred on August 5th, according to the Guardian. She was 53.

“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” a rep for Heche said in a statement on behalf of her family and friends. “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.”

Heche suffered a “significant pulmonary injury” and “a severe anoxic brain injury” after crashing her car into a Los Angeles home, “requiring mechanical ventilation and burns that require surgical intervention.” The impact caused the home to catch on fire, and it took 59 firefighters over an hour to put out the blaze and pull Heche to safety. A woman inside of the home at the time of the crash suffered minor injuries and received medical attention.

On Thursday evening, a representative for Heche announced that the actress was “not expected to survive,” and added that she was being kept on life support to determine if her organs were “viable” for donation. Though she has been ruled legally dead, her body will remain on life support until the OneLegacy Foundation finds recipients who are a match for her organs.

Police investigated the cause of the crash, having obtained a warrant to test her blood for alcohol or drugs. LAPD told TMZ that the department found cocaine and fentanyl; however, fentanyl is sometimes used in hospitals as treatment, so it’s unclear yet whether it was in her system at the time of the crash.

Heche was born on May 25th, 1969 in Aurora, Ohio. She lived a tumultuous childhood, moving houses constantly and at one point sharing a single bedroom in a family friend’s home with her parents and siblings. Within three months of losing her father to HIV/AIDS at age 13, her older brother was killed in a car crash.

Just before graduating high school in 1987, Heche was offered the dual role of twins Marley and Vicky Hudson on the daytime soap opera Another World. Despite her mother’s disapproval, Heche took the job, which would win her a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series in 1991. In 1993, she made her feature film debut portraying Mary Jane Wilks in Stephen Sommers’ The Adventures of Huck Finn.

After a handful of supporting roles throughout the mid ’90s in movies like If These Walls Could Talk and Walking and Talking, 1997 saw Heche take on notable supporting roles in three high-profile films: The disaster film Volcano, the slasher classic I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the political black comedy Wag the Dog. Even though some of Heche’s films received a chilly reception from critics — like Gus Van Sant’s 1988 Psycho remake, where she played the role made famous by Janet Leigh — her performances were often praised.

While continuing to appear in films like Prozac Nation, Birth, The Other Guys, and Nothing Left to Fear, Heche had a number of recurring television roles throughout the 2000s. She appeared as Jessica Haxon in Hung, Nicole Moretti in Nip/Tuck, Susan Rodriguez-Jones on The Michael J. Fox Show, Suyin Beifong in The Legend of Korra, and Dep. Superintendent Katherine Brennan in Chicago P.D., among other roles.

Outside of film and TV, Heche published the 2001 memoir Call Me Crazy, in which she wrote at length about the abuse she suffered as a child, her mental health struggles, and her relationships with fellow celebrities like Lindsey Buckingham, Steve Martin, and Ellen DeGeneres.

Heche has a number of posthumous projects set to be released soon. According to IMDB, she appears in all six episodes of The IdolHBO’s upcoming series starring The Weeknd as a pop singer’s self-help guru. In September, she’ll star in the Lifetime movie, Girl in Room 13, and she also reportedly wrapped production on the storm-chasing drama Supercell and the horror film Chasing Nightmares.

R.I.P. Anne Heche, Actress Dead at 53 After Car Crash
Abby Jones

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