Anne Heche

After an early breakout role on the soap opera "Another World" (NBC, 1964-1999) in 1987, the actress Anne Heche, gradually built up her feature film résumé, leading to starring roles in major films like "Donnie Brasco" (1997) and "Volcano" (1997) opposite several of Hollywood's biggest leading men. The 1997 revelation of Heche's change in sexuality and her unexpected romance with comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, left audiences and studio execs scratching their heads. Professional disappointments like the adventure-romance "Six Days, Seven Nights" (1998) and an ill-advised shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1998) were but a prelude to the actress' own personal collapse, which culminated with Heche leaving DeGeneres and suffering an emotional breakdown in 2001. Despite popular opinion that her career was over, Heche returned with the dramedy series, "Men in Trees" (ABC, 2006-08). Diverse, well-written roles on the racy cable series "Hung" (HBO, 2009-1011) and in the indie comedy "Cedar Rapids" (2011) did much to return her to critical favor. Determined to put the drama of her past behind her, Heche kept the theatrics limited to the screen as she entered yet another phase of her career. Anne Heche was born May 25, 1969, to the fundamentalist Christian family of Nancy and Donald Heche. Her father was a Baptist minister and choir director who often relocated his family in search of work. With money tight,12-year-old Heche helped with the rent after landing her first professional acting job at a New Jersey dinner theater. In 1983 her father died of the then-rare disease AIDS and Heche's only brother was killed in a car accident three months later. Heche left for New York where she landed her first major TV role, that of good and evil twins Vicky and Marley on the NBC soap opera "Another World" (NBC, 1964-1999). Heche made quite an impression with the complicated dual role, earning Daytime Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Awards Heche taped her final episode of "As the World Turns" in 1992 and the following year made a significant TV film debut alongside Jessica Lange in the Golden Globe-nominated adaptation of Willa Cather's "O' Pioneers" (CBS). She made her feature debut as Mary Jane Wilks in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1993) and gradually landed larger roles in "I'll Do Anything" (1994) and TV movies "Against the Wall" (HBO, 1994) and "Kingfish: A Story of Huey Long" (TNT, 1995), playing the notorious Southern politician's mistress. Her breakthrough role was that of a doctor friend of Demi Moore who falls victim to a hit man in the thriller "The Juror" (1996). She went on to co-star with Catherine Keener in the acclaimed indie "Walking and Talking' (1996) before giving an exceptional performance opposite Johnny Depp as the long-suffering wife of "Donnie Brasco" (1997), an FBI agent whose intensely guarded job as a mafia infiltrator threatens to destroy his own life and family. Heche then teamed with Tommy Lee Jones in the disaster flick "Volcano" and continued her rise with a well-reviewed turn as a presidential advisor in Barry Levinson's political satire "Wag the Dog" (1997). Heche's well-deserved attention for her 1997 performances was overshadowed by bigger news that year; news that she and comedienne Ellen DeGeneres were in love. They also announced that they would be getting married in Vermont, where it was soon to become legal for same sex couples to do so. In 1999, she played the skeptical daughter of a woman proposed as a candidate for sainthood in "The Third Miracle," Heche wrote and directed the "2000" segment of the Emmy-nominated HBO movie "If These Walls Could Talk 2" (2000), an anthology about the lesbian experience in America. Before the film was released, however, the power lesbian couple called it quits. Days after moving out of their shared home, Heche was picked up by police in a rural area of California's Central valley, where she was found wandering in a confused state claiming to be looking for a spaceship that was supposed to be meeting her. Heche claimed that following a single day on a mental ward, she literally snapped out of it, and resumed her life with new clarity. In a further unexpected twist - and one that alienated her legions of gay supporters - Heche married her cameraman beau, Coleman Laffoon within the year and became pregnant with their child. Heche was able to get her career got back on track surprisingly quickly. She had a featured role in the Denzel Washington thriller "John Q" and also played Dr. Sterling in the long-delayed adaptation of Elizabeth Wurtzel's bestseller "Prozac Nation" (2001). Television writer-producer David E. Kelley cast her in a recurring role on the hit "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002). Following the birth of her son in 2002, Heche replaced Jennifer Jason Leigh in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Proof" on Broadway. In 2004, the resilient actress received an Emmy nomination for playing a drug-addicted mother who neglects her children in the Lifetime movie "Gracie's Choice" (2004). She also appeared in a recurring role on the drama "Everwood" (The WB, 2002-06) before returning to Broadway where she was nominated for a Tony Award for a revival of the showbiz-themed comedy "Twentieth Century," starring opposite Alec Baldwin. By the time she took on a recurring role on "Nip/Tuck" in 2005, Heche had reclaimed a great deal of her once-tarnished professional luster. By the next fall, she was headlining her own primetime show, ABC's quirky dramedy "Men in Trees" (ABC, 2006-08). The show was well-received by critics and Heche was singled out for her charming performance, a performance that also charmed hunky co-star James Tupper, with whom Heche began a romance following the breakup of her marriage to Laffoon in 2006, who filed for divorce from Heche in 2007, claiming the affair began prior to their divorce. In the end, the cameraman was granted primary physical custody. Heche then went to work in projects like the straight-to-DVD eco-disaster movie "Toxic Skies" (2008), co-starring her new beau Tupper. After two years as a couple, she and Tupper welcomed a son in early 2009. Heche was soon cast on the sexy comedy series "Hung" (HBO, 2009-1011) Along with the rest the cast, Heche received some of the highest marks of her career for her work on the under-appreciated series. More accolades came her way for her turn as a fun-loving insurance saleswoman in the indie comedy "Cedar Rapids" (2011). That same year, a supporting role as the ex-wife of a self-destructive LAPD officer (Woody Harrelson) in "Rampart" (2011) further bolstered her Hollywood reputation. Working steadily, Heche also co-starred with Tupper as parents of a teenage girl whose vicious beating at the hands of fellow schoolgirls is caught on tape in the TV drama "Girl Fight" (Lifetime, 2011). The following year, the actress was seen in several limited-release efforts, including "That's What She Said" (2012) and "Arthur Newman" (2012). She went on to have roles in "My Friend Dahmer" (2017), "The Vanished" (2020), and "13 Minutes" (2021). Anne Heche died on August 12, 2022 at the age of 53.