Anne Heche dies at 53, taken off life support following Los Angeles car wreck

Anne Heche, an actor whose TV and film career spanned decades, has died. She was 53. Representatives for the actor confirmed Sunday to CBS News that Heche was “peacefully taken off life support,” a little over a week after crashing her car into a Los Angeles house. 

Her representatives had revealed last week that Heche was in a coma and not expected to survive after suffering a severe brain injury. In a previous statement Thursday, they said Heche was on life support while a team worked to see if her organs could be donated, in accordance with her wishes.

FILE PHOTO: Actor Anne Heche
Anne Heche at the 74th Annual Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards in Beverly Hills, California, March 12, 2022.


“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” her family said in Thursday’s statement. “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 was behind the wheel during the fiery crash Aug. 5, when the car slammed into a two-story home and sparked a house fire that took 59 firefighters over an hour to battle. The Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement Saturday saying they would not further investigate the crash.

“Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit. More than her extraordinary talent, she saw spreading kindness and joy as her life’s work — especially moving the needle for acceptance of who you love,” Thursday’s statement said. 

The Aurora, Ohio, native began acting in the 1980s, playing twins Vicki Hudson and Marley Love on soap opera “Another World.” She made the transition to the big screen in the 1990s, with a supporting role in “The Juror” and major roles in “Donnie Brasco,” “Volcano,” “Six Days Seven Nights,” and “Wag the Dog,” among others.

She won a Daytime Emmy in 1991 and was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in the 2004 Lifetime TV movie “Gracie’s Choice.”

Heche began publicly dating comedian Ellen DeGeneres in 1997. The two were one of the highest-profile gay couples of the decade. Heche later said the relationship cost her millions in lost opportunities and that she was escorted out of the premiere for 1997’s “Volcano,” in which she had a starring role, for bringing DeGeneres as her date.

But she remained active in the entertainment industry, with roles in dozens more TV episodes and films through the years, a popular turn on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2020, and numerous projects in production at the time of her death.

After her breakup with DeGeneres, Heche married cameraman Coleman Laffoon; they later divorced, and she had a decade-long relationship with actor James Tupper. She is survived by two sons.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Heche won a Daytime Emmy and was nominated, but did not win, in 2004.

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