Hollywood had Emmy-winning “Another World” star Anne Heche in mind Friday as her death was confirmed by her son Homer Laffoon.
The TV and film actor died at 53 after sustaining severe injuries in a car crash in Mar Vista last week. Heche’s death came after her representative said Thursday that she was not expected to survive.
“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,” the representative’s statement said. “She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and dearly missed for her light.”
Social media lit up with tributes for the “Volcano” star, including one from Heche’s ex-husband, Coleman “Coley” Laffoon. On Friday, Laffoon provided followers with an update on his and Heche’s son and remembered the actor as “brave and fearless.”
“I think Anne is probably — I like to think she’s free from pain and enjoying or experiencing whatever’s next in her journey,” Laffoon said in a Facebook reel.
James Tupper, who starred with Heche in the ABC series “Men in Trees” from September 2006 to June 2008, was among the Hollywood figures who paid tribute to the actor on Friday. Tupper is also Heche’s ex-boyfriend and fathered Heche’s 13-year-old son, Atlas.
Robert De Niro, her co-star in the political satire Wag the Dog, said through his representative, “I’m very sad to hear of the tragic passing of Anne Heche. She was a wonderful actress and I enjoyed working with her tremendously in Wag the Dog.”
Heche struggled with her mental health in the past, detailing her highs and lows in the 2001 memoir Call Me Crazy. In August of 2000, the actress drove to a sparsely populated town four hours north of Los Angeles and, wearing little clothing, parked her car and walked to the home of a stranger, who let her into their abode. She reportedly asked for a pair of slippers and suggested that the two of them watch a movie. The man contacted the authorities after recognizing her from a movie. This troubling episode received a great deal of ugly mockery by the tabloid media, late-night comics, and the public.
In an interview with Larry King a year later, she explained that she protected herself from painful child sexual abuse memories by disappearing into “another world” and creating an alter ego to communicate with God. She said that her father had sexually assaulted her from the age of 12 before passing away from AIDS, calling him “sexually deviant,” which contributed to her mental-health struggles. Heche also had a strained relationship with her mother, Nancy, who pushed dangerous conversion therapy on behalf of the Christian fundamentalist organization Focus on the Family. The events leading up to Friday’s fateful car accident are still under investigation.
Hours before the crash, Heche visited a hair salon in Los Angeles, where she bought a bright red wig. The salon’s owner, stylist Richard Glass, said she did not appear inebriated at the time. He said she seemed more like “a sweet little girl,” adding that the Emmy winner “grabbed” his face, cuddling it, before they took a selfie for Glass’ Instagram.