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Anne Heche, Actress Known for ‘Donnie Brasco’ and ‘Wag the Dog,’ Dies at 53

She was eventually taken off life support following a car crash on August 5.

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Anne Heche, an actress best-known for her starring roles in ‘90s films, has died at the age of 53 following a car crash in Los Angeles. Heche was “peacefully taken off life support” yesterday (Sunday, August 14), according to a representative for her family. 

Heche crashed her car into a Los Angeles home on August 5, resulting in severe brain injury. Although she was declared legally dead due to the absence of brain activity on Friday, August 12, the late actress was kept on life support so that her organs could be evaluated for donation. In the US, most organ transplants occur after this kind of determination.

Tribute will be paid to Heche with an in-hospital ceremony called the Honor Walk. This happens when, before organs are procured for donation, hospital staff line the pathway from the donor’s room to the operating room in order to pay silent tribute for the life-saving gift.

Heche’s career in film and TV spanned four decades. In 1987, she made her TV debut on the soap opera Another World and won a Daytime Emmy for the role. She began her film career after leaving the show, starring in movies like Donnie Brasco, Wag the Dog, the 1998 Psycho remake, and Six Days Seven Nights. She also directed a segment of a 2000 HBO film If These Walls Could Talk 2. In 2004, Heche appeared on Broadway in Twentieth Century and was nominated for a Tony. Most recently, she returned to TV in series such as The Brave, Quantico, Chicago P.D., and even competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2020.

In her 2001 memoir, Call Me Crazy, Heche disclosed childhood sexual abuse by her father and years of consequent mental illness struggles. In a 2001 interview with Barbara Walters, Heche described her suffering as so extreme that she had to develop a separate personality (imagining herself descended from another planet) in order to cope with the trauma.

“We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend,” Heche’s family said in a statement on Friday. “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.” 

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.

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