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Emmy-winning actor Anne Heche sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident and is dead at 53 after time spent on life support. Heche became well-known for roles in films such as Donnie Brasco, Volcano, and Six Days, Seven Nights.

Anne Heche, pictured in 2020, sustained a traumatic brain injury and was declared dead.
Anne Heche | Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Mammoth Media Institute

Anne Heche sustained a brain injury on Aug. 5, 2022

Heche was in a catastrophic car accident, during which witnesses say she drove nearly the whole way through a house, on Aug. 5, 2022. She was trapped inside her vehicle, which quickly caught fire.

A witness told People that someone was able to get into the back of the car to speak to the former Dancing With the Stars contestant. “She responded that she wasn’t doing real well,” they said.

The witness noted that someone on the scene was able to speak with the actor, and she was conscious while they waited for emergency responders. “… He asked her to raise her hand or something … if she was OK,” they recalled, “and she said she couldn’t.”

Unfortunately, they could not free Heche from the car because they couldn’t see or breathe due to smoke from the fire, and she remained trapped as the Los Angeles Fire Department worked for more than an hour to free her (per PEOPLE).

Anne Heche died at 53 on Aug. 12, 2022

On Aug. 12, 2022, a rep confirmed to TMZ that Heche was “brain dead.” Under California law, brain dead meets the definition of death. She sustained brain damage caused by a prolonged lack of oxygen, and she didn’t regain consciousness.

“Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition,” her rep said in a statement. The rep also added that doctors did not expect the actor to survive. That announcement was shared by People the day before her death.

Heche wished to donate her organs and, at that point, was being “kept on life support to determine if any [were] viable.” On Aug. 14, Heche’s family confirmed she was taken off life support.

Anne Heche’s career in entertainment included films, TV, and Broadway


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Heche was born in Aurora, Ohio, on May 25, 1969. After seeing her as a 16-year-old in a school play, a talent agent got her an audition for the soap opera As the World Turns. However, her mother refused to let her accept the role until she finished high school.

In 1987, Heche finally got her start in the soap opera Another World. She won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series in 1991.

Heche made her feature film debut in 1993’s The Adventures of Huck Finn. In 1997, she played Johnny Depp’s wife in the drama Donnie Brasco. She went on to play supporting roles in mainstream films such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, Volcano, and Wag the Dog.

Heche claimed her relationship with comedian Ellen DeGeneres hurt her career in the late ‘90s, though her first starring role was opposite Harrison Ford in the 1998 action-comedy Six Days, Seven Nights. Beginning in the 2000s, Heche appeared in more television roles, independent films, and Broadway. Her credits include Ally McBeal, Proof, Birth, Everwood, and Chicago, P.D.

The actor also had a recurring role in the upcoming HBO series The Idol starring Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd. Her film Supercell, co-starring Alec Baldwin, is in post-production, while the Lifetime film Girl in Room 13 is set for September release.