Anne Heche died on August 12, 2022. An actor at her age suddenly dying was already shocking enough to the public. But the details that led to her death (including a horrific car accident and frantic rumors about drug use) made everyone wonder what really happened.
What were the details of Anne Heche’s fatal crash? What was her real cause of death? What did her former girlfriend Ellen Degeneres have to say about her demise? And what was Anne Heche’s final photo, taken hours before her crash? We break it all down here.
Details about Anne Heche’s fatal car accident
The final week of Anne Heche’s life began on August 5. That was when she crashed her car into a home in Mar Vista. The spectacular crash did more than damage Heche’s car…it also set fire to the home she crashed into.
It took almost 60 firefighters to put out that particular blaze. Pretty much everyone nearby expected that the driver (later identified as Heche) had died in the crash. As local resident (and first person on the scene) David Manpearl told the New York Post, “I was convinced she was burned up and gone. I couldn’t imagine anyone surviving that.”
For better or for worse. Heche did survive…at first. She was placed on a ventilator and died one week later. What, though, was her actual cause of death?
What was Anne Heche’s real cause of death?
As People reports, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner Anne Heche eventually ruled that Heche’s death was an accident. And the cause of death was a “sternal fracture due to blunt trauma.” This most likely happened when she hit her steering wheel during the crash.
Accidental or not, Heche’s accident and death are both genuine tragedies. And they may have been preventable tragedies: according to the New York Post, the actor was allegedly under the influence of cocaine and may have also been under the influence of fentanyl.
However, there are a couple of silver linings. First, miraculously, nobody else was hurt or killed in the accident, including the people and pets living in the house that Heche crashed into. Second, People reports that Heche’s body (she never recovered consciousness) was able to help at least one person with a much-needed organ donation.
Anne Heche was once blacklisted from Hollywood
Unfortunately, it took Anne Heche dying for the actress to dominate the headlines once more. Why haven’t we heard more about her before now? According to Heche herself, it’s because she was blacklisted from Hollywood.
Back in 1997, Anne Heche began dating Ellen Degeneres. Both of them experienced major fallout due to social pushback against their same-sex relationship (keep in mind that the 1990s was a far less tolerant time). And this came to a head when they tried to attend the premiere of Volcano, a movie that Heche starred in.
In an interview, Heche told Mr. Warburton Magazine that “I was told by Fox Studio executives that if I brought Ellen to the premiere, my contract would be terminated. I brought Ellen despite those threats, and we were escorted out of the theater before the lights came on by security and not allowed to attend the premiere party because they did not want any photos of us together.”
It would be one thing if this was limited to just that one event or even just that one studio. However, she told Page Six that she was blacklisted from Hollywood in a way that costs her plenty of money as well as cultural capital. “I didn’t do a studio picture for ten years. I was fired from a $10 million picture deal and did not see the light of day in a studio picture.” In a bit of grim irony, she looked back on these events and dubbed herself “patient zero in cancel culture.”
What Ellen Degeneres said about Anne Heche’s death
It’s almost impossible to talk about Anne Heche without talking about Ellen. Their relationship became one of the major cultural touchstones of the 1990s. It dramatically shaped both of their careers and arguably helped speed up the nation’s slow journey toward marriage equality.
With that in mind, what did Ellen say about Heche’s death? As Decider reports, Ellen opted for a slow and respectful message via Twitter. “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love,” she wrote.
That may sound short and simple regarding the death of someone once so important to her. However, as Ellen previously pointed out, the two had not stayed in touch and were effectively out of each other’s lives at the time of Heche’s death.
Harrison Ford helped save Anne Heche’s career
During those dark years of being blacklisted, there were still a few bright spots for Anne Heche. One bright spot was starring in the movie Six Days, Seven Nights alongside Harrison Ford. And she credits her casting in that movie directly to Ford himself.
Ford got it in his head that she would be the perfect female lead and he wasn’t willing to let it go. In the interview with Mr. Warburton Magazine, she alleged that he called her on the phone with a simple proposal: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn who you are f*cking. Let’s make the best romantic comedy anyone has ever seen!”
She ended up getting the role and later made it clear that Ford had stuck his neck out for her. As Heche told Entertainment Tonight, “He called me the day after they said I wasn’t gonna get it because I took Ellen to the [Volcano] premiere, and Harrison Ford, he was a hero.”
Anne Heche’s net worth when she died
Relative to many Hollywood actors, Anne Heche came from very humble beginnings.
In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, she summed up early life with her family: “We were poor, but we said we were rich. We were falling apart, but we said we were good Christians. We had a father who lived a double life, but we pretended that we were absolutely fine. We lived on the streets but said we didn’t. Everything we did was a lie. Denial, denial, denial.”
It’s cold comfort, but when Heche died, saying she was rich was no longer a lie. According to Celebrity Net Worth, she was worth approximately $4 million when she died.
This may be the last photo of Anne Heche
Tragically, everything seemed fine just hours before Anne Heche’s fatal car crash. In fact, Heche was spotted shopping around Los Angeles just hours before the crash. She even stopped to pose for this photograph at a shop called Glass Hair Design where she bought a red wig.
Sadly, this may indeed be the last photograph Anne Heche ever took. But it stands as a final tribute to her, taking the time to take a photograph for a fan.