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Anne Heche: She didn't let herself be pigeonholed


She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress -- and Worst -- for her role as Marion Crane in Psycho. That suits Anne Heche. Now she has died as a result of a car accident.

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Anne Heche in September 2020: The traumas of her childhood


Rich Fury/Getty Images

It takes a certain amount of courage to do something like that.

38 years after Hitchcock made his most successful film with »Psycho« and staged Janet Leigh as the eternal prototype of the female, blonde, naked victim of male violence, Anne Heche took on the same role in Gus Van Sant's 1998 remake.

Her Marion Crane is very different from the anxious, emotional female character Leigh played.

When Marion is shown in the opening scene of the film having a secret tête-à-tête with her lover, Hitchcock makes her appear desperate.

"Let's get married," she begs Sam, "with terrible urgency," according to the script.

"And live with me in the back of a convenience store in Fairvale?" replies the cash-strapped, still-married man sarcastically.

"That will be funny.

If I send my ex her money, you can lick the stamps.” “I lick the stamps,” Marion replies to Hitchcock, submissively.

Anne Heches Marion, on the other hand, plays confidently with her Sam (Viggo Mortensen).

Gus Van Sant lets the actor be naked for the stamp dialogue.

As Sam turns to her, she lets her eyes wander over his toned full frontal nudity.

Her replica "I'll lick the stamps" takes on a completely different connotation: Here, an intrepid lover teases her lover and displays self-determined lust.

A confident freethinker

Anne Heche's Marion is a self-confident freethinker - despite the retro aesthetic of the costume designed by Gus Van Sant with bright 50s colors.

A slim woman with a pixie cut and a cheeky, infectious smile who moves »outside the box«.

For this work, she was nominated for Best Supporting Role at the Saturn Awards and for Worst Supporting Role at the Golden Rasberry Awards.

That fits.

Because Anne Heche did not allow herself to be pigeonholed.

She had to fight her way out early on: she was born in 1969 as the youngest of five siblings in a small town in Ohio.

Her strongly religious family had financial difficulties, moved frequently and sometimes lived in a small guest room with church friends.

Heche's father was a priest - and, according to Heche's 2001 autobiography, sexually abused his daughter for years.

After he died in 1983 at the age of 45 as an early AIDS victim as a result of HIV, his family discovered his double life.

Shortly thereafter, Heche's older brother was killed in a car accident, which Heche later claimed was suicide.

At 16, Heche was discovered by an agent at a school play - and against her mother's wishes, she decided to start a new life as an actress.

She reinvented herself.

And she never seemed to be able to completely leave the trauma of her childhood behind.

After a plethora of television roles and feature films - including Nicole Holofcener's smashing 1996 independent women's friendship drama Walking and Talking and Barry Levinson's shrewd political satire Wag the Dog, starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert de Niro - she was cast in 1998 as a classic, young, blonde love interest alongside Harrison Ford, 25 years his senior, in the adventure film »Six Days, Seven Nights«.

"I had no idea how severely people are discriminated against"

Shortly thereafter, her relationship with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres became known.

At a large demonstration for the rights of queer people in Washington in 2000, Heche tells the audience how difficult it is to live as an openly homosexual woman in the USA, which is still restrictive in this respect.

"I had no idea how much discrimination there is until I experienced it myself," she said.

After her coming out, she was told her career was over.

"We must not accept injustice," she declared, visibly moved.

»You are all worthy of being loved!«

DeGeneres had recently spoken of the fact that her partner was struggling professionally – she hadn't received any lead role offers for three years.

Because a lesbian or - even more incomprehensible for conservative Hollywood structures - bisexual woman was not accepted in the conservative studio world, which was even more deadlocked at the time.

In the summer of 2000, her relationship with DeGeneres ended in a spectacular, media-glared nervous breakdown.

She then had male partners again, having a son in 2001 with her then-husband, a cameraman, and a second son in 2009 with a fellow actor.

Her end resembled her difficult life

Heche appeared mostly in independent productions during the 2000s, made her Broadway debut at 33, and had a recurring role in the fourth season of Ally McBeal.

She played more or less second-rate but in some interesting roles through the 2010s, becoming a cast member on the long-running police series Chicago PD in 2018 and starring in 2020's Dancing with Stars.

Her end resembled her difficult life in its monstrosity: On August 5, she – allegedly under the influence of narcotics – first rammed her car into a garage in the »Mar Vista« district of Los Angeles and then crashed into a house.

The car burned out, Heche was taken to the hospital and fell into a coma.

On August 12, she was declared brain dead, her organs were donated according to her wishes.

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-08-13

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