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Anne Heche was working on finishing her new memoir, Call Me Anne, when she died in a car accident in August at age 53 — a headline-grabbing tragedy that led to questions about the quirky actress’s state of mind, drug habits and more. Although the book doesn’t provide any answers to what happened that day, it does reveal Heche’s joyful spirit, despite having had her share of pain and trauma.
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A few more notable points from Call Me Anne:
She tried hard to be a good girl…
Heche writes that “My mother’s favorite (and only) story about me as a girl is that I spent so much time cleaning toilets at home that when I was lucky enough to be in a restaurant, I’d clean the sinks in the bathroom as perfectly as I did at home,” for the benefit of the next customer. “I always did everything I was asked to do, to the best of my ability. In my childhood, it meant my survival.”
… but her childhood was a nightmare
“I am a white-trash girl from Ohio who was raised in Atlantic City, with one book on our shelves: the Bible,” she notes. She alludes to her parents’ participation in a “sex cult,” and the sexual abuse she experienced, including from her father (she delved more deeply into this trauma in her first memoir, 2001’s Call Me Crazy). “My childhood memories include being locked in dark places, met with masked men and women in shadow so as to not be able to identify the abusers.”
She was ‘discovered’ while performing in a high school play
Her family had just moved to Chicago, and Heche was enrolled on a full scholarship in a prestigious prep school, Francis Parker, whose alums include Jennifer Beals and Daryl Hannah. One night when Heche was in 10th grade, a casting director looking to fill a part on the soap opera As the World Turns stopped by the school (aware of those alumnae) to see the evening’s performance: Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth, with Heche playing the leading role of Sabina.