anne heche memories
Credit: John Paschal/JPI, ABC, NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Friends and castmates recall a very different person than the one often depicted in larger-than-life headlines.

In the wake of Anne Heche’s passing on August 12, under utterly horrific circumstances, those who knew her have come forward to share their memories of the actress, who played Vicky and Marley Hudson on Another World before going on to star in movies and primetime series. General Hospital leading lady Finola Hughes (Anna), who met Heche at a fundraiser a couple of years ago, recalled her being “smart and insightful, and so full of life.”

Prior to winning an Emmy for General Hospital — or even being cast on Loving — Rena Sofer (now Bold & Beautiful pot stirrer Quinn) tried out for the role of Amanda Cory on Another World alongside Heche, who was back then just “another 18-year-old newbie and Sandra Ferguson. We all three were fortunate enough to land roles on the show. Sandy got the job we were up for, and I got a small recurring role, but Anne,” she Instagrammed, “shined so brightly, she got a double role…

More: Rena Sofer and more stars’ first roles [PHOTOS]

“She obviously went on to do such great things both in her career and in her life. I would bet her greatest achievement was being a mom to her two sons,” she continued. “I was not friends with Anne, but I remember watching her work and being in awe of her talent. It always struck me that we started at pretty much the exact same time in the same way, and I never forgot that. My heart goes out to her family and friends but especially to her sons. My heart breaks for them.”

Ferguson — now Sandra Robinson — shared on Facebook that “I remember being in awe of [Heche] because she seemed fearless in her choices, both in her work and in her life. I was the opposite. It took me years of learning to be kind to myself, and understanding that Fear is in everyone, and it serves a valuable purpose of keeping us safe. It is our decision just how much influence we give this part of ourselves called Fear.

“Getting ‘rid’ of it, like as in stage fright, is impossible, but respectfully controlling it can be mastered,” she added. “I lost touch with Anne many years ago. I realize now she wasn’t fearless. No one actually is. Her ability to not let Fear stand in her way gave us the opportunity to enjoy full expression of her talent in every role she took. She was great at her craft.”

Few and far between are the Another World alumni who worked more intimately with Heche than Russell Todd, aka Jamie Frame. “I’m incredibly saddened and pained by this tragedy,” he said. “Annie was my ex-wife and girlfriend on [the show] for a year and a half… We worked together almost every day, sharing laughs, love scenes, preposterous stories, long hours, drama and triumphs, including a remote shoot we did in Nice, France, where our characters fell in love.

“She was a force of nature. A beautiful and wonderfully talented actress. She was a guide and mentor to me, always there with advice and support,” he went on. “God bless you, Annie. I am eternally grateful for our time together and will never forget your talent, devilish smile, indomitable spirit and endless energy. Godspeed, my friend. My condolences as well to the family and friends.”

Glee grad Dot-Marie Jones worked with Heche on her primetime series Men in Trees, which ran from 2006-08 on ABC. “I didn’t know her well but… she was lovely,” Jones said. “Rest easy, sweet girl.”

Emily Bergl was a regular on Men in Trees and offered up what may be the loveliest and most thoughtful remembrance of Heche. “‘You worked with crazy Anne Heche?’ ‘So how crazy was she?’ ‘Was it a nightmare working with crazy Anne Heche?’… This line of questioning was usually the first out of people’s mouths when they heard I had worked with her,” began Bergl. “She elicited more curiosity than any other famous person I’ve ever worked with. The other celebrities I’d known, mostly men, would garner only a ‘So what’s he like?’ Some of these men had their own public moments of struggle, but these breakdowns never defined them.

“The only question I possibly heard more,” she added, “was about my time on Desperate Housewives. Everyone wanted to hear ‘what bitches all those girls were.’”

MEN IN TREES, Emily Bergl, Anne Heche, 'Pilot', (Season 1), 2006-08, photo: Jeff Petry / © Warner Bros. Television / Courtesy Everett Collection

That’s Bergl and Heche in action above.

Credit: Warner Bros./Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Bergl was as dazzled by Heche as any of us in the audience. “Anne was not only a genius but one of the most astoundingly focused and prepared actors I’ve ever worked with,” she said. “I don’t think I ever saw her miss stepping on her mark once. I imagine she may have called for her line once or twice, as she was the lead of Men in Trees and worked at least 12 hours most days, but I can’t recall her ever needing it. I asked her what her secret was, and she told me her first job was playing twins on Another World, so she had to memorize up to 70 pages of dialogue a day — as if that was something anyone could do. If you look up her scenes, you can’t find one false note from her performance in a soap opera.

“The only joke I did make about Anne was that it’s likely she didn’t have a psychotic break but really was an alien, because her strength seemed superhuman,” she hastened to add. “She would work for 12 hours, invite everyone to the bar, really listen to us, bring joy, drink a couple of doubles and be back at work at 4 a.m. As I would roll in feeling barely human, she would walk into the makeup trailer, always on time, with a smile on her face for everybody, her face luminous without a lick of makeup. She would greet everyone with a hug, tell us how beautiful we all were, and bring a sense of excitement for the day ahead. All day, scene after scene, her work would be technically flawless and yet always remained spontaneous. I don’t think she was capable of phoning it in. And then she would do it all again the next day.”

More: Another World’s Robyn Griggs dead at 49

Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Heche, premiere "If These Walls Could Talk 2", 2/28/00, by CJ Contino

DeGeneres and Heche in 2000…

Credit: Carolyn J. Contino/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

You can read Bergl’s tribute in full above. She sounds as amazing in person as she always seemed on screen. The one time I interviewed her, shortly after she’d left Another World and begun making inroads in primetime, she was utterly delightful. So, as former partner Ellen DeGeneres tweeted, “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”

Pay your respects to more of the daytime alumni 2022 has taken from us in the photo gallery below.

Video: YouTube/FebWriter