New York City, NY

Anne Heche and I Shared an Elevator

Colleen Sheehy Orme

I met actress Anne Heche.

It was a brief but memorable encounter while I was staying at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. Heche was starring on Broadway in the revival of Twentieth Century. I was in the city on vacation and to visit relatives.

My husband and I had ordered drinks when Heche entered the lobby.

"Drink mine," I said while shoving my cabernet towards him.

I walked rapidly in a quietly non-celebrity stalkerish manner towards the elevator. It was no small feat as she was gaining momentum from the entrance while I was lagging behind from the interior.

I had always loved Anne Heche.

In college my roommate got me hooked on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. After graduation, I would still catch it from time to time. Immediately following was a soap opera called Another World. Heche played twins Vicky and Marley and her acting was captivating.

Think Judith Light on One Life to Live.

Heche's performance was that kinda good.

Like many actors, this is where Heche earned her stripes before moving on to film Donnie Brasco, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Six Days, Seven Nights among other films. She also starred in television shows. She is probably best known for the series Men in Trees. It's where she met actor and boyfriend James Tupper (they were together from 2007 to 2018) and he is the father of one of her children, Atlas Tupper. Her oldest son Homer Laffoon is from her marriage (2001-2009) to Coley Laffoon.

Johnny Depp fans might want to check out this trailer for Donnie Brasco and this clip includes Heche. The film debuted in 1997. It stars Depp as an undercover FBI agent who befriends Al Pacino's mafia character to take down the mob. It's based on the real-life story of undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone.

Heche plays Depp's onscreen wife.

Donnie Brasco is worth the watch.

Let's get back to my cabernet sacrifice to meet Heche.

I step into the elevator and realize I don't have my key card. I fumble through my purse just in case. I have no choice. We are on a motionless elevator. It seems we are both staying on concierge-level floors that require the card.

I try to act cool.

I don't let on that I know I'm sharing an elevator with an actress. I just smile like she's one of us. A regular person and I'm not starstruck. And nor have I intentionally raced to the elevator to meet her.

Heche smiles back at me.

She is beautiful and wearing little makeup. There is no pretense about her. She is unassuming and quietly welcoming to the stranger in the elevator.

"No worries," she says. "You can use my card to get to your floor."

I feel the need to confess my crime after her gracious offer. I weigh my options. Do I burden a celebrity with a fan moment? Especially after what was likely a day of rigorous Broadway rehearsals and a subsequent show? Or do I leave a highly recognized individual to simply be kind?

I choose the latter.

It must be exhausting to be a celebrity.

It's the reason I don't announce her identity as I first enter the elevator. I am going to have my own celebrity moment without interrupting her peace.

The elevator begins to move.

I exit and we exchange a few pleasantries. Heche is casually kind. There is nothing forced about it. It is second-hand nature. She conveys herself as genuinely kind-hearted.

The Manhattan elevator ride was years ago and I've since made up for the lost cabernet. But I've never forgotten an inconsequential exchange for one that turned into a huge memory and thrill for another.

I am saddened by the news of Heche's car accident.

I am relieved no one else was injured and pray for her recovery. She has admittedly spoken of a complicated upbringing and personal struggles. This was not the first time it has caught up with her. I'm sure more details will emerge with time.

I have only empathy for a kind woman absent of pretense and hope for the best.

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Colleen Sheehy Orme is a National Relationship Columnist, freelance journalist, and former business columnist. She writes about love, relationships, and self-restoration. She has spent more than a decade in research and counseling on the topics of divorce, relationships, and Narcissistic personality disorder.

Reston, VA
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