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In November 1991, Heche made her primetime television debut in an episode of Murphy Brown.
She made her TV-movie debut the following year with a brief appearance in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of O Pioneers! In 1993, Heche made her feature-film debut in Disney's The Adventures of Huck Finn with Elijah Wood.
The disaster film Volcano, about the formation of a volcano in Los Angeles, had her star with Tommy Lee Jones and Gaby Hoffmann, playing a seismologist.
While critical response towards the film was mixed, it grossed US2 million at the international box office.
Over the next two years, she had small supporting roles in made-for-TV movies such as Girls in Prison (1994) and Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. She also appeared in the straight-to-video erotic thriller Wild Side (1995) as Joan Chen's lesbian lover.
When asked in a 2001 interview on Larry King Live what her father's source of income was, Heche replied, "Well, he was a choir director. He said that he was involved in a business of gas and oil. But he never was involved in the business of gas and oil ever." On March 3, 1983, when Heche was 13, her 45-year-old father died of AIDS, although he never came out as a homosexual. "But I got on the phone and said, 'Send me the ticket. ' I did my time with my mom in a one-bedroom, skanky apartment and I was done." For her work on Another World, Heche received a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series in 1991.She had been cast in the film one day before her same-sex relationship with Ellen De Generes went public.Although Heche was cast in a second starring role shortly thereafter as Vince Vaughn's love interest in the acclaimed drama Return to Paradise (1998), she felt that the romance with De Generes destroyed her prospects as a leading woman.A highly publicized relationship with comedian Ellen De Generes was followed by a significant downturn in Heche's career, although she has continued to act in numerous independent films such as Birth (2004), Spread (2009), Cedar Rapids (2011), and Rampart (2011). He was a very promiscuous man, and we knew his lifestyle then," Heche said on Larry King Live. ", in a 2001 interview with The Advocate, Heche replied "I don't think he was just a gay man. My belief was that my father was gay and he had to cover that up. The more he couldn't be who he was, the more that came out of him in ways that it did." The remainder of Heche's family subsequently moved to Chicago, where Heche attended the progressive Francis W. In 1985, when Heche was 16, an agent spotted her in a school play and secured her an audition for the daytime soap opera As the World Turns.In 2004, Heche received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the Lifetime movie Gracie's Choice, and a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play for her work in Broadway's Twentieth Century. Heche flew to New York City, auditioned, and was offered a job, but her mother insisted she finish high school first.
Heche starred in Gus Van Sant's Psycho (1998), a remake of the 1960 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.