Heather Hughes in Mae Wests SEX,  Annex Theatre, 1999
  • Gregory White
  • Heather Hughes in Mae West's 'SEX,' Annex Theatre, 1999

Seattle and the world lost a most dazzling and beloved personage today, when, early this morning, after an extended battle with cancer and one day before her 45th birthday, Heather Artena Hughes passed away.

I got to know Heather during the '90s, when she was the glamorous center of a totally hot-shit fringe theater world I loved. I loved her work with the brilliant Kings Elephant Theatre, loved her work with Annex (see above), and loved her for being a totally gorgeous bombshell of a woman willing to use that totally gorgeous bombshellness in the service of deep, weird, hilarious, brilliant art. (That preceding linked photo is from Belltown's MATCH GAME, taken by Tim Silbaugh, courtesy of Nelson Heston Reilly.) In the Oughts, Heather and I would see each other out and about probably once a year, and it was always like no time had passed—kisses, hugs, hilarity. My thoughts go out to those who had Heather as part of their daily 21st-century lives—her family, dear friends, and beloved son; as you're all probably coming to understand, via the voluminous outpouring of love and affection on Facebook, this city loves the hell out of Heather Hughes. She will be so missed.

For now, here's our lady repping for Seattle in Cameron Crowe's Singles.