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Mary Ellen Trainor, an actress who appeared in all four Lethal Weapon films and in several movies directed by her then-husband, Oscar winner Robert Zemeckis, has died. She was 62.
Trainor, who also stood out as homemaker Mrs. Walsh in The Goonies (1985), died May 20 of complications from pancreatic cancer at her home in Montecito, Calif., according to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, her lifelong friend and fellow San Diego State alumna.
Trainor married Zemeckis in 1980 and made her big-screen debut, at the suggestion of Michael Douglas, in the pivotal role of Elaine, the kidnapped sister of Kathleen Turner’s character, in the director’s Romancing the Stone (1984). She and her husband later collaborated on Back to the Future Part II (1989), Death Becomes Her (1992) and the Oscar best picture winner Forrest Gump (1994) before they divorced in 2000.
Trainor portrayed Los Angeles police psychiatrist Dr. Stephanie Woods in the quartet of Lethal Weapon films and teamed with director Richard Donner on The Goonies and Scrooged (1988) as well.
Asked in a 2013 interview what she remembered most about working on Goonies, she said, “The shenanigans of the kids [Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, Josh Brolin, Jonathan Ke Quan, et al]. They all fell in love with each other. And Dick Donner encouraged that.”
She played TV news reader Gail Wallens in Die Hard (1988) and appeared in such other films as Ghostbusters II (1989), Action Jackson (1988), Grand Canyon (1991), Little Giants (1994), Congo (1995), Executive Decision (1996), Amy’s Orgasm (2001), Moonlight Mile (2002) and Freaky Friday (2003).
On television, Trainor had regular roles on the Fox sitcom Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, the ABC drama Relativity and the UPN-WB drama Roswell.
Known affectionately as “Mare” to her family and friends, she was born in San Francisco and attended San Diego State, where she studied broadcast journalism (and met Kennedy). Trainor landed a job as an on-air personality for radio station KSDO, then worked as a station editor at KCBS-TV and as a production assistant in Los Angeles. She then served as an assistant to the producer on Steven Spielberg‘s 1941, written by her future husband.
Survivors include her son, Alex, and his girlfriend, Kat; her mother, Jane; and siblings Ned, Jack, Barbara and Carolyn.
A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. on June 19 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Montecito.
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