A Tribute to Mary Ellen Trainor (1950-2015)

Sometimes, a character actor will spend their entire career steadily working in small supporting roles without receiving much recognition. But when they’re gone, you look at their filmography and realize: “Wow, they acted in a TON of classic movies”. Such is the case with actress Mary Ellen Trainor, who tragically passed away of pancreatic cancer on June 8, 2015 at the age of 64. You might not recognize Trainor’s name, but you’ll probably recognize her face since she seemingly appeared in EVERYTHING during the 1980s. Trainor was married to Robert Zemeckis for 20 years and had her breakthrough role as Kathleen Turner’s kidnapped sister in Zemeckis’ Romancing the Stone and would also make appearances in some of her husband’s other films, including Back to the Future Part II, Death Becomes Her and Forrest Gump. Other notable roles that Trainor played in classic films include anchorwoman Gail Wallens in Die Hard (a character who later would make a crossover appearance in the Denzel Washington action film, Ricochet), the mother who hires Ray and Winston to perform at the birthday party in Ghostbusters II, and Sean’s mother in The Monster Squad.

Trainor also happened to be a particular favourite of director Richard Donner, who cast her as the police psychologist in all four Lethal Weapon movies, a network executive in Scrooged, and provided her with what is probably her most well-known role as Mikey and Brand’s mother in The Goonies. Enjoy reliving this scene where she asks Mouth to translate her instructions into Spanish and unknowingly allows Corey Feldman to foreshadow his later descent into drugs. R.I.P.

This entry was posted in Movies. Bookmark the permalink.