Friday 28 January 2011

Mary Ellen Trainor: Queen Of The '80s

Are you making a big, exciting Hollywood movie? Is it the 1980s? In the unlikely event that you answered "Yes" to both questions, then you know what you need? A lucky charm; a talisperson of success; that one elusive ingredient to ensure your film turns out to be a classic for the ages. You need the Queen of the Eighties. You need...
Mary's place in the movie world cannot be underestimated. She blessed so many 1980s films with her apparently incidental but inestimably important characters, either imparting crucial exposition, acting as a pivotal plot device or just being someone who gave birth to Josh Brolin. Let's take a closer look, shall we? No? Your loss.

Romancing The Stone (1984)
Mary's first movie role is as Elaine, kidnapped sister of Kathleen Turner and catalyst for the entire plot. She might be a useless fainting damsel but without her Jack Colton and Joan Wilder would never have met, and for that, the world owes her big. Of course there would also have been no The Jewel Of The Nile, but let's gloss over that for now.

The Goonies (1985)
Without Mrs Walsh there would be no Mikey and no Brand, ergo no Goonies. There would also have been no opportunity for Mouth to warn Rosalita about Mr Walsh's SEXUAL TORTURE DEVICES.

Lethal Weapon (1987)
Is Riggs as mad as a phone box full of badgers? Dr Stephanie Woods certainly thinks so. "I think he's on the edge. I think Riggs has a death wish", she tells Roger Murtaugh on his side-splittingly massive mobile phone. And zingbamboom, now we know he's A COP ON THE EDGE and we JUST DON'T KNOW HOW FAR HE'LL GO to GET RESULTS. Cheers Doc!

Die Hard (1988)
Before introducing Dr Hasseldorf, author of "Hostage Terrorist, Terrorist Hostage: A Study In Duality", newsreader Gail Wallens helpfully fills in the identity of the smooth maniac with the John Phillips suits as none other than Hans Gruber, a terrorist recently expelled from the radical West German Volksfrei movement, whatever that is. I bet she also knows where Helsinki is, unlike that idiot hole Harvey.
Fact! Mary reprised her role as Gail Wallens in Denzel Washington's unmemorable Ricochet. That's the kind of character crossover excitement Marvel can only dream of.

Scrooged (1988)
As unlikely monikered member of the IBC board 'Ted', Mary's job essentially extends to giving Bill Murray a newspaper and telling him he might be overstepping the line with his death-inducing commercials, just in case we didn't realise he was a complete bastard. Hardly vintage Trainor, it has to be said.

Ghostbusters II (1989)
It's five years later. Are the Ghostbusters still in business? Doesn't look like it, as Mell-Tray appears to be hiring them to entertain a party of ten-year-old shits. Five years explained in one scene thanks to one woman. God Mary we love you.

Back To The Future Part II (1989)
A cheeky cameo for Mary as Officer Reese, whose job is to make sure we know the McFlys (McFlies?) have buggered up their future by living in Hilldale, "nothing but a breeding ground for tranks, lobos and zipheads".
More fact! The reason Mary bookended her 1980s with two great Robert Zemeckis films may be because she was none other than Mrs Robert Zemeckis. Which is surprising because I thought she must have been having it off with Richard Donner what with being in six of his films and all. Shows what I know.

Mary also performed almost-certainly-essential roles in Monster Squad and Action Jackson, but I haven't seen either of them. I'm not a machine you know.


  1. I would not have been able to name Mary Ellen Trainor but seeing her photo I realise that she is part of the Hollywood furniture. I guess that there are bit part actors who get more regular work and showbiz rewards than some A list stars without the hassle of fending off the paparazzi and gossip columns.

  2. Wow, I remember Monster Squad! Well, that is I remember I've seen it! Or perhaps I just remember the name! Sorry, what? Is Mary's face actually a plastic mask?

  3. I always used to think of her as some kind of omnipresent puppet master, sneaking into movies at will, but your "guardian angel" angle is much more optimistic.

  4. When I looked through the pics, I felt like that reveal moment in The Rules In Attraction when they show the stills of the girl committing suicide, where she was at in certain scenes of the movie.

  5. anyone ever seen pics of this woman naked? i was wondering if she is a blonde downstairs and if she has ever showed that luscious beaver or boobs

  6. maybe she got the work because her husband is Robert Zemekis.I think so..

  7. I loved her in Back to the Future Part II. She was one sexy futuristic cop!

  8. Her greatest performance was the lead in the Tales From The Crypt episode, "And All Through The House". Hilarious, campy and totally over the top. Of course it was directed by Robert Zemeckis.

  9. I always thought she was cute

  10. I always thought she was cute too RIP