Lynne Marta, who played a pivotal supporting role in the breakout hit “Footloose” and consistently made her mark in Hollywood over the years, has passed away after a private battle with brain cancer. She was 78.
A longtime friend to Marta informed the Hollywood Reporter that the actress died peacefully on Thursday in her Los Angeles home. A representative did not confirm the details of her death when contacted by the New York Post.
Marta, who played the aunt to Kevin Bacon’s Ren in the 1984 musical drama, held her own on the big screen as a supporting character who conveyed warmth and support to her nephew as he fights to loosen up his hometown after dancing is outlawed. The film became an overnight sensation and box office success on its way to earning multiple nods for the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and a Grammy for Best Original Song.
The big break for Marta came almost 20 years into her career. From her beginnings in Somerville, New Jersey, she earned her first screen credit in an episode of the TV comedy “Gidget” before taking regular roles on “Love, American Style” and the Lloyd Saxton Show. Marta honed her craft to become a reliable supporting character in other high-profile roles for shows including The F.B.I., Cannon, Medical Center, The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, Trapper John, M.D., and Vega$. Her seemingly endless well of supporting roles also led to work with several high-profile shows such as Gunsmoke, Kojak, Knight Rider, and Law & Order. She retired from acting in 2004 after making a final appearance in an episode of “American Dreams”.
During the 1970s, Marta took multiple roles on the classic detective series Starsky & Hutch alongside David Soul, who also passed away last week. In 1983 she confided to People Magazine that she and Soul carried on an “open relationship” with the lead actor while seeing other people.
In 1989, Marta came forward as a witness who heard the murder of fellow actress Rebecca Schaeffer by an obsessed fan. She retold the chilling sale of hearing Schaeffer, who lived in the apartment next door, screaming for her life that night.
“The door shook, the wall shook,” she told Los Angeles Times. “The cat went up into the air. I fell to my knees and crawled into the bedroom. Then, I heard Rebecca’s first scream.
“She was still screaming while I was talking to 911,” she continued. “By the time I got to the door, she was wailing. I opened the small hatch in my door. There was a smell I’ll never forget: the smell of gunfire. It was quiet except for light moaning.”
Marta was born in 1945, the youngest of two daughters to her father George, who was at the time the commissioner of air and water pollution for the State of New Jersey. She is survived by her older sister MJ and her cat, Mr. Peaches.