Lynne Marta Dies: Prolific ‘Love, American Style’ & ‘Footloose’ Actor Was 78

Lynne Marta, an actor who maintained a steady and prolific TV and film career for nearly 40 years best known for roles on Love, American Style and the 1984 film Footloose, died of cancer in Los Angeles January 11. She was 78.

Calling Marta “a beautiful light,” the actor’s friend Joan Sobel wrote on Facebook, “My friend, Lynne Marta lost her good fight. A wonderfully talented actress and a beautiful singer whose voice was of the angels. A dear heart who adored her friends both human and furry. I will miss her terribly.”

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Born on October 30, 1945, in Somerville, NJ, Marta began her TV career in 1966 with appearances on Gidget and The Monkees, and relatively few years went by without a film or TV credit through her 2004 role in an episode of the NBC drama series American Dreams. She appeared in 24 episodes of the soap Days of Our Lives between 1983 and 2003.

A steady presence on episodic television of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, Marta guested on such shows as, among many others, Then Came Bronson, Dan August, Cannon, Mod Squad, The Rookies, The F.B.I., Gunsmoke, Marcus Welby, M.D., Kojak, The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, ChiPs, Matt Houston, Designing Women, Law & Order, The Young and the Restless, Crossing Jordan and ER.

She appeared in four episodes of Starsky and Hutch, which starred David Soul, her romantic companion throughout most of the cop drama’s 1975-79 run.

RELATED: David Soul Dies: ‘Starsky & Hutch’ Star Was 80

As one of the Love, American Style Players — the group of regulars who appeared in short, interstitial skits between the main segments of the 1969-74 comedy anthology series — Marta was already familiar to TV audiences when she landed a featured role in the 1972 Clint Eastwood Western Joe Kidd.

The Eastwood film would stand as a high point in her big-screen career until 1984, when she was cast as the aunt of Kevin Bacon’s main character in Herbert Ross’ smash hit Footloose. Though a small role, Marta’s Aunt Lulu Warnicker was a gossip-mongering standout.

Five years after Footloose, Marta became a part of Hollywood history under horrific circumstances: She was a neighbor and friend of Rebecca Schaeffer, the My Sister Sam actor fatally shot by a stalker. Living on the same floor of the West Hollywood apartment complex where the 21-year-old Schaeffer was murdered, Marta testified against the killer in court, providing vivid eyewitness testimony. In testimony that helped put the killer away for life, Marta was quoted in a Los Angeles Times account of the trial as saying, “The door shook, the wall shook. 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.”

Marta is survived by a sister.

Deadline’s sister publication The Hollywood Reporter was first to report Marta’s death.

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