Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Goonies Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

When a movie achieves cult classic status, it feels like it could live on forever. And it hardly seems possible any significant period of time could have passed since its release. Take "The Goonies," for example, that timeless tale of Mikey (Sean Astin), Brand (Josh Brolin), Data (Jonathan Ke Huy Quan), Mouth (Corey Feldman), and Chunk (Jeff Cohen) and their quest to find One-Eyed Willy's long-lost treasure and save their homes in the "Goon Docks." It's difficult to believe the film came out more than three decades ago, in 1985. If that were true, wouldn't it mean the cast — and we along with them — actually aged?

Alas, it's true, and even worse, some of our favorite stars from the movie have passed away in the years since its debut in theaters. The deaths of these amazing actors took place years ago, yet some of them may surprise even the most diehard "Goonies" fans.

Anne Ramsey scared us all as Mama Fratelli

Remember scary old Mama Fratelli in "The Goonies"? That was Anne Ramsey, whose performance was so strong, it actually terrified her fellow castmates. After a lifetime in entertainment, her role in the film made her famous. She went on to play the titular Momma in Danny DeVito's "Throw Momma From the Train."

Throughout both films, however, Ramsey was struggling, per Film Stories. While on the "Goonies" set, she had to work hard to ignore a chronic sore throat and a lump she discovered. Soon after the film wrapped, she was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery that left her with shoulder pain, slurred speech, and some slight, uncontrollable drooling.

Throwing everything she had into her "Throw Momma From the Train" performance (including her new disabilities), she earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards in 1987. "When I came home from the hospital, I was so grateful to be alive," she told People Magazine. "And I've always prayed to be recognized. But I never would have guessed that it would come at a time in my life like this."

Ramsey made a few more movies, including "Scrooged" with Bill Murray in 1988, before succumbing to cancer that same year at age 59, a late-blooming talent lost much too soon.

John Matuszak fit the role of Sloth perfectly

Sloth is as fearsome as he is unforgettable when he shows his face in "The Goonies" and reveals himself as a true friend to the film's heroic crew. In order to play the role, John Matuszak spent hours in the makeup chair until he was transformed from a handsome NFL champion to his best-known on-camera character.

Before joining the "Goonies" cast, Matuszak played professional football for the Houston Oilers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders. He retired in 1981 due to back pain, turned to acting, and was the perfect fit (6-foot-8-inches, 285 pounds, via NFL) for the role of Sloth.

Early in his athletic career, Matuszak battled addiction, vowing in 1987, after a stint in rehab, to remain sober from that point forward. That's easier said than done, however, and he died in 1989 as the result of an accidental overdose of prescription medication he was likely taking for his back pain (via The New York Times). Just 38 years old at the time of his death, Matuszak is missed. He surely had much more to offer to the world.

Mary Ellen Trainor was amazing as mom Irene Walsh

Mary Ellen Trainor was already a star by the time she played Irene Walsh, mother of Mikey and Brand in "The Goonies." Her breakout role came in 1984's "Romancing the Stone," and she went on to appear in many more films the world would never forget, including 1988's "Die Hard" and "Scrooged," 1989's "Ghostbusters II," and 1994's "Forrest Gump." But she always had fond memories of her time with the "Goonies" kids. "It was nothing short of a blast," she told Red Carpet News TV. "On and off the screen, they all fell in love with each other and that just made it like one big family."

Sadly, Trainor died of complications of pancreatic cancer in 2015. At age 62, she was still too young to meet such an untimely end. With her numerous films, she left a legacy of work we can watch over and over for years to come.

Lupe Ontiveros really saved the day

Lupe Ontiveros played the Walshs' housekeeper Rosalita in "The Goonies," and she's ultimately the one who discovers that Mikey's marble bag still contains plenty of gems, allowing them to save their house from foreclosure. 

She acted consistently since the 1970s, appearing in a wide range of films and TV series from "Charlie's Angels" to "Cheech & Chong's Next Movie." In addition to "The Goonies," she's also well-known for her role in 1997's "Selena," and she was nominated for an Emmy for her work on "Desperate Housewives."

She made a career of typically playing maid characters, but she sought to dismantle stereotypes surrounding those types of roles. She told NPR in 2009, "You got maids that have longevity beyond what you ever conceived of in your wildest dreams. I'll give you an example — The Goonies. Those that got hooked — I have a whole following of 30-year-olds who got hooked. Oh my gosh, I'm a heroine to them." Ontiveros died in 2012 from liver cancer at the age of 69.