Vanessa Marquez, an actress best known for her recurring role as Nurse Wendy Goldman on the first three seasons of ER, has died. Marquez was shot and killed by South Pasadena police officers yesterday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 49.
An aspiring child actress born in Los Angeles, California, Marquez made her film debut in the 1988 classroom drama Stand And Deliver opposite Lou Diamond Phillips and Edward James Olmos. A series of small roles in independent films and one-off TV roles followed, before Marquez scored a recurring role on ER. She later accused co-star George Clooney of helping to “blacklist” her after she spoke out about sexual misconduct on the set of the hit hospital drama. (Clooney has denied any involvement in a blacklist.)
Aside from a three-episode arc on the Malcom-Jamal Warner and Eddie Griffith sitcom Malcom & Eddie, Marquez’s post-ER roles were scarce. She appeared on an episode of A&E’s Intervention in 2005, seeking help for a shopping addiction amid growing mental health issues. Unfortunately, she appears to have suffered from those same illnesses up until her death yesterday afternoon.
Around noon PT yesterday, police were dispatched to Marquez’s apartment for a welfare check. When they arrived, they found Marquez in obvious distress and suffering seizures, which led to additional medical personnel being called to the scene. A Los Angeles County Mental Health official spoke with Marquez for about 90 minutes, after which time she retrieved a BB gun from somewhere in her home. Upon seeing the BB gun, police opened fire, shooting Marquez in the torso; she was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department says it is assisting in an investigation into Marquez’s death. The South Pasadena police department was already under scrutiny for a similar incident in June 2017, where a man with a toy gun was shot and killed by multiple police officers.