An electromagnetic door lock assembly (30) includes a first portion (32) supported relative to hoistway doors (22) and a second portion (34) supported for movement with an elevator car (24). The first and second portions cooperate so that electromagnetic interaction between them unlocks a set of hoistway doors (22) for access to the car (24), for example. In disclosed embodiments, a first portion (32) of the actuator has at least one stationary electromagnetic portion (36A, 36B) and at least one moveable portion (38). The second portion (34) that moves with the car (24) includes at least one stationary electromagnetic portion (44). Magnetic interaction between the first and second portions (32, 34) causes selected movement of the moveable portion (38) for selectively locking or unlocking the doors (22).