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elizabeth-pena-dead-at-55Distinguished Latina actress Elizabeth Peña has died.

Actress Elizabeth Peña has died at 55. The actress and mother of two passed away Tuesday, October 14 at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. While a cause of death is unknown at this time, Peña’s manager confirmed that the actress had been briefly suffering from an undisclosed illness.

Peña is widely known for her roles in films including La Bamba, Lone Star, and The Incredibles. Besides her most notable cinematic works, she also had recurring roles on the television shows including 1980’s I Married Dora, in which she played an American housekeeper and as Sofia Vergara’s Colombian mother Pilar on the Emmy-winning show, Modern Family. Matador, a current crime television drama is her most recent work. Peña is a regular on the series featured on the El Rey network.

Peña was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey and spent a portion of her childhood in Cuba with her parents. Her father Mario was an actor, writer and director while her mother Estella Margarita was a producer and arts administrator. Peña graduated from New York’s High School of Performing Art and was a founding member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors.

Peña was known as a dedicated hard-working actress and took her roles seriously. When filming Lone Star in 1996, she revealed the obstacles of overcoming cultural differences when portraying her schoolteacher character.

"In the United States, all Spanish-speaking people are lumped into one category. But we’re all so different. Argentinians are completely different from Mexicans. Mexicans are completely different from Cubans. Cubans are completely different from people from Paraguay and Uruguay."

Peña’s nephew Mario-Francisco Robles, a critic for Latino-Review, confirmed the death of his aunt along with a warm tribute to an actress who paved the way for Latina actresses in Hollywood.

"She did it all, and she made it look fun. She made it look easy. But I know it wasn’t. I know she had a drive like no other and that she was a force to be reckoned with when she decided it was time to make it big or… well, nothing."

Stars have been mourning the loss of Peña across social media.










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