Hollywood actress Elizabeth Peña has died, People magazine reported Wednesday. She was 55.
The actress passed away Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of natural causes after a brief illness, her manager Gina Rugolo told the news site. Further details about her passing were not provided.
Peña had a career in entertainment that spanned four decades. She won four American Latino Media Arts Awards (ALMAs), according to the Internet Movie Database.
She was known for her roles in films such as “La Bamba,” “Transamerica,” “Lone Star,” “Rush Hour,” “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Free Willy 2.” She also appeared on the small screen with stints on shows like “Matador,” “L.A. Law,” “Dream On,” “Resurrection Blvd.” and “Modern Family,” where she played the mother of Sofia Vergara’s character, Gloria.
She lent her voice to characters in the films “The Incredibles” and “American Dad” and the cartoon series “Justice League.”
Peña directed a few television show episodes and also founded the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors, the Los Angeles Times wrote.
"In the United States, all Spanish-speaking people are lumped into one category," Peña said in a 1996 interview with the Dallas Morning News, according to the Los Angeles Times. "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 was born Sept. 23, 1959, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and lived in Cuba for part of her childhood.
Being an entertainer ran in Peña's blood. Her mother, Estella Margarita, was a producer and an arts administrator and her father, Mario, was an actor, writer and director.
She is survived by her husband, Hans Rolla; her daughter, Fiona; her son, Kaelan; as well as her mother and a sister.
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