Cuban-American actress Elizabeth Peña, known for her roles in films such as “Jacob’s Ladder” and “La Bamba” has died in Los Angeles. She was 55.
Peña’s representative, Gina Rugolo, said that the actress died Tuesday of natural causes after a brief illness.
The Los Angeles County Coroner, on the other hand, cited cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol, as well as cardiopulmonary arrest, cardiogenic shock and acute gastrointestinal bleeding on the actress’s death certificate.
Born in New Jersey, Peña got her professional start in New York theaters and landed her first film role in the Latin film “El Super” directed by Leon Ichaso in 1978.
During her career spanning more than four decades, she appeared in many other films, including "Rush Hour", "Lone Star", "Blue Steel", and "Batteries Not Included", as well as in television series such as "I Married Dora".
She also provided her voice in animated films such as "Justice League" and "American Dad!".
Peña also had a recurring role in the popular series "Modern Family", playing the role of Pilar, the mother of Sofia Vergara’s character, Gloria. She recently completed work on the first season of the "Matador" series for the El Rey network, in which she played the mother of the main character.
In a tribute to his aunt on Latino Review, nephew Mario-Francisco Robles wrote, "There’s now a void that will never be filled. All we can do is remember your sharp sense of humor, your endless hunger for life, and your never ending pursuit of happiness."
Peña is survived by her husband, Hans Rolla, and two children Fiona and Kaelan.
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