Elizabeth Pena, an actress who starred on “Modern Family” and in “Lone Star”, died on Tuesday, October 14 at the age of 55. Her nephew, Latino-Review writer Mario-Francisco Robles, confirmed the sad news on the site.
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 charters in “The Incredibles,” “American Dad” and the “Justice League” cartoon series.
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.