Award-winning actress Elizabeth Peña died on Tuesday of natural causes at the age of 55. The Latina star died of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening. Her death was confirmed by her manager, Gina Rugolo, who also added that it followed a short illness.
No other details were immediately provided. Her nephew Mario-Francisco Robles wrote an obituary in the “Latino Review” about his aunt’s 40-year-long career.
Peña appeared on two episodes of “Modern Family” as Pilar, the Colombian mother of Sofia Vergara’s popular character Gloria Pritchett, in 2013.
The New Jersey native who was raised in New York was most-known for her role in “La Bamba.” She also had roles in films such as “Down And Out In Beverly Hills,” “Rush Hour,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” “Lone Star,” “Blue Steel” and “Free Willy 2.”
She also appeared on such TV shows as “L.A. Law,” “Dream On” and “Resurrection Blvd.” She also directed a 2002 episode of the “Resurrection Blvd,” that was set in East Los Angeles.
She recently played the mother of the title character on the drama “Matador.” Peña also did voice-overs. She provided her voice to “The Incredibles,” the “Justice League” cartoon series and “American Dad.”
The Cuban-American actress was a founding member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors, and according to her colleagues, “a role model, and a truly extraordinary performer and an inspiration in every sense of the word.”