The radiant, beautiful, fiery and talented actress Elizabeth Peña has died, yesterday! No additional information pertaining to the cause of her death is available at this time. Several media outlets defined her death as due to “natural causes”. Personally, I can’t imagine a death due to natural causes at only 55….
Elizabeth Peña, a Cuban American from an artistic family, started her acting career early and became a household name with roles in such films as “La Bamba,” “Transamerica,” “Lone Star,” “Rush Hour,” “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Free Willy 2.”
For her performance in the “Lone Star,” Elizabeth received the Independent Spirit and “Bravo” awards. “Tortilla Soup” earned her the ALMA Award.
Her television roles – most recently on “Modern Family” where she’s been Gloria’s (Sofia Vergara) mother – on such TV shows as “L.A. Law,” “Dream On,” “Resurrection Blvd.”, “Matador,” and others (like “Tough Cookies”, “I Married Dora” and “Shannon’s Deal”) earned her critical acclaim for her dramatic as well as comedic talent and timing.
Elizabeth Peña wasn’t a great Latino actress: she was a great actress, period. Her unique personality and presence were embraced by viewers of all backgrounds. She will be missed by her family and friends as well as her fans. Her artistic contribution survives her.