Hispanic actress Elizabeth Pena, whose lengthy resume includes the films Jacob's Ladder, Lone Star, and La Bamba died Tuesday in Los Angeles. She was 55.
Pena's nephew, the Latino-Review critic Mario-Francisco Robles, shared the sad news via an obituary on the site. No cause of death was given.
Born in New Jersey, Pena came from a theatrical family. Her father, Mario, was a playwright and actor in Cuba before immigrating to the U.S. and opening the Latin American Theatre Ensemble in New York. As a teenager, Pena made a name for herself in the New York theater scene before graduating from the High School of Performing Arts. Her first professional job was León Ichaso's El Super in 1978.
After moving to Los Angeles, Pena starred in '80s films like La Bamba, Down and Out in Beverly Hills and *Batteries Not Included before playing the titular role in the ABC sitcom I Married Dora in 1987. The series centered on a green card marriage and ran for 13 episodes.
In the '90s, Pena starred opposite Tim Robbins in the horror film Jacob's Ladder, Matthew McConaughey and Chris Cooper in Lone Star, and Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour. Most recently, she played Gloria's mother Pilar on Modern Family and Tony Bravo's mother Maritza on the El Rey drama Matador. Pena's other television credits include L.A. Law and Resurrection Blvd.