Elizabeth Pena, the versatile actress who shifted between dramatic roles in such films as Ã¢â¬ÅLone StarÃ¢â¬Â and comedic parts in TV shows like Ã¢â¬ÅModern Family,Ã¢â¬Â has died. She was 55.
PenaÃ¢â¬â¢s manager, Gina Rugolo, said Wednesday the Cuban-American actress died Tuesday in Los Angeles of natural causes after a brief illness. No other details were provided.
Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Cuban immigrant parents, PenaÃ¢â¬â¢s Hollywood career spanned four decades and included roles in such movies as Ã¢â¬ÅLa Bamba,Ã¢â¬Â 'Ã¢â¬ËDown and Out in Beverly Hills,Ã¢â¬Â 'Ã¢â¬ËJacobÃ¢â¬â¢s LadderÃ¢â¬Â and Ã¢â¬ÅRush Hour.Ã¢â¬Â In filmmaker John SaylesÃ¢â¬â¢ Ã¢â¬ÅLone Star,Ã¢â¬Â she memorably portrayed a history teacher who rekindles a romance with an old flame, played by Chris Cooper.
Pena appeared on such TV shows as Ã¢â¬ÅL.A. Law,Ã¢â¬Â 'Ã¢â¬ËDream On,Ã¢â¬Â 'Ã¢â¬ËResurrection Blvd.Ã¢â¬Â and Ã¢â¬ÅModern Family,Ã¢â¬Â where she played the mother of Sofia VergaraÃ¢â¬â¢s character, Gloria.
She starred in the 1980s sitcom Ã¢â¬ÅI Married DoraÃ¢â¬Â in the titular role as a housekeeper from El Salvador who weds her employer to avoid deportation.
Pena also provided her voice to Disney-PixarÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬ÅThe Incredibles,Ã¢â¬Â the Ã¢â¬ÅJustice LeagueÃ¢â¬Â cartoon series and Seth MacFarlaneÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬ÅAmerican Dad.Ã¢â¬Â
Pena most recently appeared on the El Rey Network drama Ã¢â¬ÅMatador.Ã¢â¬Â
Ã¢â¬ÅShe was a role model, a truly extraordinary performer and an inspiration in every sense of the word,Ã¢â¬Â the network said in a statement. Ã¢â¬ÅOur thoughts are with ElizabethÃ¢â¬â¢s family and friends during this difficult time. She will be deeply missed.Ã¢â¬Â
She is survived by her husband, two children, mother and sister.