An actress who was well-known for her appearances in feature films and on TV going back to 1979 has died. The Los Angeles Times reports that Elizabeth Pena, known for “Rush Hour,” “La Bamba,” “Lone Star,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” and many other film roles, died Tuesday in L.A. following a brief illness.
On television, Pena had a recurring role on the hit ABC sitcom “Modern Family” as the mother of Sofia Vergara’s character. She starred in her own sitcom, “I Married Dora,” back in 1987-88, playing a Latin American housekeeper. And she appeared in a series of telefilms over the years, including “Suburban Madness” (2004), “Border Line” (1999) and “The Invaders” (1995).
Pena made guest appearances on many television series, including “Major Crimes” in 2013, and had a recurring role as Maritza Sandoval on the current El Rey crime drama “Matador.” She appeared on “Ghost Whisperer,” “Numb3rs,” “Without a Trace,” “NCIS,” “L.A. Law,” “Hill Street Blues” and many other series.
Pena also did some directing, including episodes of the TV shows “Resurrection Blvd.” and “The Brothers Garcia.”
The New Jersey-born actress spent much of her childhood in Cuba and was a founding member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors.