Elizabeth Peña

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Elizabeth Peña
Born (1961-09-23) September 23, 1961 (age 52)[1]
Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
Other names Elizabeth Anne Dickinson
Elizabeth Pena
Occupation Actress/Director
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) William Kibler (1988)
Hans Rolla (1994-present)
2 children

Elizabeth Peña (born September 23, 1961)[1] is an American actress and television director.

Early life[edit]

Peña was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, daughter of Estella Margarita (née Toirac), an arts administrator and producer, and Mario Peña, the Cuban-born actor, writer, and director who jointly founded the Latin American Theatre Ensemble.[1] Peña graduated from New York's High School of Performing Arts in 1977. Her classmates included Ving Rhames, alongside whom she would later co-star in Jacob's Ladder, and Esai Morales, alongside whom she would later co-star in La Bamba. She is also a founding member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors.


In 1979, Peña appeared in her first film, El Super, "an exceptionally moving and melancholy comedy about a family of lower-middle-class Cuban refugees attempting to adjust to life in Spanish Harlem".[2] Peña worked once again with film director Leon Ichaso in his next feature Crossover Dreams opposite Rubén Blades.

Peña has appeared in movies such as La Bamba, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Jacob's Ladder, Lone Star, *batteries not included, Vibes, and Rush Hour. In 2002, she starred in Showtime's Resurrection Blvd. as Tia Bibi Corrades in the episode "Justicia," which she also directed. In 2003, she appeared in and directed "It Was Fun While It Lasted," an episode of The Brothers Garcia. She also provided the voice of the character Mirage in Pixar's animated film The Incredibles. She guest starred in the 18th episode of season 2 of Numb3rs as Sonya Benavides, and as Pilar, the Colombian mother of Gloria Pritchett, in season 4 of Modern Family. Although she speaks Spanish, she does not dub her own voice for Spanish releases.

Peña is also noted for having starred in I Married Dora, a sitcom that lasted only 13 episodes in 1987, as Dora Calderon, the "Dora" of the show's title. In the final show, the cast broke the "fourth wall" by announcing their cancellation on-camera and taking a curtain call.

Writer-director John Sayles produced the critically acclaimed but short-lived television series Shannon's Deal (1989–1991) co-starring Peña alongside series lead Jamey Sheridan. In 1996, Sayles wrote and directed the mystery film Lone Star and again cast her in a co-starring role.

Personal life[edit]

Peña's first marriage, to William Kibler, ended in divorce in the early 1990s. She then married a carpenter, Hans Rolla, in 1994. They have two children: one daughter, Fiona, and one son, Kaelan.


Year Title Role Notes
1979 El Super Aurelita
1980 Times Square Disco Hostess
1981 They All Laughed Rita
1985 Crossover Dreams Liz Garcia
Cagney & Lacey Adelita Carrena 1 episode: "Ordinary Hero"
T. J. Hooker Maria 1 episode: "Rip-off"
1986 Down and Out in Beverly Hills Carmen
Hill Street Blues Alice 1 episode: "Come and Get It"
1987 La Bamba Rosie Morales
*batteries not included Marisa Esteval
I Married Dora Dora Calderon 13 episodes (1987–1988)
1988 Vibes Consuelo
1989 Blue Steel Tracy Perez
Shannon's Deal Lucy Acosta television film
1990 11 episodes (1990–1991)
Drug Wars: The Camarena Story Mika Camarena TV mini-series
Jacob's Ladder Jezzie
1992 The Waterdance Rosa
Fugitive Among Us Flo Martin television film
1993 Dream On Debra 1 episode: "Super Freak"
L.A. Law Jinx Baldasseri 4 episodes (1993–1994)
1994 Dead Funny Viv Saunders
Roommates Lisa television films
1995 Two Elizabeth Gaitan
Across the Moon Carmen
The Outer Limits Dr. Jennifer Martinez 1 episode: "Living Hell"
Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home Kate Haley
The Invaders Ellen Garza television films
1996 It Came from Outer Space II Ellen Fields
Lone Star Pilar
1997 Contagious Det. Luisa Rojas television films
The Second Civil War Christina
Gridlock'd Admissions Person
Dead Man's Gun Gisella 1 episode: "Fortune Teller"
1998 The Pass Zeena
Rush Hour Detective Tania Johnson
The Eddie Files Aunt Ida 1 episode: "Charts & Graphs: The Dessert Derby"
Strangeland Toni Gage
Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within Rosario Ames television films
1999 Border Line Maria Rodriguez
Seven Girlfriends Martha
2001 Ten Tiny Love Stories
Things Behind the Sun Carmen
Tortilla Soup Leticia Naranjo
Resurrection Blvd. Beatriz 'Bibi' Corrales 1 episode: "Arriba Y Abajo"
On the Borderline Connie
2002 Impostor Midwife
ZigZag Ms. Tate
Boston Public Superintendent Elizabeth Vasquez 1 episode: "Chapter Forty-Seven"
2003 1 episode: "Chapter Fifty-Four"
CSI: Miami Mercedes Escalante 1 episode: "Simple Man"
2004 The Hollywood Mom's Mystery Theresa Shoe television films
Suburban Madness Clara Harris
Maya & Miguel Rosa Santos (voice)
The Incredibles Mirage (voice)
NCIS FBI Agent Lina Reyes 1 episode: "Terminal Leave"
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited Paran Dul (voice) 4 episodes (2004–2005)
2005 How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer Lolita
Without a Trace Rosie Diaz 1 episode: "Neither Rain Nor Sleet"
Transamerica Margaret
Down in the Valley Gale
Keep Your Distance Holly
The Lost City Miliciana Muñoz
Sueño Mirabela
Numb3rs Sonya Benavides 1 episode: "Assassin"
2006 Minoriteam Maria / Gold Digger (voice) 1 episode: "Landon in Love"
2007 Adrift in Manhattan Isabel Parades
American Dad! Store Owner (voice) 1 episode: "American Dream Factory"
D-War Agent Linda Perez
Goal II: Living the Dream Rosa Maria
Love Comes Lately Esperanza
2008 Racing for Time Flores television film
Nothing like the Holidays Anna Rodriguez
2009 Ghost Whisperer Marla 1 episode: "This Joint's Haunted"
Down for Life Mrs. Castro
Becoming Eduardo Leticia
Mother and Child Amanda
A Single Woman Storyteller
2011 Off the Map Inez 1 episode: "I'm Home"
The Perfect Family Christina
2013 Modern Family Pilar 2 episodes: "Fulgencio" & "The Old Man & the Tree"
Major Crimes Rosa Vega 1 episode: "Under the Influence"
2014 Matador[3] Maritza Sandoval Recurring role; in production


Year Title Notes
2002 Resurrection Blvd. 1 episode: "Justica"
2003 The Brothers Garcia 1 episode: "It Was Fun While It Lasted"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Elizabeth Pena Biography (1961-)
  2. ^ Canby, Vincent (March 29, 1985). "http://movies.nytimes.com". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  3. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 3, 2014). "Tanc Sade, Elizabeth Pena & More Join Cast of El Rey's 'Matador'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]