||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (October 2014)|
Peña in 2009
|Born||September 23, 1959
Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||October 14, 2014 (aged 55)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Cirrhosis of the liver|
|Other names||Elizabeth Pena|
(1994–2014; her death)
Elizabeth Peña (September 23, 1959 – October 14, 2014) was an American actress and director.
Peña was born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey on September 23, 1959 to Mario Peña, an actor, director, and writer who co-founded the Latin American Theatre Ensemble, and Estella Margarita (Toirac) Peña, an arts administrator and producer. She was of Cuban descent and spent her early years in Cuba. At age 8, Peña and her family moved to New York City. In 1975, she was a founding member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. In 1977, she graduated from New York's High School of Performing Arts. Her classmates were Ving Rhames and Esai Morales, whom she would later star with in La Bamba and Resurrection Blvd.
In 1979, Peña made her film debut, El Super, and described as a "moving and melancholy comedy about a family of lower middle class Cuban refugees attempting to adjust to life in Spanish Harlem". She worked once again with director Leon Ichaso in his next feature, Crossover Dreams. She has appeared in films 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. Peña also voiced Mirage in Pixar's animated film The Incredibles. She guest starred in the 18th episode of season 2 of Numb3rs as Sonya Benavides, and in season 4 of Modern Family as Pilar, the Colombian mother of Gloria Pritchett. Although she spoke Spanish, she did not dub her own voice for Spanish releases. Peña was also noted for having starred in I Married Dora, a sitcom in 1987, as Dora Calderon, the title character. She also starred in John Sayles' produced critically acclaimed but short-lived television series Shannon's Deal (1989–1991). In 1996, Sayles wrote and directed the mystery film Lone Star and again cast her in a co-starring role, for which she won the 1996 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Bravo Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film from the National Council of La Raza.
Personal life and death
Peña died on October 14, 2014 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California at the age of 55. The cause of death listed on her death certificate was cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol, acute gastrointestinal bleeding, cardiogenic shock, and cardiopulmonary arrest.
|1980||Times Square||Disco Hostess|
|1981||They All Laughed||Rita|
|1985||Crossover Dreams||Liz Garcia|
|1985||Cagney & Lacey||Adelita Carrena||Episode: "Ordinary Hero"|
|1985||T.J. Hooker||Maria||Episode: "Rip-off"|
|1986||Down and Out in Beverly Hills||Carmen|
|1986||Hill Street Blues||Alice||Episode: "Come and Get It"|
|1986||Tough Cookies||Connie Rivera||6 episodes|
|1987||La Bamba||Rosie Morales|
|1987||*batteries not included||Marisa Esteval|
|1987–1988||I Married Dora||Dora Calderon||13 episodes|
|1989||Blue Steel||Tracy Perez|
|1989||Shannon's Deal||Lucy Acosta||Television film|
|1990||Drug Wars: The Camarena Story||Mika Camarena||Miniseries|
|1990–1991||Shannon's Deal||Lucy Acosta||11 episodes|
|1992||Fugitive Among Us||Flo Martin||Television film|
|1993||Dream On||Debra||Episode: "Super Freak"|
|1993–1994||L.A. Law||Jinx Baldasseri||4 episodes|
|1994||Dead Funny||Viv Saunders|
|1995||Across the Moon||Carmen|
|1995||The Outer Limits||Dr. Jennifer Martinez||Episode: "Living Hell"|
|1995||Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home||Kate Haley|
|1995||The Invaders||Ellen Garza||Miniseries|
|1996||It Came from Outer Space II||Ellen Fields||Television film|
|1996||Two||Elizabeth Gaitan||Unaired pilot|
|1997||Contagious||Det. Luisa Rojas||Television film|
|1997||The Second Civil War||Christina||Television film|
|1997||Dead Man's Gun||Gisella||Episode: "Fortune Teller"|
|1998||Rush Hour||Detective Tania Johnson|
|1998||The Eddie Files||Aunt Ida||Episode: "Charts & Graphs: The Dessert Derby"|
|1998||Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within||Rosario Ames||Television film|
|1999||Border Line||Maria Rodriguez||Television film|
|2001||Ten Tiny Love Stories||Nine|
|2001||Things Behind the Sun||Carmen|
|2001||Tortilla Soup||Leticia Naranjo|
|2001||Resurrection Blvd.||Beatriz "Bibi" Corrales||Episode: "Arriba Y Abajo"|
|2001||On the Borderline||Connie|
|2002; 2003||Boston Public||Superintendent Elizabeth Vasquez||2 episodes|
|2003||CSI: Miami||Mercedes Escalante||Episode: "Simple Man"|
|2003||The Brothers Garcia||Director
Episode: "It Was Fun While It Lasted"
|2004||The Hollywood Mom's Mystery||Theresa Shoe||Television film|
|2004||Suburban Madness||Clara Harris||Television film|
|2004||Maya & Miguel||Rosa Santos||Voice|
|2004||NCIS||FBI Agent Lina Reyes||Episode: "Terminal Leave"|
|2004–2005||Justice League||Paran Dul||Voice
|2005||How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer||Lolita|
|2005||Without a Trace||Rosie Diaz||Episode: "Neither Rain Nor Sleet"|
|2005||Down in the Valley||Gale|
|2005||Keep Your Distance||Holly|
|2005||The Lost City||Miliciana Muñoz|
|2005||Numb3rs||Sonya Benavides||Episode: "Assassin"|
|2006||Minoriteam||Maria / Gold Digger||Voice
Episode: "Landon in Love"
|2007||Adrift in Manhattan||Isabel Parades|
|2007||American Dad!||Store Owner||Voice
Episode: "American Dream Factory"
|2007||D-War||Agent Linda Perez|
|2007||Goal II: Living the Dream||Rosa Maria|
|2007||Love Comes Lately||Esperanza|
|2008||Racing for Time||Flores||Television film|
|2008||Nothing like the Holidays||Anna Rodriguez|
|2009||Ghost Whisperer||Marla||Episode: "This Joint's Haunted"|
|2009||Down for Life||Mrs. Castro|
|2009||Mother and Child||Amanda|
|2009||A Single Woman||Storyteller|
|2011||Off the Map||Inez||Episode: "I'm Home"|
|2011||The Perfect Family||Christina|
|2013||Major Crimes||Rosa Vega||Episode: "Under the Influence"|
|2013||Modern Family||Pilar||2 episodes|
|2014||Matador||Maritza Sandoval||7 episodes|
- Elizabeth Pena Biography (1959–)
- Weinstein, Shelli (October 15, 2014). "Elizabeth Pena, co-star of 'Jacob's Ladder' and 'La Bamba,' dies at 55". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- Canby, Vincent (March 29, 1985). "'Crossover Dreams', with salsa beat". The New York Times. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
- Woo, Elaine (October 16, 2014). "Elizabeth Peña dies at 55; actress in 'The Incredibles,' 'La Bamba'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Robles, Mario-Francisco (October 15, 2014). "Breaking: Prolific Hispanic Actress Elizabeth Peña Has Passed Away". LatinoReview.com. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
- Couch, Aaron; Barnes, Mike. "Actress Elizabeth Pena Dies at 55". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
- Maria Puente (October 23, 2014). "Alcoholism was a cause in Elizabeth Pena's death". USA TODAY. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
- 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.