|Born||Carmen Margarita Zapata
July 15, 1927
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||January 5, 2014
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Ron Friedman (1957-1963) (divorced)|
Zapata made her Broadway debut in the chorus of Oklahoma! in 1946. She appeared in over one hundred movies and shows, including Batman: The Animated Series, Married... with Children, Sister Act, and she was Carmen Castillo in Santa Barbara. One of her longest-running roles was on the bilingual children's program Villa Alegre, where for nine years she played the lead character, "Doña Luz."
In 1972, Zapata co-founded the Screen Actors Guild Ethnic Minority Committee with actors Ricardo Montalban, Edith Diaz, and Henry Darrow. In 1973, she co-founded the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts (BFA) with Cuban-born actress, playwright, and director Margarita Galban and Argentine-born award-winning set designer Estela Scarlata.
In 1976, Zapata joined Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., in starring roles in the 12-episode ABC situation comedy summer replacement series Viva Valdez, about a Mexican-American family living in East Los Angeles, California.
Zapata died on January 5, 2014 from heart disease; she was 86 years old.
- The Sacramento Bee, "Playing Against Type Long Cast In Stereotypical Mexican Roles, Carmen Zapata Has Found A Part That Fills Her Soul In Stc'S "Driving Miss Daisy"(September 11, 1990, Page E1); "She had been christened so in New York City daughter of a Mexican father and an Argentine mother"
- Candelaria, Cordelia (2004-01-01). Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313332104.
- Actress Carmen Zapata Dies at 86: Hollywood Reporter website; retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Lowe Kilmer. "Celebrities" (column), Watertown Daily Times (New York), October 7, 2003, Lifestyles & Leisure section, page B2.
- Matt S. Meier, Conchita Franco Serri, and Richard A. Garcia. Notable Latino Americans: A Biographical Dictionary, Westport, Conn. Greenwood Press, 1997, page 410: "Most important, in her role of Doña Luz she was, for nine years, the heart and soul of the Public Broadcasting System's bilingual program, 'Villa Alegre.'"
- "Viva Valdez". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
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