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Elizabeth Peña

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Elizabeth Peña
Peña in 2009
Elizabeth Maria Peña

(1959-09-23)September 23, 1959
DiedOctober 14, 2014(2014-10-14) (aged 55)
Years active1979–2014
  • William Kibler
    (m. 1988; div. 19??)
Hans Rolla
(m. 1994)

Elizabeth Maria Peña (September 23, 1959 – October 14, 2014) was an American actress. Her work in films included Nothing like the Holidays, Batteries Not Included, La Bamba, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Jacob's Ladder, Rush Hour, The Incredibles, and Lone Star, for which she won the 1996 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female and a Bravo Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film. She was also a founding member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA). Peña also voiced Rosa Santos in Maya & Miguel.

Early life


Peña was born on September 23, 1959, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and raised by her Cuban immigrant parents. Her father, Mario, was a playwright, director, actor, and designer in their native Cuba, who opened up the Latin American Theatre Ensemble after establishing a life for him and his family in New York. 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. Ving Rhames and Esai Morales were her classmates, who would later star with her in Jacob's Ladder, La Bamba, and Resurrection Blvd.[citation needed]



In 1979, Peña made her film debut in El Super, a "moving and melancholy comedy about a family of lower middle class Cuban refugees attempting to adjust to life in Spanish Harlem".[1] She worked once again with director Leon Ichaso in his next feature, Crossover Dreams. She appeared in films such as Nothing like the Holidays, La Bamba, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Jacob's Ladder, Lone Star, *batteries not included, Blue Steel, 1997's Gridlock'd as ER Admissions Person (under the name Elizabeth Anne Dickinson), 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's 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 married television producer William Stephan Kibler in 1988. Their marriage later ended in divorce. In 1994, Peña married Hans Rolla, with whom she had two children, Fiona and Kaelan.[2]

Peña died on October 14, 2014, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 55.[2][3][4] The cause of death listed on her death certificate was cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol, which caused acute gastrointestinal bleeding, cardiogenic shock and cardiac arrest.[5][6]


Film and Television
Year Title Role Notes
1979 El Super Aurelita Debut role
1980 Times Square Disco Hostess
1981 They All Laughed Rita
1985 Crossover Dreams Liz Garcia
Cagney & Lacey Adelita Carrena Episode: "Ordinary Hero"
T. J. Hooker Maria Episode: "Rip-off"
1986 Down and Out in Beverly Hills Carmen
Hill Street Blues Alice Episode: "Come and Get It"
Tough Cookies Connie Rivera 6 episodes
1987 La Bamba Rosie Morales
*batteries not included Marisa Esteval
1987–1988 I Married Dora Dora Calderon 13 episodes
1988 Vibes Consuelo
1989 Shannon's Deal Lucy Acosta Television film
1990 Blue Steel Tracy Perez
Drug Wars: The Camarena Story Mika Camarena Miniseries
Jacob's Ladder Jezzie
1990–1991 Shannon's Deal Lucy Acosta 11 episodes
1992 The Waterdance Rosa
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
Roommates Lisa Television film
1995 Across the Moon Carmen
The Outer Limits Dr. Jennifer Martinez Episode: "Living Hell"
Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home Kate Haley
The Invaders Ellen Garza Miniseries
1996 It Came from Outer Space II Ellen Fields Television film
Lone Star Pilar
Recon Officer Santiago
Two Elizabeth Gaitan Unaired pilot
1997 Contagious Det. Luisa Rojas Television film
Gridlock'd Admissions Person
The Second Civil War Christina Television film
Dead Man's Gun Gisella Episode: "Fortune Teller"
1998 The Pass Zeena
Rush Hour Detective Tania Johnson
The Eddie Files Aunt Ida Episode: "Charts & Graphs: The Dessert Derby"
Strangeland Toni Gage
Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within Rosario Ames Television film
1999 Border Line Maria Rodriguez
Seven Girlfriends Martha
2000 Ryan's Comedia Mrs. Neuroplanet Voice
2001 Things Behind the Sun Carmen
Tortilla Soup Leticia Naranjo
Resurrection Blvd. Beatriz "Bibi" Corrales Episode: "Arriba Y Abajo"
On the Borderline Connie
Impostor Midwife
2002 Zig Zag Ms. Tate
Ten Tiny Love Stories Nine
Resurrection Blvd. Director
Episode: "Justicia"
2002–2003 Boston Public Superintendent Elizabeth Vasquez 2 episodes
2003 CSI: Miami Mercedes Escalante Episode: "Simple Man"
The Brothers García Director
Episode: "It Was Fun While It Lasted"
2004 The Hollywood Mom's Mystery Theresa Shoe Television film
Suburban Madness Clara Harris
Maya & Miguel Rosa Santos Voice[7]
The Incredibles Mirage Voice[7]
NCIS FBI Agent Lina Reyes Episode: "Terminal Leave"
Justice League Paran Dul Voice, episode: "Starcrossed"[7]
2005 How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer Lolita
Without a Trace Rosie Diaz Episode: "Neither Rain Nor Sleet"
Transamerica Margaret
Down in the Valley Gale
Sueño Mirabela
Keep Your Distance Holly
The Lost City Miliciana Muñoz
Numb3rs Sonya Benavides Episode: "Assassin"
Justice League Unlimited Paran Dul Voice, episode: "Hunter's Moon"[7]
2006 Minoriteam Maria / Gold Digger Voice, episode: "Landon in Love"
2007 Adrift in Manhattan Isabel Parades
American Dad! Store Owner Voice, episode: "American Dream Factory"
Goal II: Living the Dream Rosa Maria
D-War Agent Linda Perez
Love Comes Lately Esperanza
2008 Racing for Time Flores Television film
A Single Woman Storyteller
Nothing like the Holidays Anna Rodriguez
2009 Ghost Whisperer Marla Episode: "This Joint's Haunted"
2009 Mother and Child Amanda
Becoming Eduardo Leticia
Down for Life Mrs. Castro
2011 Off the Map Inez Episode: "I'm Home"
The Perfect Family Christina Reyes
2013 Major Crimes Rosa Vega Episode: "Under the Influence"
Modern Family Pilar 2 episodes
Blaze You Out Dona
Plush Dr. Lopez
2014 Matador Maritza Sandoval[8] 7 episodes
2015 Grandma Carla Posthumous release
Girl on the Edge Esther
Ana Maria in Novela Land Sra Soto
2018 The Song of Sway Lake Marlena Final film role; Posthumous release
Video games
Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Incredibles Mirage Voice
2013 Disney Infinity Mirage Voice

See also



  1. ^ Canby, Vincent (March 29, 1985). "'Crossover Dreams', with salsa beat". The New York Times. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Woo, Elaine (October 16, 2014). "Elizabeth Peña dies at 55; actress in 'The Incredibles,' 'La Bamba'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Robles, Mario-Francisco (October 15, 2014). "Breaking: Prolific Hispanic Actress Elizabeth Peña Has Passed Away". LatinoReview.com. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  4. ^ Couch, Aaron; Barnes, Mike (October 15, 2014). "Actress Elizabeth Pena Dies at 55". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  5. ^ Maria Puente (October 23, 2014). "Alcoholism was a cause in Elizabeth Pena's death". USA TODAY. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  6. ^ "Certificate of Death" (PDF). California. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 17, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d "Elizabeth Peña (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved October 27, 2023. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.
  8. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 3, 2014). "Tanc Sade, Elizabeth Pena & More Join Cast of El Rey's 'Matador'". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on April 5, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2014.