16:58 16 October 2014
Hispanic actress Elizabeth Pena, who starred in dozens of films over her four decade career, has died of natural causes on Tuesday. She was 55.
Pena appeared in movies including La Bamba, Rush Hour, Jacob’s Ladder, and Down and Out in Beverly Hills. Last year, she appeared in the hit series Modern Family, playing the role of Sofia Vergara’s character’s mother.
Her co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson wrote on Twitter: "The entire cast and crew are very sad to say goodbye to one of our Modern Family members. RIP to the beautiful & talented #ElizabethPena."
Gina Rugolo, Pena’s manager confirmed that her death came following 'a brief illness'. No other details were provided.
Pena was born in New Jersey and was raised by Cuban immigrant parents. She started performing in New York theatre plays and got her professional start in 1978 with Leon Ichaso’s El Super.
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria tweeted: "Rest in Peace Elizabeth Pena ... you paved the way for so many of us!!"