Elizabeth Pena, Co-Star of ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ and ‘La Bamba,’ Dies at 55


By Shelli Weinstein

© Provided by Variety

Actress Elizabeth Pena, who co-starred in “Jacob’s Ladder” and “La Bamba,” died Oct. 14 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to her nephew, Latino Review writer Mario-Francisco Robles. She was 55.

She died of natural causes after a brief illness.

Born in Elizabeth, N.J., and raised by Cuban immigrant parents, Pena’s career spanned nearly 40 years.  She began performing in New York theater, and got her professional start in 1978 with Leon Ichaso’s “El Super.”

She went on to appear in films including “Rush Hour,” “Blue Steel” and “Batteries Not Included,” starred in her own primetime series on ABC, “I Married Dora” and lent her voice to the “Justice League” animated series, “American Dad!” and to Disney-Pixar’s “The Incredibles,” where she voices Mirage.

Pena also had a recurring guest role on ABC’s “Modern Family” as Pilar, the mother of Sofia Vergara’s Gloria.

The actress recently wrapped work on the first season of El Rey  Network’s “Matador,” where she played the title character’s mother.

Pena is survived by her husband, Hans Rolla; her daughter, Fiona; and her son, Kaelan; as well as her mother and a sister.

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