ELIZABETH PEÑA, the Modern Family actress, has died, aged 55.
The Hispanic star, who was well known both for her comedy characters and dramatic roles, died in Los Angeles after a brief illness.
The actress and director appeared in film and television roles, in a career spanning more than 40 years, with credits including Rush Hour, Down And Out In Beverley Hills, La Bamba, Jacob’s Ladder and Lone Star.
Born in New Jersey, Peña was the daughter of producer and arts administrator Estella Margarita and actor-writer Mario Peña. She graduated from the High School of Performing Arts in New York when she was 18 years old and appeared in her first comedy film about a Cuban family’s struggle after moving to Spanish Harlem, entitled ‘El Super’.
She went on to star in a plethora of films and TV shows, recently appearing as Pilar, Sofia’s mother, in the hit series Modern Family, and this year she played the mother of the title character in the dramatic TV series Matador.
Twitter tributes have poured in by the hundreds. Eva Longoria tweeted: “Rest in Peace Elizabeth Pena ... you paved the way for so many of us!!”
And her co-star in Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, wrote: “The entire cast and crew are very sad to say goodbye to one of our Modern Family members. RIP to the beautiful & talented #ElizabethPena.”
Elizabeth Peña is survived by her husband, two children, mother and sister.