Elizabeth Peña

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Elizabeth Peña
Actress, Elizabeth Pena at the 2009 East Classic Theater Fundraiser.jpg
Peña in 2009
Elizabeth Maria Peña

(1959-09-23)September 23, 1959
DiedOctober 14, 2014(2014-10-14) (aged 55)
OccupationActress, writer, musician
Years active1976–2014
Spouse(s)William Kibler
(m. 1988; divorced)
Hans Rolla
(m. 1994)

Elizabeth Maria Peña (September 23, 1959 – October 14, 2014) was an American actress, writer and musician. 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. Peña also voiced Rosa Santos in Maya and Miguel .


Early life

Peña was born on September 23, 1959 [1] in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where she was raised, the daughter of Mario Peña, an actor, director, and writer who co-founded the Latin American Theatre Ensemble, and Estella Margarita (Toirac) Peña, an arts administrator and producer. [1] [2] She was of Cuban descent, and spent her early years in Cuba. [3] At age 8, Peña and her family moved to New York City. 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. Her classmates were Ving Rhames and Esai Morales, whom she would later star with in Jacob's Ladder , La Bamba , and Resurrection Blvd.


In 1979, Peña made her film debut, El Super , a "moving and melancholy comedy about a family of lower middle class Cuban refugees attempting to adjust to life in Spanish Harlem". [4] 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' 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 William Stephan Kibler in 1988. Their marriage later ended in divorce. In 1994, Peña married Hans Rolla, with whom she had two children, Joey and Kaelan. [5]

Peña died on October 14, 2014 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California at the age of 55. [5] [6] [7] 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. [8] [9]


Film and Television
1979 El Super Aurelita
1980 Times Square Disco Hostess
1981 They All Laughed Rita
1985 Crossover Dreams Liz Garcia
1985 Cagney & Lacey Adelita CarrenaEpisode: "Ordinary Hero"
1985 T.J. Hooker MariaEpisode: "Rip-off"
1986 Down and Out in Beverly Hills Carmen
1986 Hill Street Blues AliceEpisode: "Come and Get It"
1986 Tough Cookies Connie Rivera6 episodes
1987 La Bamba Rosie Morales
1987 *batteries not included Marisa Esteval
1987–1988 I Married Dora Dora Calderon13 episodes
1988 Vibes Consuelo
1989 Shannon's Deal Lucy AcostaTelevision film
1989 Blue Steel Tracy Perez
1990 Drug Wars: The Camarena Story Mika CamarenaMiniseries
1990 Jacob's Ladder Jezzie
1990–1991 Shannon's Deal Lucy Acosta11 episodes
1992 The Waterdance Rosa
1992Fugitive Among UsFlo MartinTelevision film
1993 Dream On DebraEpisode: "Super Freak"
1993–1994 L.A. Law Jinx Baldasseri4 episodes
1994 Dead Funny Viv Saunders
1994 Roommates LisaTelevision film
1995Across the MoonCarmen
1995 The Outer Limits Dr. Jennifer MartinezEpisode: "Living Hell"
1995 Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home Kate Haley
1995 The Invaders Ellen GarzaMiniseries
1996It Came from Outer Space IIEllen FieldsTelevision film
1996 Lone Star Pilar
1996ReconOfficer Santiago
1996TwoElizabeth GaitanUnaired pilot
1997ContagiousDet. Luisa RojasTelevision film
1997 Gridlock'd Admissions Person
1997 The Second Civil War ChristinaTelevision film
1997 Dead Man's Gun GisellaEpisode: "Fortune Teller"
1998The PassZeena
1998 Rush Hour Detective Tania Johnson
1998The Eddie FilesAunt IdaEpisode: "Charts & Graphs: The Dessert Derby"
1998 Strangeland Toni Gage
1998Aldrich Ames: Traitor WithinRosario AmesTelevision film
1999 Border Line Maria RodriguezTelevision film
1999 Seven Girlfriends Martha
2000Ryan's ComediaMrs. NeuroplanetVoice
2001 Things Behind the Sun Carmen
2001 Tortilla Soup Leticia Naranjo
2001 Resurrection Blvd. Beatriz "Bibi" CorralesEpisode: "Arriba Y Abajo"
2001On the BorderlineConnie
2002 Impostor Midwife
2002 ZigZag Ms. Tate
2002Ten Tiny Love StoriesNine
2002Resurrection Blvd.Director
Episode: "Justicia"
2002–2003 Boston Public Superintendent Elizabeth Vasquez2 episodes
2003 CSI: Miami Mercedes EscalanteEpisode: "Simple Man"
2003 The Brothers Garcia Director
Episode: "It Was Fun While It Lasted"
2004The Hollywood Mom's MysteryTheresa ShoeTelevision film
2004 Suburban Madness Clara HarrisTelevision film
2004 Maya & Miguel Rosa SantosVoice
2004 The Incredibles Mirage Voice
2004 NCIS FBI Agent Lina ReyesEpisode: "Terminal Leave"
2004–2005 Justice League Paran DulVoice
4 episodes
2005 How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer Lolita
2005 Without a Trace Rosie DiazEpisode: "Neither Rain Nor Sleet"
2005 Transamerica Margaret
2005 Down in the Valley Gale
2005 Sueño Mirabela
2005Keep Your DistanceHolly
2005 The Lost City Miliciana Muñoz
2005 Numb3rs Sonya BenavidesEpisode: "Assassin"
2006 Minoriteam Maria / Gold DiggerVoice
Episode: "Landon in Love"
2007 Adrift in Manhattan Isabel Parades
2007 American Dad! Store OwnerVoice
Episode: "American Dream Factory"
2007Goal II: Living the DreamRosa Maria
2007 D-War Agent Linda Perez
2007 Love Comes Lately Esperanza
2008 Racing for Time FloresTelevision film
2008 A Single Woman Storyteller
2008 Nothing like the Holidays Anna Rodriguez
2009 Ghost Whisperer MarlaEpisode: "This Joint's Haunted"
2009 Mother and Child Amanda
2009Becoming EduardoLeticia
2009 Down for Life Mrs. Castro
2011 Off the Map InezEpisode: "I'm Home"
2011 The Perfect Family Christina Reyes
2013 Major Crimes Rosa VegaEpisode: "Under the Influence"
2013 Modern Family Pilar2 episodes
2013Blaze You OutDona
2013 Plush Dr. Lopez
2014 Matador Maritza Sandoval [10] 7 episodes
2015 Grandma Carla
2015 Girl on the Edge Esther
2015 Ana Maria in Novela Land Sra Soto
2017 The Song of Sway Lake Marlena(final film role; posthumous release)
Video games
2004 The Incredibles MirageVoice
2013 Disney Infinity

See also

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  1. 1 2 Elizabeth Pena Biography (1959–)
  2. Weinstein, Shelli (October 15, 2014). "Elizabeth Pena, co-star of 'Jacob's Ladder' and 'La Bamba,' dies at 55". Toronto Sun. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  3. Elizabeth Pena Dead: ‘Rush Hour’ Actress’ Death Shocks Fans
  4. Canby, Vincent (March 29, 1985). "'Crossover Dreams', with salsa beat". The New York Times. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  5. 1 2 Woo, Elaine (October 16, 2014). "Elizabeth Peña dies at 55; actress in 'The Incredibles,' 'La Bamba'". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  6. Robles, Mario-Francisco (October 15, 2014). "Breaking: Prolific Hispanic Actress Elizabeth Peña Has Passed Away". LatinoReview.com. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  7. Couch, Aaron; Barnes, Mike. "Actress Elizabeth Pena Dies at 55". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  8. Maria Puente (October 23, 2014). "Alcoholism was a cause in Elizabeth Pena's death". USA TODAY. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  9. "Certificate of Death" (PDF). California. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 17, 2015.
  10. 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.