‘Modern Family’ Star Elizabeth Pena, Standout Actress Also Remembered For Performances In 'La Bamba,’ ‘Jacob's Ladder,’ Dies At 55

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Oct. 16 2014, Published 8:39 a.m. ET

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Elizabeth Pena, an actress who gained fame via her roles in La Bamba and Jacob's Ladder, as well as ABC’s Modern Family, died at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Tuesday at 55 from natural causes, her manager Gina Rugolo said on Wednesday.

"She was such a Life Force it's hard to believe,” her La Bamba co-star Lou Diamond Phillips tweeted. “Elizabeth was not only an amazing actress, she was one of the most vibrant, wonderful people I have ever known.

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“My prayers to her family.”

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The talented Elizabeth, New Jersey native carved out a niche in the world of entertainment with a variety of standout performances through her career.

She made a mark in films such as Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Rush Hour and Lone Star; and television programs including I Married Dora, Dream On, L.A. Law, Modern Family (in which she played the mother of Sofia Vergara’s character) and most recently, the El Rey network’s Matador.

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“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague, Elizabeth Pena,” the network said. "She was a role model, a truly extraordinary performer and an inspiration in every sense of the word."

Pena also worked as a voice-over artist in productions including The Incredibles, American Dad and Justice League.

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Pena is survived by her husband, two teen children, her mother and her sister.



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