Renowned Mexican-American actress Lupe Ontiveros, 69, passed away this Thursday evening in Los Angeles. For the U.S. Latino community, Ontiveros was one of the most recognized actresses in cinema. With films like Zoot Suit (Luis Valdes, 1981), and Real Women Have Curves (Patricia Cardoso, 2002), Ontiveros built her career on playing immigrant characters.
She gained attention with her performance in the 1983 film El Norte directed by Gregory Nava, with whom she worked with in his subsequent film My Family / Mi familia (1995), and Selena (1997) in which she played the role of Yolanda Saldívar, the convicted murderer of the famed Tejano singer.
She also worked with director James L. Brooks in the Academy Award-nominated As Good as it Gets (1997); with director Miguel Arteta in Chuck & Buck (2000) for which she earn a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture at the Independent Spirit Awards; and with director Todd Solondz in Storytelling (2001).
According to reports, she suffered from liver cancer. The news of her death has unexpected shocked and sent waves through social media from the Latino community. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Ontiveros was born in El Paso, Texas in 1942. When awarded the NALIP Lifetime Achievement award, actor Edward James Olmos described her as a prolific artist and “as good as it gets.” Ontiveros is survived by her husband and three adult children.