Today, I was heartbroken  to learn that the entertainment world, and particularly the Latino community, has lost a legend. Iconic Mexican actress, Lupe Ontiveros, passed away yesterday evening after reportedly suffering from liver cancer.  

The actress, perhaps most recognized for playing murderer Yolanda Saldivar in Selena, also had memorable roles in As Good as it Gets, The Goonies and Deperate Housewives--the last of which earned her an Emmy nomination.

And her decades-long career was not the only thing Ontiveros was famous for. The 69-year-old was an activist for many causes, such as domestic violence prevention and AIDS awareness. She was also a proud face for Latinos everywhere, promoting higher education for those in the community and stepping up for Hispanic actors. "I'm proud to represent those hands that labor in this country," Ontiveros, who played a maid hundreds of times throughout the span of her career, told the New York Times. "I've given every maid I've ever portrayed soul and heart."

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Plus Ontiveros affected not just her audience, but also her fellow actors. In fact, Selena costar Jacob Vargas was reportedly at her bedside last night and tweeted, "My friend Lupe Ontiveros just passed away. May you rest in peace. Thank you for your great contribution to film and TV. You will be missed."

Having grown up watching and re-watching Selena with my family, I am stunned and saddened at such a loss. Ontiveros is one of the few actresses--Latina or otherwise-- who I was not only introduced at a very early age, but whose career I continued to follow throughout the years. Though she will be deeply missed, I know her legacy will love on through her work. My condolescences remain with her family and children. 

Which of Ontiveros' roles did you most enjoy? Tell us in the comments below!

Image via Getty Images

About the author

Michelle Regalado is a Staff Writer at MamásLatinas. She loves reading, travel, pop culture, and writing about anything and everything.

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