Selena Actress Lupe Ontiveros Dead at 69

Lupe Ontiveros
This Aug. 21, 2008 file photo shows actress Lupe Ontiveros at the 23rd Annual Imagen Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. Ontiveros, the popular Texan actress known for her portrayal of Yolanda Saldivar in “Selena,” died Thursday, July 26, 2012, of cancer at the Presbyterian Hospital in the City of Whittier, Calif., according to friend and comedian Rick Najera. She was 69. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas, file)
Lupe Ontiveros
This Aug. 21, 2008 file photo shows actress Lupe Ontiveros at the 23rd Annual Imagen Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas, file)

Mexican-American actress Lupe Ontiveros passed away last night. The prolific actress, who is best known for playing Selena’s convicted murderer in the film Selena opposite Jennifer Lopez, was just 69.

According to TMZ, Ontiveros was reportedly suffering from liver cancer. Jacob Vargas, who co-starred with Ontiveros in the hit film, was at her bedside.

“My friend Lupe Ontiveros just passed away,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “May you rest in peace. Thank you for your great contribution to film and TV. You will be missed.”

Born Sept. 17, 1942, Ontiveros’ first professional acting role was as a maid on an episode of Charlie’s Angels 1976. Most of the actresses’ roles were that of maids.

According to her IMDb profile, Ontiveros estimated that she had played a maid in at least 150 films or plays. She also narrated a documentary for PBS called Maid in America.

Ontiveros is best known for playing the role of the real life killer of singer Selena, Yolanda Saldivar, in the hit 1997 biopic. She also had noteworthy roles in 1985’s The Goonies as the housekeeper and as the character Nora in 1997’s As Good As It Gets.

Recently, Ontiveros had a recurring role on the popular TV series Desperate Housewives as Juanita ‘Mama’ Solis, the mother of Eva Longoria’s character, and a starring role as Abuelita on the short-lived Rob Schneider-led CBS series ¡Rob!

Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria both made public statements regarding Ontiveros’ passing.

“I am tremendously saddened by the news of Lupe’s passing! I’ve enjoyed her work throughout the years,” Lopez, 42, told Us Weekly in a statement. “She was a great actress and working with her in Selena was an unforgettable experience. She will truly be missed.”

She also called her co-star a “great actress”.

Longoria took to Twitter to express her grief.

“I’m deeply saddened at the news of my dear friend Lupe Ontiveros passing,” Longoria, 37, said via Twitter. “She was more than a colleague to me, she was my family. My heart is with your family Lupe.”

Ontiveros had several projects in the works at the time of her passing. She is survived by her husband and three adult children.

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