Veteran Hispanic actress died today of cancer at the age of 69.
Ontiveros died Thursday at a hospital in Whittier, California, a suburb southeast of Los Angeles after a short battle with liver cancer, reports CBS. Ontiveros appeared in many TV shows and films throughout her 35-year career, but is probably best known for her appearances in Desperate Housewives, the Jennifer Lopez-led Selena Quintanilla-Pérez biopic Selena and the Academy Award-winning film As Good As It Gets.
Close friend Rick Najera said that Ontiveros died surrounded by family and friends, including actors Esai Morales and Edward James Olmos who co-starred with her in Selena.
In addition to her acting credits, Ontiveros was also well-known for her friendliness and quirky humor. “I want to go from the set to the grave,” she said in 2010 after being honored with a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. “From the stage to the grave, that’s how I want go.”
She also once opined that she had been typecast into roles as a maid, and estimated that she’d played a maid over 300 times in her career, according to MSN. “I’ve had a hell of a good time playing those maids,” she said in 2002. “Each one to me is very special … No matter how much I resent the stupidity that is written into them, the audacity that the industry has when they portray us in such a nonsensical, idiotic, such – oh my God! – such a degrading manner, still, my humor survives in these maids. I’m very proud of them.”
Despite being typecast as a maid for much of her career, she is probably best known for playing the quiet and treacherous Yolanda Saldivar in 1997′s Selena, who killed the Tejano singer in real life.
Desperate Housewives co-star Eva Longoria took to Twitter to express her feelings over Ontiveros’ passing.
I’m deeply saddened at the news of my dear friend Lupe Ontiveros passing. She was more than a colleague to me, she was… say.ly/SBe3QNk
— Eva Longoria (@EvaLongoria) July 27, 2012
Sean Astin, who played alongside Ontiveros in The Goonies also remembered the actress fondly.
Thank You Lupe Ontiveros for finding the rich stuff in my jacket pocket!!!#GooniesNeverSayDie
— Sean Astin (@SeanAstin) July 27, 2012
IQ’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of Lupe Ontiveros in light of her passing.