We first started seeing her in classic 80's TV, like "Cagney and Lacey" and "T.J. Hooker." She had her first regular role as a cop‘«Űthe first of many‘«Űin the short-lived series "Tough Cookies" in '86. She comes by it honestly; her dad was a theater owner in New York; she went to the High School of Performing arts with the likes of Ving Rhames and Esai Morales. She was in "La Bamba," and "Jacob's Ladder" and "Blue Steel." She even had her own series for a year in the late Eighties: "I Married Dora."
Remembered best as the surprisingly wise maid in "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," or perhaps as the tough-talking, take-no-crap "sidekick" to Jamie Sheridan in John Sayles' remarkable detective show "Shannon's Deal" (Sayles liked her so much he cast her again in Lone Star, years later.) And since then she's worked steadily, four or five projects a year: "L.A. Law," "Rush Hour," "Tortilla Soup," "Resurrection Blvd.," "How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer," "Off the Map," and on and on.
It's not jut the intelligence and authority she displays, though those are two of the reasons she's consistently cast as a strong Latina with leadership skills: the cop, the politician, the school superintendent. That and her voice‘«Űthat rich, slightly husky, slightly accented purr that everybody remembers. Including the people at Pixar, it seems, who cast her as the voice of Mirage in "The Incredibles." She's reprised the role in the video game, and yet again just last year in a new K'Nect Game feature Pixar characters.
And throughout her career, Pe??a has worked behind the scenes as an advocate and activist. She's a founding member of HOLA, the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors, along with Rub?ģn Rabasa, Miriam Cruz, and many many others. You can learn more about HOLA here.
And now she'll appear as the mother of the hottest Latina in Hollywood this year: Sof?°a Vergara. The new baby has been born, and it only makes sense that "Gloria's" family shows up to celebrate. (Newcomer Stephanie Beatriz plays Gloria's sister, confusingly named "Sof?°a.")
Soon after, you can see her in "Blaze You Out," Diego Joaquin Lopez' and Mateo Frazier's drama about heroin addiction starring Veronica Diaz-Carranza and Melissa Cordero; it will release later this year. And if you want to see one of her better recent roles, you can watch "How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer," with America Ferrera and the late Lucy Gallardo on Netflix Instant Viewing, here (http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/How_the_Garcia_Girls_Spent_Their_Summer/70099123?trkid=2361637 ).