Miriam Colon, iconic US Latina movie, theater actress, dies

Barack Obama, Miriam Colón
FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama awards the 2014 National Medal of Arts to actress, theater founder, and director Miriam Colon of New York, during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington. Colon, an icon in U.S. Latino theater who starred in films alongside Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, has died at age 80. Her husband, Fred Valle, told The Associated Press that Colon died early Friday, March 3, 2017, because of complications from a pulmonary infection. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, file)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Miriam Colon, an icon in U.S. Latino theater who starred in films alongside Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, has died.

Her husband, Fred Valle, told The Associated Press that Colon died early Friday because of complications from a pulmonary infection. She was 80 years old,

Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Colon came to Los Angeles in the 1950s to study at the Actors Studio before earning roles in various films. She eventually founded the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in New York where she helped cultivate young Latino actors and writers.

She is widely known as the mother of Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, in the 1983 movie “Scarface.”

Colon earned acclaim for her role as the New Mexico Hispanic healer, Ultima, in the 2013 movie “Bless Me, Ultima” based on the novel by Rudolfo Anaya.