Miriam Colon, Latina Film and Theater Pioneer Known for ‘Scarface,’ Dies at 80

Puerto Rican actress Miriam Colon, best known for playing Al Pacino’s mother in the 1983 film “Scarface,” has died. She as 80.

Her husband told the AP that Colon died on Friday following medical complications from a pulmonary infection.

While perhaps best known for appearing in Brian De Palma and Oliver Stone star-studded remake of the 1932 gangster film, Colon made her mark on the entertainment community through various film and television roles, as well as founding the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in New York.

Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Colon began acting in high school and local plays until 1953 when she became the first Puerto Rican to enroll in the famed Actors Studio, founded by Elia Kazan.

During her early career, Colon appeared in television shows including “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and westerns such as “Gunsmoke,” and “Bonanza.” With several Broadway credits to her name, in the late 1960s she founded the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in Manhattan. Over the course of her decades-long career, Colon collected over 100 acting credits in film and television.

In September 2015 Colon received a National Medal of the Arts from then-President Barack Obama. Colon is credited as a “trailblazer” who “helped open doors for generations of Hispanic actors.”

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