Carmen Zapata, who launched her career in 1945 in the Broadway musical Oklahoma, died on Sunday from heart problems at her Van Nuys-area home, reports People. The New York City-born star of Mexican and Argentine descent was 86.
In 1973, Zapata founded the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts to help promote Hispanic writers because jobs were so scarce at the time.
"Everyone who worked with her felt she had created something really important and was making our community a better place," said Luis Vela, marketing manager for the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts in Los Angeles.
"She was emphatic that what we were doing at the foundation was more important than personal recognition."
Zapata's movie and TV credits include Sister Act, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The New Dick Van Dyke Show.
Funeral and service arrangements are currently being finalized. May she R.I.P.