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Miriam Colon (1936 - 2017)

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Miriam Colon (1936 - 2017)

Miriam Colon, the Puerto Rican star of stage and screen who was featured in “Scarface,” died of a lung infection Friday, March 3, 2017, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to The Associated Press. She was 80.

Colon may be remembered best by audiences as the mother of Al Pacino’s character Tony Montana in “Scarface” (1983). During her long career, she did much to create opportunities for fellow Hispanic actors, including co-founding the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in New York City.

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Born Aug. 20, 1936, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, she grew up in San Juan. She moved to New York City in 1953 where she enrolled in the famous Actors Studio.

She appeared frequently on TV Westerns like “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza” during the 1950s and 1960s. She had a role in fellow Actors Studio alumnus Marlon Brando’s directorial debut, “One-eyed Jacks” (1961).

In 1967, she co-founded the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater Company, which continues to tour and produce bilingual theater for neighborhoods in New York City. She often performed in addition to directing and developing Hispanic writers, directors, and actors.

In 1993, she received a lifetime achievement Obie Award for her work in off-Broadway theater. In 2014, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama for her work as an actress and theater founder.

She continued to work consistently in film and on TV, including an appearance in “Better Call Saul” in 2015.

Colon is survived by her husband of more than 40 years, Fred Valle.

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