Ana Ofelia Murguía, voice of Pixar’s Mamá Coco, dies at 90

Mexican actress Ana Ofelia Murguía, best known internationally for voicing the character of Mamá Coco in Pixar’s 2017 film “Coco,” died at the age of 90.

The country’s National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature confirmed Ms. Murguía’s death in a statement Sunday, without citing a specific cause.

“She leaves an enormous void on our country’s stages,” Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto Guerrero said in the same statement.

Mexico’s National Theater Company described her as “one of the greatest actresses Mexico has had.”

Born in 1933, Ms. Murguía’s career in Mexican film, theater and television spanned 60 years, according to the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature. She graduated from institute’s National School of Theater Arts in 1957 and went on to appear in more than 70 plays and over 90 films — often as a villain.

The actress won three Ariel Awards, Mexico’s equivalent of an Oscar, for “Cadena Perpetua” (1979), “Los Motivos de Luz” (1986) and “La Reina de la Noche” (1994). In 2011, she was honored with a Golden Ariel for her lifetime achievements.

But it was Ms. Murguía’s role in the 2018 Oscar-winning animated film “Coco” that brought her to a global audience.

‘Coco’ puts a fresh face on the dependable Pixar formula

The story, based on the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos, follows a young boy as he accidentally crosses into the realm of the dead. At the end of the film, as he is reunited with his elderly great-grandmother, voiced by Ms. Murguía, the pair sing together.

Their duet, “Remember Me,” won an Academy Award for best original song, while “Coco” won best animated feature film.

Featuring an almost entirely Latino cast, “Coco” was Pixar’s first movie with a minority lead character, according to the Associated Press, and was the highest grossing film in Mexico’s history when it came out. A Washington Post review at the time praised the production as an “animated celebration of Mexican culture and traditions.”

“Acting has been my passion, I feel very lucky,” Ms. Murguía said in April, when she received the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Ingmar Bergman Medal for her acting achievements.

“When you have a passion for something, you don’t let go of it,” she continued. “If you work and give what you can, there are people who recognize it. That’s wonderful. My life has been very good.”

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