Award-winning Mexican actress Ana Ofelia Murguia, of Disney's 'Coco,' dead at age 90

January 3, 2024
by
Ben Marquis

A beloved elderly member of the Disney and Pixar families has passed away, leaving colleagues and fans in mourning.

Mexican actress Ana Ofelia Murguia, best known for voicing the character Mama Coco in the 2017 animated Disney/Pixar film "Coco," died over the weekend at the age of 90, according to NPR.

No cause of death has been revealed thus far and it is unclear if her passing was due to natural causes or if she had been battling any illness.

Best known for role in Disney/Pixar's "Coco"

The grim news was announced Sunday morning on social media by Mexico's National Institute of Fine Arts, which expressed its "deep sadness" and "regret" that Murguia had died.

The post stated that Murguia's "artistic career was vital for the performing arts of Mexico," and added, "We send condolences and warm hugs to [her] family and friends."

Born in Mexico City in 1933, Murguia was a star in Mexico for decades but gained an international boost to her popularity late in life when she voiced Mama Coco, an elderly woman suffering from memory loss who, with help from her musically-inclined great-grandson, ultimately remembers her father and other family members.

The "Remember Me" song in the animated film sung by the two characters won the 2017 Oscar award for Best Original Song.

Decades-long career on stage, TV, and film

According to Murguia's IMDb page, the Mexican actress had over 100 acting credits to her name between 1967 and 2018, with the vast majority being appearances in Mexican films and TV series, including recurring roles in the 1990s in serial dramas like "El Abuelo y Yo," "Te Dejare de Amar," and "El Amor de Mi Vida."

NPR reported that her acting career began on the stage in 1954 in a theatrical performance and the Associated Press reported that Murguia appeared in around 70 plays and 90 films throughout her decades-long career.

In response to the news of her death, Mexico's Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto Guerrero said, "She leaves an enormous void on our country’s sets."

Award-winning actress

In addition to winning an Oscar in 2017 for the song in "Coco," Variety reported that Murguia had won several Ariel awards -- the Mexican equivalent to the Oscar -- during her career, including for Best Supporting Actress in 1979, 1986, and 1996, as well as a special Golden Ariel lifetime achievement award in 2011.

She was further honored for her life's work in the entertainment industry in 2023 when the National Autonomous University of Mexico bestowed upon her the Ingmar Bergman Medal, according to NPR.

Displaying her typical humble nature at that event, Murguia professed to be "exhausted" by all of the attention and platitudes she'd received, asked "Why me?" concerning the esteemed award, but nonetheless accepted it with grace and gratitude and told the crowd that it was a "marvelous thing" for her hard work to have been noticed and appreciated.

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