Ana Ofelia Murguía, Mexican Actress and Voice in Coco,’ Dies, 90

Ana Ofelia Murguía, one of Mexico’s most acclaimed actresses, whose voice acting as Mama Coco in the animated movie “Coco” brought her international recognition, died on Sunday. She was 90.

Her death was confirmed by Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts and National Theater Company, which did not specify the cause of death.

The National Theater Company described Murguía on social media as “one of Mexico’s greatest actresses.” In a statement, Lucina Jiménez López, the director of the National Institute of Fine Arts, described her career as one that “marked an entire era.”

In the 2017 film “Coco,” made by Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios, Murguía plays the key role of Mama Coco, the great-grandmother of a boy, the protagonist Miguel, who finds himself in the land of the dead on a journey to uncover his family’s history. At the emotional climax of the film, Miguel and Mama Coco sing the song “Remember Me” together.

The movie, which is built around the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead, was celebrated for its portrayal of Mexican culture and its handling of weighty subjects like death in a children’s movie. It won best animated featured and best original song, for “Remember Me,” at the 2018 Oscars.

“Coco” introduced Murguía to a global audience, but she was well-known in her home country of Mexico long before.

Ana Ofelia Murguía was born on Dec. 8, 1933, in Mexico City. She studied acting at Mexico’s National School of Theater Arts and made her debut in 1954 in the play “Trial By Fire.” Her first screen role was in the 1964 film “Transit.”

She would go on to appear in more than 70 plays and 90 films, working with some of Mexico’s best filmmakers. Hailed for her versatility, she often played the role of the villain or antagonist, according to a statement from the Institute of Fine Arts and National Theater Company.

At Mexico’s prestigious Ariel awards, Murguía won best supporting actress for her performances in “Cadena Perpetua,” in 1979; “Los Motivos de Luz,” in 1986; and “La Reina de la Noche” (The Queen of the Night), in 1996. She was nominated for best actress five times but never won. In 2011, she was recognized with a Golden Ariel special lifetime achievement award.

In April 2023, she was awarded the Ingmar Bergman Medal from the National Autonomous University of Mexico for leaving an “indelible mark” on Mexican film and theater.