Farewell to the Iconic Mamá Coco: Ana Ofelia Murguía Passes at 90
One of the most iconic movie moments for Latinos has undoubtedly been the animated film “Coco.” That’s why the community started 2024 in mourning after learning of the death of Mexican actress Ana Ofelia Murguía. She voiced the character of “Mama Coco,” and was one of the last members of Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema.
As reported by Mexican authorities, Murguía passed away on December 31 at the age of 90. Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts confirmed the news, although it did not provide further information on the cause of death.
“She leaves an enormous void on our country’s sets,” Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto Guerrero said in a statement.
Beyond “Coco,” Ana Ofelia Murguía leaves behind an undeniable legacy
Murguía came to international audiences for voicing Miguel’s great-grandmother in the Pixar animated film. Her duet on the song “Remember Me” merited the Oscar in 2017 for Best Original Song.
However, Ana Ofelia Murguía’s career spanned over five decades.
Born in December 1933 in Mexico City, Murguía was among the last surviving stars of the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.
The actress studied at the Escuela de Teatro del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. There, she was a student of the “father of Mexican theater,” Seki Sano. This period was crucial to her fruitful career on the stage.
Murguía made her theatrical debut in 1954 in “Trial By Fire,” a play based on Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” Thereafter, he had a long and successful career in theater, television, and film.
A multifaceted talent
Ana Ofelia Murguía was always attracted to a wide variety of roles. From villainesses in film noir movies to more optimistic roles in sentimental films, the actress undoubtedly had a multifaceted talent.
For example, in “Naufragio” (1978), Murguía played a mother longing for her son’s return home. But in “My Dear Tom Mix” (1992), Murguía transformed into a grandmother steadfast in her love for her favorite on-screen cowboy.
Subsequently, the actress rose to fame for roles in films such as “The Queen of the Night” (1994) as Doña Victoria and as Doña Amelia in “Nobody Will Speak of Us When We’re Dead” (1995).
Although she had very few leading roles in her long career, Murguía won the hearts of audiences and the industry for her work and humility.
Upon receiving the Ingmar Bergman Medal from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, which recognized her for leaving “an indelible mark” on Mexican film and theater, Murguía demonstrated her typical humility. Claiming to be exhausted by all the recognition and applause, Murguía asked, “Why me?”
Murguía took with her the record for most Ariel Award nominations for Best Actress without winning, having been nominated a total of five times. She also held, along with Isela Vega, the record for the most Ariel Award wins for Best Supporting Actress, with three and three other nominations.
Subsequently, the actress was awarded the special Ariel de Oro Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. In 2004, she won the Silver Mayahuel Award (Guadalajara Film Festival) for her career.
“This career has been my life,” Murguía said. “It has been the passion of my life. I’ve loved it.”
When graciously accepting the Ingmar Bergman medal, the actress told the crowd that if you work hard, there will be people who notice. “And that’s the marvelous thing,” she said.