Ontiveros passed away in July 2012 at age 69 -- much too early, to be sure. Yet she had an astounding career, especially in light of the limited roles available for Latino actors. So imagine my surprise when the Oscars did not include her in the "In Memoriam" segment.
It shouldn't have been so hard for somebody of Lupe's immense talents to be recognized and embraced. The fleeting moment of doubt that I had about Lupe's talents all those years ago is one of the reasons I do what I do today.
Lupe Ontiveros' great talent extended far past television, stage and motion pictures. Indeed, she was a fine actress, but more than that, she was a woman of great action. And she was my friend for more than 20 years.
I spoke with the stars from Our Family Wedding, which centers on the marriage between a young African American man and a Latino bride, and asked them to weigh in on the genre and anything I could think of.