Mexican actress and comedian Maria Elena Velasco, best known for her character “The Indian Maria,” has died at age 74.
The Mexican film institute announced through its Twitter account that Velasco, also a screenwriter and director, died Friday, but did not specify the cause.
Velasco’s “La India Maria,” which exaggerated stereotypes about Mexico’s indigenous people, became one of the most recognizable characters in Mexican film, dressed in colorful blouses and full skirts with her hair in braids.
“La India Maria,” often accompanied by her faithful donkey “Filemon,” sometimes illustrated the journey from her native village to the big city and the inevitable comic situations that followed.
Velasco started her career performing on stages in Mexico City. Her popularity eventually carried her to film fame and a long run on television.