Ms. Ontiveros was a founding member of the Latino Theatre Company in Los Angeles. She was announced as among the honorees for the sixth annual Los Angeles Theatre Center Gala, to be held at the Latino Theatre Company on Aug. 11. To television audiences, she was known as Juanita Solis, Gabrielle's suspicious mother-in-law, on "Desperate Housewives." She received an Emmy nomination for the role. Her films included "Selena," in which she played Yolanda Saldivar, who in real-life was convicted of killing Selena Quintanilla; "Chuck and Buck"; and "As Good As It Gets."
Racial typecasting often stymied the actress during her career. She estimated that she played a maid 300 times (including in "The Goonies"). In part because of her experience with this sort of role, she was cast as the narrator for the documentary "Maid in America."
She was born Guadalupe Moreno in El Paso, TX, on Sept. 17, 1942, and began acting relatively late, in 1972, when she answered a newspaper ad for movie extras.