May 8, 2016
Los Angeles, California, United States
Former radio host Tonita Castro waited until middle age to pursue an acting career but soon endeared herself to audiences with a string of charming and comedic roles. Born Maria Guadalupe Antonia Castro Rodriguez in Jalisco, Mexico, Castro moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s following the death of her father. She initially supported herself and her family with various factory, bartending and cleaning jobs. While attending night school to learn English, she landed a job as a newsreader at Radio Express and proved to be so popular that she was quickly promoted to co-host of the station's Spanish-language morning show, a role she then held for nearly two decades. Despite little acting experience, Castro then decided to follow her dreams of a Hollywood career. After making her on-screen debut in "The Shield" (FX 2002-08), she went onto land minor parts in romantic drama "English As A Second Language" (2005), the critically-acclaimed indie ensemble piece "Friends With Money" (2006) and detective series "Life" (NBC 2007-09). Castro then appeared as a fighter in the sketch comedy series "Little Britain USA" (HBO 2008) and as maid Dora in "The Sarah Silverman Program" (Comedy Central 2007-2010) before adding to her big-screen CV with small roles in "Funny People" (2009), "Imagine That" (2009) and "Sympathy For Delicious" (2010). She also popped up in guest roles on the likes of male-bonding sitcom "The League" (FX 2009-15), "State Of The Union" (Showtime 2008-2010) and serial-killer drama "Dexter" (Showtime 2006-2013). Castro then became synonymous with the housekeeping profession, playing Sue's downtrodden maid Imelda in the "Funk" episode of "Glee" (Fox 2009-2015), Esmerelda's brief replacement in "Two and a Half Men" (CBS 2003-2015) and Virginia's co-worker Carmela in "Raising Hope" (Fox 2010-14). Following roles in romantic comedy "Dorfman In Love" (2011), coming-of-age drama "Mosquita y Mari" (2012) and revenge thriller "Bad Ass" (2012), she nearly stole the show as Steve Carell's workhorse housemaid Elsa in "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World" (2012). After playing grief-stricken Fausta in the Matthew Perry comedy-drama "Go On" (NBC 2012-13), she landed her most high-profile role when she was cast as Eli's (Seth Green) no-nonsense housekeeper Edna in Seth MacFarlane's controversial sitcom "Dads" (Fox 2013-14 ). After that show was canceled, Castro returned to her chracter work, appearing in episodes of "Bella and the Bulldogs" (Nickelodeon 2015- ), "The Grinder" (Fox 2015- ) and "Life In Pieces" (CBS 2015-16). Tonita Castro died of cancer on May 8, 2016 at the age of 63.