LOS ANGELES — Actress Carmen Zapata, who responded to the dearth of challenging roles for Latinos by launching a bilingual theater company in Los Angeles four decades ago, died Sunday at her Van Nuys home. She was 86.

The veteran of TV, stage and film, whose credits include parts on prime-time hits like “Trapper John, M.D.” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” had heart problems, said Lina Montalvo, managing director of the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts.

She produced more than 80 plays for the foundation, which runs a theater in a small former jailhouse in Lincoln Heights and has trained scores of actors, directors, set designers and other theater professionals.


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