Carmen Zapata, best known for her stage work and various roles on popular television shows, has passed away at the age of 86.

According to various reports, the actress died on Jan. 5 due to heart problems at her Van Nuys-area home.

Carmen was not only an accomplished performer but she also co-founded the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts in Los Angeles in 1973 to help promote Hispanic writers in an effort to find them more jobs.

BFA’s current marketing manager, Luis Vela, said of the late actress, “She was an inspiration to me. She taught me that art is the key to resolving differences in the community.”

The Emmy nominee began her career on the stage in 1945, performing in famous shows such as “Oklahoma,” “Bells Are Ringing” and “Guys and Dolls.” Her long list of movie credits include “Sister Act,” “Gang Boys” and “Carola.”

Carmen also had continuing roles on the series “The Man and the City” and “The New Dick Van Dyke Show.”

Over the last couple of years, Carmen had put her Bilingual Foundation first, approving and supervising various projects put on by the organization. The group produces four plays a year, which are performed in a 99-seat theater. The productions alternate between English and Spanish.

The actress’ last credited role was in a 2002 TV movie.