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Diane Rodriguez, Influential Voice In LA Theater, Has Died At 68

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Diane Rodriguez (Courtesy of Center Theatre Group)

Diane Rodriguez, a leading light of the local and national theater community, has died following a long struggle with cancer.

Her death was confirmed in a press release issued by Center Theater Group, where she served for 24 years on the artistic staff.

Rodriguez, a San Jose native, was an actor, playwright, producer and director who got her start withEl Teatro Campesino.

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She was appointed to the National Council on the Arts by former President Barack Obama. She was also a former president of the national service organization, Theater Communications Group.

Rodriguez had recently suffered a stroke. She was 68 years old.

Luis Valdez, founder and artistic director of El Teatro Campesino, where Rodriguez got her start. called her "an unforgettable and beloved member" of their theater's family.

"Her power as an artist came from the heart," Valdez said in a statement, "which she shared onstage as well as in life, by generating the collective spirit that creates theatre. The arc of her evolution as an artist and as a representative of the American theatre will give hope and inspiration to new generations of theatre artists."