She was born in Seville in 1935 and graduated in Arts and Humanities before starting a fruitful career as an Art History teacher at several secondary education schools in her hometown.
In the 1950s her calling as an actress was awakened by her participation in various university theater groups, although her first professional role for the cinema took place in the 1988 production ‘Pasodoble’ (José Luis García Sánchez). After that She would be cast in films such as ‘Malaventura’ (Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, 1988), ‘Belle Époque’ (Fernando Trueba, 1992), ‘On Earth as It Is in Heaven’ (José Luis Cuerda, 1995), ‘Freedomfighters’ (Vicente Aranda, 1996) or ‘Yerma’ (Pilar Távora, 1998), before her life took a turn with the new millennium.
As a stage actress she made her debut in 1990 with García Lorca’s ‘The Love of Don Perlimplín and Belisa in the Garden’ before playing a role in ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ (1992), and in ‘Assemblywomen’, directed by Juan Echanove, among other productions. In 1999, a few months before her retirement as a teacher, ‘Solas’, Benito Zambrano’s debut feature, was released. She won her the Goya Award for Best Supporting Actress while her impressive acting work turned her into an indelible face in Spanish cinema. After that, she participated in films like ‘Fugitives’ (Miguel Hermoso, 2000), ‘Roma’ (Adolfo Aristarain, 2004), ‘María querida’ (José Luis García Sánchez, 2005) or ‘Tapas’ (Juan Cruz and José Corbacho, 2005).
Her popularity skyrocketed in September 2001, when Spain’s public broadcaster TVE premiered the first episode of the series ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’, where she has since then played endearing grandmother Herminia in the longest-running series in the history of Spanish television.
The recipient of the Medal of Andalusia in 2000 and the Gold Medal for Merits in the Fine Arts awarded by the Ministry of Culture in 2004, she has won an Ondas Prize in 1999, the award for Best Actress at the Tokyo International Film Festival (2000), the Union of Actors Award for Best Supporting Actress (2001), and the Family Film Award (Golden Wave) for her Human and Professional Life Achievement in film