BARRIO – María Salud Ramírez Caballero, the woman who inspired the character of “Mama Coco” in the Pixar movie Coco, died on Sunday at the age of 109 without Pixar ever recognizing her contribution to the film. The Mexican grandmother died in her hometown, Santa Fe de la Laguna, in Michoacán.
The town confirmed her passing and described her as a “tireless woman and life model” who inspired the “beloved character” of Mama Coco.
Ramírez Cabellero became known as “Mama Coco” in her community after the release of the film in 2017, as many neighbours quickly spotted the similarities between the Mexican grandmother and the character. Her family claims a team from Pixar visited the area to document the Day of the Dead traditions, photographed Caballero extensively, and lived with the family for a while. However, the studio never officially recognized the woman as an inspiration for the character.
Her granddaughter, Patty, confirmed that the family had stopped seeking recognition from Pixar five years ago. “The townspeople told us that they Pixar had photographed her in the square, and the church and some streets appear in the film.”
While she didn’t get the recognition many would’ve wanted for her, María Salud lived happily and was proud to have been the inspiration for the character who touched so many people’s hearts, spending her days sitting next to a giant movie poster, as tourists from across the world lined up to take a photo with her in exchange for a few pesos.
Rest in Paradise Maria.