Has worked part-time as a social worker.
Graduate of Texas Women's University, with majors in psychology and social work.
Has three sons.
She estimates she has played a maid in at least 150 films or plays. She narrated a documentary, Maid in America.
She is best known in the Latino community for her portrayal of Yolanda Saldivar, the murderer of Selena in the movie Selena, and to Anglo audiences as the housekeeper on Goonies (1985).
Two of Lupe's three sons are hearing impaired. Lupe, as a young woman, worked in her own mother's small factory for a few months with women not unlike those working in the sweatshop in Real Women Have Curves (2002).
On July 26, 2012, Ontiveros passed away from liver cancer in Los Angeles.