Shelley Morrison, the actress who was best known for playing maid Rosario Salazar on Will & Grace, died on Sunday, December 1. She was 83.
Morrison’s publicist, Lori DeWaal, confirms to Us Weekly that the star died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness.
“Shelley’s greatest pride as an actress was in playing the indomitable Rosario in a comedy series that furthered the cause of social equity and fairness for LGBTQ people,” Morrison’s husband of 46 years, Walter Dominguez, said in a statement. “She also took pride in portraying a strong, loving yet feisty Latina character. She believed that the best way to change hearts and minds was through comedy.”
Morrison played Rosario on Will & Grace from 1999 to 2006. The character was originally written for a single episode but became so popular with viewers that she ended up appearing in 68 episodes during the NBC sitcom’s original run. She did not reprise her role in the reunion series, which premiered in 2017.
“Rosario is one of my all-time favorite characters,” Morrison said recently. “She reminds me a lot of my own mother, who loved animals and children, but she would not suffer fools. It is very significant to me that we were able to show an older, Hispanic woman who is bright and smart and can hold her own.”
Prior to Will & Grace, the Bronx, New York, native famously played Sister Sixto on The Flying Nun opposite Sally Field from 1967 to 1970. She also guest-starred on TV shows including Laredo, The Fugitive, L.A. Law and Murder, She Wrote in the 1960s.
Morrison worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood during her six-plus-decade acting career. She starred alongside Dean Martin in How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life, Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, Gregory Peck in Mackenna’s Gold, Shelley Long in Troop Beverly Hills and Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry in Fools Rush In.
Morrison announced her retirement in 2017, five years after her last acting credit for voice work in the movie Foodfight!
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