Shelley Morrison, the character actress best known for playing Karen’s feisty maid Rosario Salazar on Will & Grace, has died
Morrison died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure.
Morrison’s character Rosario was played opposite socialite Karen Walker, (Megan Mullally) in the original run of the popular TV series from 1999 to 2006.
Morrison said in a biography released by her agent.
“Rosario is one of my all-time favorite characters. 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,”
Morrison was born as Rachel Mitrani on October 26, 1936 in the Bronx to Jewish Spanish parents, according to the biography. Spanish was her first language.
She worked for more than six decades, guest starring in more than 150 television series. Besides her role as Rosario, Morrison was probably best known for playing Sister Sixto on The Flying Nun alongside Sally Field in the 60s.
In 1973 she met Walter Dominguez, a writer, whom she married. Through Dominguez, she became interested in Native American traditions, specifically the Lakota Sioux.
The couple adopted six children through a traditional Native American ceremony. Dominguez, the children and numerous grandchildren survive her.
She’d battled health problems over the years and was a breast and lung cancer survivor. A statement released by DeWaal said:
“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. 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.”
Shelley Morrison was 83.
Below is Rosario’s message to Jack & Karen from beyond the grave on the Will & Grace reboot.
(Photo screen grab, via CNN)