Shelley Morrison, the actress best known for playing Rosario Salazar in the original run of Will & Grace on NBC, has died at the age of 83.
Morrison’s character, Rosario Salazar, was the outspoken Salvadoran maid of Karen Walker (Megan Mullally), Grace’s (Debra Messing) assistant and friend. Will & Grace originally aired on NBC from 1998 to 2006.
Morrison died from heart failure on Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to her publicist Lori DeWaal.
She was a breast and lung cancer survivor. She underwent surgery for breast cancer in 1988 and 1998. She also underwent surgery for lung cancer.
According to a statement released by her family:
“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.”
Variety reports that co-creator Max Mutchnick said Morrison was asked to reprise her role as Salazar for the Will & Grace revival but she declined.
Friends and fans have been paying tribute on social media. Former Will & Grace cast members, including Megan Mullaly, Sean Hayes, and Debra Messing, paid tribute on Instagram.
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Shelley Morrison has passed. she was such an integral and important part of my experience at Will & Grace, and became a friend in the intervening years. she was loving, strong, supportive, and kind. she and her husband Walter Dominguez had a wonderful, loving, and inspiring 46-year marriage. he was always by her side. please put him and their children and grandchildren in your thoughts. i will miss you, Shelley. thank you for the years of partnership and for your friendship and support. te amo, mami.
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Oh, Shelley… what a loss. Our dear Rosario has passed on. Shelley had a career that spanned decades, but she will always be our dear Rosie. She was a kind soul with a huge heart and always had a smile on her face. All my love to Walter and the entire family. #shelleymorrison 😢
Who was Shelley Morrison?
Morrison started her acting career in the 1960s and appeared on numerous TV shows. She won a Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble in a comedy series along with the cast of Will & Grace.
Before she appeared on Will & Grace, Morrison was best known for her role as Sister Sixto on the late ’60s sitcom The Flying Nun, starring Sally Field.
She played minor roles in movies such as Mackenna’s Gold, Castle of Evil, Man and Boy, Troop and Beverly Hills, and Fools Rush In.
Morrison also appeared on TV shows such as Gun Smoke, The Farmer’s Daughter, Laredo, The Partridge Family, Three’s A Crowd, My Favorite Martian, and General Hospital.
She married the Mexican-American writer Walter Dominguez in 1973. She and Walter took an interest in the Lakota Sioux Native American culture and adopted six children.
Shelly Morrison is survived by her husband Dominguez, her children, and grandchildren.