Shelley Morrison, beloved Rosario from ‘Will & Grace,’ passes away at 83

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Shelley Morrison and Megan Mullally on ‘Will & Grace’ (Image via YouTube)

Shelley Morrison, the actress known to millions of “Will
& Grace” fans as Karen Walker’s fiesty maid Rosario, has passed away at 83.

Speaking to
, publicist Lori DeWaal said that Ms. Morrison died of heart failure on Sunday,
at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

Morrison, who was born in the Bronx in 1936, was the
daughter of Jewish parents who had immigrated from Spain. Her first language
was Spanish, and she frequently played Latina characters throughout her decades-long
acting career – like Sister Sixto on “The Flying Nun,” whose difficulties with
the English language were a running gag on the show.

It was on “Will & Grace,” however, that Morrison would reach
her greatest recognition; the no-nonsense Rosaio Salazar was originally written
as a one-episode walk-on, but her appearance proved so popular that she was quickly
upgraded to recurring status, becoming a fan favorite for the rest of the groundbreaking
series’ original run.

According to a statement from her husband, Walter Dominguez,
it was also the role that gave her the most satisfaction.

“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 L.G.B.T.Q. people,” Dominguez said. “She also took
pride in portraying a strong, loving yet feisty Latina character.”

also commented, “She believed that the best way to change hearts and minds was
through comedy.”

In a bio released by her publicist, Morrison said of the
character, “She reminds me a lot of my own mother, who loved animals and
children, but she would not suffer fools.”

Upon hearing of the actress’ death, her former castmates took to social media to pay tribute.

Megan Mullally tweeted a photo of Morrison, with the caption:

“just got a
bulletin on my phone that shelley morrison has passed. my heart is heavy.
putting shelley, her beloved husband walter & their children in the light.
thank you for your friendship & partnership, shell. you accomplished
wonderful things in this world. you will be missed.”

A Tweet from Eric
McCormick read:

“Shelley was a
beautiful soul & a wonderful actor. Her work as Rosario, season after
season, was as nuanced and real as it was hysterical. She will be missed by
everyone at #WillandGrace,
she’s a huge part of it. Sending so much love to Walter and Shelley’s whole
family. #Rosario

On Instagram,
Debra Messing posted a photo of Morrison as Rosario, with the caption:

“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”

Sean Hayes, in
his post of the same photo on Instagram, said:

“Such sad news. Our beloved Shelley Morrison passed away
today. She was absolutely hilarious and had the biggest heart. She was a part
of our Will and Grace family and will be greatly missed. My heart goes out to
her entire family.”

Ms. Morrison is survived by her husband and the six children
they adopted together through a traditional Native American ceremony.

The post Shelley Morrison, beloved Rosario from ‘Will & Grace,’ passes away at 83 appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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