Actress Shelley Morrison, who famously portrayed Will and Grace’s cranky maid Rosario Salazar, died on Sunday (December 1) at the age of 83. Morrison passed away due to heart failure after a brief illness at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, her publicist confirmed.
The actress was originally meant to only appear in one episode of the iconic LGBTQ-friendly comedy, but the chemistry between her and Megan Mullally, who played Susan, earned her a regular role. She appeared in 68 episodes over eight seasons in the original series.
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. pic.twitter.com/WeLGrWlRye
— Megan Mullally (@MeganMullally) December 2, 2019
“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,” her husband Walter Dominguez told ABC. “She believed that the best way to change hearts and minds was through comedy.”
The actors who portrayed the show’s titular characters, Eric McCormack and Debra Messing, mourned the loss of Morrison on Twitter.
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. All my love to Walter and the entire family. #shelleymorrison 😢 https://t.co/3cWY6gdCYQ
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) December 2, 2019
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 https://t.co/C1vkDTU6Qk
— Eric McCormack (@EricMcCormack) December 2, 2019
According to a statement and biography released, Morrison reminisced on the role of Rosario before her death.
“She reminds me a lot of my own mother, who loved animals and children, but she would not suffer fools,” she said of the character. “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.”