We have lost another beloved actress as movie and TV star Shelley Morrison has sadly passed away. Perhaps best known for appearing on the comedy series Will & Grace, Morrison died on Sunday from heart failure after a brief illness at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 83 years old.
Born Rachel Mitrani in 1936, Shelley Morrison began her acting career in the early '60s. Some of her earliest roles included playing the American Indian, Linda Little Trees, in the NBC western series Laredo along with the Puerto Rican nun, Sister Sixto, in the Sally Field show The Flying Nun. She would then spend the next several decades acting on both the big and small screens, appearing in dozens of different roles.
Of course, Morrison is very well-known for her role as the El Salvador maid Rosario Salazar on Will & Grace. Originally, the role was only meant to be used for a single episode of the sitcom, but her chemistry with Megan Mullally - who played her boss Karen on the show - garnered such a positive reaction that the decision was made to keep the character around permanently. Appearing in 68 episodes, Rosario was involved in many key storylines, one of which saw her marrying Karen's gay friend Jack to prevent her deportation. Ultimately, Morrison would play Rosario from 1999 to 2006, briefly reprising the role in a 2016 Will & Grace webisode.
Some of Morrison's Will & Grace co-stars have since responded to the news of her passing. Debra Messing (Grace Adler) referred to Morrison as "a kind soul with a huge heart and always had a smile on her face." Eric McCormack (Will Truman) echoed these thoughts, calling Morrison a "beautiful soul & a wonderful actor." Additionally, Sean Hayes (Jack McFarland) says Morrison "was absolutely hilarious and had the biggest heart," and Megan Mulally (Karen Walker) adds that the late actress "accomplished wonderful things in this world" and will be missed. Any fan of Will & Grace and Morrison's other work would certainly agree.
When the time came to revive Will & Grace in 2017, Morrison had retired as an actress and was unable to be involved with the series. To explain her absence, the Rosario character was revealed in the revival series to have died from a heart issue, which would turn out to be the way she left us in real life as well. At the time, an entire episode of the new Will & Grace was dedicated to Morrison and the Rosario character, so Morrison was able to see just how much the people she used to work with really enjoyed having her as a part of the comedy series.
Morrison is survived by her husband of more than 40 years, Walter Dominguez, who said in a statement that the actress was most proud of "playing the indomitable Rosario in a comedy series that furthered the cause of social equity and fairness for LGBTQ people." He added: "She believed that the best way to change hearts and minds was through comedy." Certainly, Morrison has brought joy to a lot of people for many years, and she will undoubtedly be very missed. Rest in peace. This news comes to us from The Associated Press.