Megan Mullally Tweets Her Heart Is ‘Heavy’ Over The Death Of Actress Who Played ‘Will & Grace’s’ Beloved Latina Character
For eight seasons, fans of the late 90s sitcom “Will & Grace” tuned in to watch the friendship between two friends Will Truman and Grace Adler. During the course of its original eight-year run, one character, in particular, managed to capture the hearts of the show’s audience. Rosario Inés Consuelo Yolanda Salazar had initially been created to appear just once on the now-iconic series but was so well-received by the show’s audience that the series brought her on as a semi-regular character. Today, fans of the series and Rosario are in mourning after family members of the actress behind the beloved character, Shelley Morrison revealed that she had passed away over the weekend.
Shelley Morrison, the actress behind “Will & Grace’s” beloved character died Sunday morning at age 83.
According to a report by the New York Times, the American theater and television actress had been admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for heart failure after a brief illness. Morrison’s acting career spanned the length of 64-years and included roles on “The Flying” Nun in the late 1960s which starred Sally Field. She also made appearances on shows such as “Murder She Wrote,” “L.A. Law,” “Home Improvement” and “Columbo.”
According to The New York Times, Morrison’s husband Walter Dominguez said in a statement that “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.”
Morrison, whose parents were Spanish immigrants, became famous for portraying one of television’s most recognizable Latinas.
During her time on “Will & Grace” Morrison starred as Rosario Salazar, Karen Walker’s, Megan Mullally, maid. The show’s character was from El Salvador and drew laughs for her part in constantly standing up to her socialite boss, Karen who had paid Rosario $350,000 per year. The beloved Rosario character appeared in 68 out of the show’s 233 episodes. She was not featured in the series’ revival after Morrison turned down offers to return because she had retired from acting.
According to The New York Times, Morrison had described Rosario as one of her 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.”
Members of the “Will & Grace” cast offer their condolences to Morrison’s family on social media soon after her death was announced.
Debra Messing who starred as Grace Adler on the show took to Instagram on Sunday writing “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.”
Eric McCormack also posted on social media about Morrison’s death.
In a tweet posted from his Twitter account, McCormack wrote “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.”
In a separate post, Sean Hayes, who played Jack McFarland on the series described Morrison as having “the biggest heart.”
“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 husband, Walter and her entire family.”
Morrison’s co-star Megan Mullally also commented on her death describing her heart as “heavy” over the news.
“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,” the actress wrote.
Morrison was born Rachel Mitrani on October 26, 1936 in the Bronx to Jewish Spanish parents.
According to her biography, Spanish was her first language and she became interested in Native American traditions through her husband who is a writer. Sparked from her interest, Morrison and her husband adopted six children through a traditional Native American ceremony.
A statement released by Morrison’s publicist 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.”