January 18, 2020

Shelley Morrison, ‘Will & Grace’ Actress, 83

Shelley Morrison, best known for playing the Salvadoran maid on the long-running NBC sitcom “Will & Grace,” died Dec. 1. She was 83. 

Her publicist said she died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness.

Her character, Rosario, originally was written as a one-episode, guest-star role. However, her chemistry with Megan Mullally, who played her employer Karen Walker on the show, made her a fan favorite. Morrison went on to appear in 68 episodes over the series’ original eight-year run.

Morrison was born Rachel Mitrani on Oct. 26, 1936, in the Bronx, N.Y., to  Hortense, a homemaker, and Maurice Nissim Mitrani, a clothing manufacturer. Her parents
were Sephardic Jews originally from Spain. They moved to Los Angeles when Morrison was 10.

She studied acting at Los Angeles City College and landed small roles in sitcoms including a recurring role as Sister Sixto on “The Flying Nun.” Her 50-year career included appearances on shows such as “The Fugitive,” “L.A. Law” and “Murder, She Wrote.” Of her dozens and dozens of roles, 32 were maids or housekeepers. She told her agent not to put her up for any more of those roles when she was called for “Will & Grace.” Walter Dominguez, her husband of more than 40 years, said the role of Rosario was a favorite of Morrison’s: “She took pride in portraying a strong, loving yet feisty Latina character,” he said.