Fans are taking to social media this week to mourn the announcement of a beloved ‘Will & Grace’ actress who passed away on Sunday.
Shelley Morrison, who had a career that spanned over 50 years, is perhaps best known for her role as the maid on the quirky show. Sadly, she passed from heart failure on Sunday, according to a statement by her publicist.
Rosario, Karen Walker’s (Megan Mullally) maid from El Salvador, was original only written into a single episode of the show. But the back-and-forth between the two (drunk, rich, dramatic Karen and sassy, flat Rosario) had fans rolling, and due to popular demand, she became a regular.
By the end of the show’s original run in 2006, she was in 69 episodes of the show, giving Karen a hard time while doing her job.
When talking about the show with friends, apparently Morrison said that Rosario was “one of my 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.”
Mullally took to Twitter to share her grief on Morrison’s passing. “you accomplished wonderful things in this world. you will be missed.”
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
Eric McCormack, who plays Will on the show, has retweeted several stories about Morrison’s passing, including the breaking story on Sunday. With it, he said that “her work as Rosario, season after season, was as nuanced and real as it was hysterical.”
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
Debra Messing, who plays Grace, tweeted “what a loss … Shelley had a career that spanned decades, but she will always be our dear Rosie.”
Seeing such big stars feel so deeply and identify with Morrison’s family so strongly shows what a close cast it was. They all knew each other, knew each other’s family and lives.
According to her husband, Walter Dominguez, Morrison wasn’t just proud to be playing a strong Latino woman on-screen – she also loved the chance to change minds about the LGBTQ+ community.
“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 believed the best way to change hearts and minds was through comedy.”
Before Will & Grace, Morrison was best known for playing Sister Sixto on The Flying Nun in the late 1960s alongside Sally Field.
Morrison is survived by her husband of more than 40 years and their children. It’s a sad day not just for Will & Grace fans, but for the comedy community as a whole.