Shelley Morrison, ‘Will and Grace’ Star, Dies at 83

Veteran character actress played Karen’s maid Rosario

shelley morrison
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Shelley Morrison, a veteran character actress best known for playing Karen Walker’s maid Rosario Salazar on the NBC sitcom “Will and Grace,” died Sunday at age 83.

She died of heart failure after a brief illness at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, her publicist said in a statement.

Originally cast as the maid of Megan Mullally’s spoiled Karen Walker for a single episode, she parlayed it into a recurring role in 68 episodes of the NBC sitcom between 1999 and 2006. She was part of the cast that was twice nominated for a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, in 2002 and 2004.

Morrison first rose to fame in the late 1960s in the hit sitcom “The Flying Nun,” in which she played a malaprop-prone Puerto Rican nun opposite Sally Field’s high-flying novice.

A native Spanish speaker who was born in the Bronx to Sephardic Jews, Morrison first broke out playing Native Americans in Western TV shows in the ’60s like “Laredo.”

She also appeared in films like 1968’s “How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life” with Dean Martin and “Funny Girl” with Barbra Streisand. Other big-screen credits include 1989’s “Troop Beverly Hills” and 1997’s “Fools Rush In.”

But Morrison is best known for playing the no-nonsense, overqualified maid Rosario on “Will and Grace.” Though she did not reprise her role when NBC rebooted the show two years ago, she did make a cameo appearance in a November 2016 webisode to support Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Sean Hayes paid respect to Morrison, who he said had “the biggest heart.”