Tributes flow after death of ‘Will & Grace’ star Shelley Morrison

will and grace rosario jack
Photo: NBC Universal

Actress Shelley Morrison, best known for playing Rosario on iconic sitcom Will & Grace, has died at 83.

Morrison died on Sunday at a Los Angeles hospital from heart failure after a brief illness, publicist Lori DeWaal told US media.

The actress, who had a 50-year career in TV and film, played Karen Walker’s maid Rosario Salazar in Will & Grace‘s original run from 1998 to 2006.

Originally, Rosario was to only appear in a single episode. However, the character had such great chemistry with Megan Mullally’s Karen that Morrison stole the show in 68 episodes over eight seasons.

“Rosario is one of my all-time favourite characters,” the actress was quoted as saying recently.

“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.”

The actress did not appear in the Will & Grace revival, which began in 2017, after she had retired.

However one moving episode in the revival’s first season did see Rosario die offscreen, with Karen coming to grips with her death and breaking down at her funeral.

Shelley Morrison is survived by her husband of more than 40 years, Walter Dominguez.

“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,” Dominguez said.

“She believed that the best way to change hearts and minds was through comedy.”

Will & Grace co-stars and fans pay tribute to Shelley Morrison

Morrison’s Will & Grace co-stars and fans of the show paid tribute to her on social media.

“Our beloved Shelley Morrison passed away today. She was absolutely hilarious and had the biggest heart,” Sean Hayes wrote on Instagram.

“She was a part of our Will and Grace family and will be greatly missed.”

Megan Mullally tweeted that her “heart is heavy” after receiving the news.

“Thank you for your friendship and partnership, Shell. You accomplished wonderful things in this world. You will be missed.”

shelley morrison rosario will and grace karen walker megan mullally

Eric McCormack wrote on Twitter, “Shelley was a beautiful soul and a wonderful actor. Her work as Rosario, season after season, was as nuanced and real as it was hysterical.

“Everyone at #WillandGrace will miss her, she’s a huge part of it. Sending so much love to Walter and Shelley’s whole family.”

Debra Messing also shared, “Our dear Rosario has passed on. Shelley had a career that spanned decades, but she will always be our dear Rosie.

“She was a kind soul with a huge heart and always had a smile on her face.”

See the Will & Grace cast’s tributes below:

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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