Will & Grace star Shelley Morrison dies aged 83

Will & Grace star Shelley Morrison, who is best known for playing Karen’s maid Rosario Salazar, has died aged 83.

Shelley passed away on Sunday from heart failure, following a brief illness, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles.

The actress’ death was confirmed by her publicist and Shelley’s husband of 46 years, Walter Dominguez, issued a statement to People magazine, which spoke of her pride to have starred in Will & Grace for eight seasons.

Shelley appeared on the much-loved US series from 1999-2006.

It read: ‘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 the best way to change hearts and minds was through comedy.’

According to Variety, Shelley was originally down to appear in just one episode of Will & Grace, but Rosario was so well-received with audiences, thanks to her onscreen relationship with Megan Mullally’s Karen Walker, that she went on to appear in 68 episodes.

Fans saw Will & Grace return to screens following a reboot in 2018 and while Shelley was reportedly asked to reprise her role as Rosario, she chose not to as she had retired from acting.

Megan, who worked closely alongside Shelley, remembered her co-star on Twitter. She tweeted: ‘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.’

Debra Messing, who plays Grace Adler in the show, shared a throwback clip of a scene she filmed with Shelley in tribute to the star.

She penned: ‘Oh, Shelley… what a loss. 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. #shelleymorrison.’

Eric McCormack (Will Truman) added: ‘Shelley was a beautiful soul and 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.’

Sean Hayes, who played Jack McFarland, also paid tribute to ‘hilarious’ Shelley in a sweet Instagram post.

He wrote: ‘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 entire family.’

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