Will & Grace
American actress Shelley Morrison is most popular to television viewers as El Salvadoran maid Rosario Salazar on the NBC comedy series “Will & Grace,” which she played from 1999 to 2006. For her good performance, she was nominated for ALMA Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and TV Land Awards. Her long list of television credits include appearing on “The Flying Nun” (1967-1970), “Laredo” (1965-1967), “The Rookies” (1972-1973), “General Hospital” (1982), “The Fanelli Boys” (1990), “Sisters” (1992-1993) and “Courthouse” (1995). More recently, she voiced Mrs. Portillo on several episodes of the award winning Disney animated series “Handy Manny” (2006-2007). Morrison has also acted in several films, including “Castle of Evil” (1966), “Divorce American Style” (1967), “Mackenna's Gold” (1969), “Troop Beverly Hills” (1989), “Fools Rush In” (1997) and “Shark Tale” (2004, voiced Mrs. Sanchez), as well as numerous stage productions. Early in her career, Morrison was occasionally credited as Rachel Dominguez.
Morrison has been married to Walter Dominquez since 1973. She is a breast and lung cancer survivor. She enjoys knitting, camping, crochet and caring for the couple's dogs.
In 2003, Morrison was arrested for shoplifting. Commenting about her arrest, she said, “I don't know why I did it. I remember buying the shoes and I remember walking outside and having three security people starting to yell at me to take off my jacket. They were taking these tacky things out of my jacket. It was stuff I wouldn't have bought and it was on sale and when they tallied it up it came to $98, but for some reason the store's policy was they were going to charge me full price. I've since seen therapists and they explained to me that I left no room for myself and sometimes the mind has a mini earthquake. I did a dumb thing that was so out of character.”
Childhood and Family:
Shelley Morrison was born Rachel Mitrani on October 26, 1936, in New York City, New York. She was the only daughter of Maurice Mitrani (died in 1967), a clothing manufacturer, and Hortense Mitrani (died in 1981). The family moved to California when Shelley was 10 years old. She studied acting at Los Angeles City College.
In 1973, Shelley married writer Walter Dominquez.
Shelley Morrison made her first television appearance in a 1962 episode of “Target: The Corruptors” called “The Malignant Heart.” She went on to appear in episodes of “The Outer Limits” (1963), “Dr. Kildare” (2 episodes, 1964-1965), “The Fugitive” (1965), “Gunsmoke” (1966), “My Favorite Martian” (2 episodes, 1966) and “Occasional Wife” (1966). From 1965 to 1967, she played the role of Linda Little Trees on the series “Laredo” (NBC), which starred Neville Brand, William Smith, Peter Brown and Philip Carey. Morrison, however, did not land her first regular role until she was cast as Sister Sixto, a nun in Puerto Rico trying to communicate with English-speaking Sister Bertrille (played by Sally Field), on the hit ABC sitcom “The Flying Nun,” an adaptation of Tere Rios' book “The Fifteen Pelicans.” The show ran from September 7, 1967, to September 18, 1970.
The actress made her feature acting debut on “Castle of Evil” (1966), a horror film directed by Francis D. Lyon that starred Scott Brady, Virginia Mayo and David Brian. It was followed by a part in Norman Lear’s “Divorce American Style” (1967). The satirical comedy film starred Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Reynolds, Jason Robards and Jean Simmons and was directed by Bud Yorkin. She next portrayed Marcia Borie in Fielder Cook's “How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life” (1968, starred Dean Martin), costarred in “Three Guns for Texas” (1968) and had a role in “Mackenna's Gold” (1969), a western film helmed by J. Lee Thompson that starred Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Telly Savalas, Camilla Sparv and Julie Newmar. Still in 1969, she made her TV movie debut in ABC’s “Three’s a Crowd,” opposite Larry Hagman, Jessica Walter and E.J. Peaker.
Morrison next portrayed Rosita in the film adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play “Man and Boy” (1971), which starred Bill Cosby and George Spell. The following years, she had an unaccredited part in Jackie Cooper's “Stand Up and Be Counted” (1972), starring Jacqueline Bisset, Stella Stevens and Steve Lawrence, played the role of Mrs. Greco in Paul Mazursky's “Blume in Love” (1973), starring George Segal, Susan Anspach and Kris Kristofferson, and supported William Holden, Kay Lenz and Roger C. Carmel in the Clint Eastwood directed “Breezy” (1973). She also maintained her small screen presence by guest starring in “Marcus Welby, M.D.” (1970-1972), “The Interns,” “The Bold Ones: The New Doctors” (both 1971), “The Partridge Family” (1972) and “The Streets of San Francisco” (1973) and had the two episode role of Mrs. Felker on “The Rookies” (1972-1973).
The rest of the decade found Morrison playing Louise on the ABC television film “The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped,” starring Karen Valentine, Richard Long and Tom Bosley, costarring with Sorrell Booke, Gene Evans and Taylor Lacher in the horror film “Peopletoys” (1974), featured as Tony in the Emmy Award winning drama “The Night That Panicked America” (1975), a dramatization of the panic caused by Orson Welles' “The War of the Worlds” radio broadcast, playing Mrs. Kojova in the NBC television movie “Conspiracy of Terror” (1975) and appearing in the seven part miniseries “Once an Eagle” (NBC, 1976). In addition, she guest starred in “Soap” (1977) and “240-Robert” (1979), had a small role in the TV film “Lassie: A New Beginning” (1978) and was featured with Billy Crystal and Alex Rocco in the comedy “Rabbit Test” (1978).
Morrison joined the cast of the long running daytime soap opera “General Hospital” in the recurring role of Mrs. Ramirez in 1982 and was featured as the mother in “Max Dugan Returns,” a film directed by Herbert Ross and written by Neil Simon, the following year. She went on to work with Michael Ontkean, JoBeth Williams and Leo Rossi in TV film “Kids Don't Tell” (CBS, 1985), play Mama Voytok in an episode of “1st & Ten” called “Land of the Free” (1987) and supported Shelley Long, Craig T. Nelson and Betty Thomas in the adventure comedy “Troop Beverly Hills” (1989), for director Jeff Kanew.
Entering the 1990s, Morrison appeared as Mrs. Goldblume in two episodes of the NBC sitcom “The Fanelli Boys” (both 1990). She also played Yolanda Brown in the fact based NBC murder miniseries “Love, Lies and Murder” (1991), had a recurring role in the NBC series “Sisters” (2 episodes, 1992-1993) and appeared in the CBS TV film “Cries from the Heart” (1994, starred Patty Duke, Melissa Gilbert and Bradley Pierce). In addition, she appeared in episodes of “Murder, She Wrote” (1992), “Johnny Bago” (1993), “Columbo” (1993), “L.A. Law” (1994) and “Live Shot” (1995). In 1995, she was cast as Nell on the CBS short lived sitcom “Courthouse,” starring Patricia Wettig, Annabeth Gish, Robin Givens and Bob Gunton. After the cancellation of show, she returned to the big screen with a small role in the Andy Tennant directed romantic comedy “Fools Rush In” (1997), starring Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek, and landed guest spots in “Home Improvement,” “Nothing Sacred” (both 1997) and “Prey” (1998).
In the late 1990s, Morrison's career gained a boost when she secured the noted role of Rosario Salazar, an El Salvadoran maid who marries flamboyant Jack (played by Sean Hayes) for a green card, on the sitcom “Will & Grace” (NBC, 1998-2006), starring Eric McCormack and Debra Messing. Originally a recurring character for the first two seasons, Rosario was promoted to a main character from the beginning of season three. The role brought Morrison ALMA nominations for Outstanding Actress in a Television Series (2001), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Series (2002) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Series (2006), two Screen Actors Guild nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2002 and 2004) and a TV Land nomination for Favorite Made-for-TV Maid (2006). While working on the show, Morrison also provided the voice of Mrs. Sanchez on the successful animated film “Shark Tale” (2004), which starred the voice of Will Smith as Oscar, Renée Zellweger as Angie, Jack Black as Lenny, Robert De Niro as Don Lino and Angelina Jolie as Lola. She also made a string of guest appearances on “Hollywood Square” between 2002 and 2004.
After the demise of “Will & Grace,” Morrison portrayed Maria an episode of “My Name Is Earl” called “South of the Border: Part Dos,” which aired on December 7, 2006. She then voiced the character Mrs. Portillo on the animated series “Handy Manny” (5 episodes, 2006-2007).
In addition to her television and film work, Morrison has performed on stage. In the early 1960s, she made a name for herself as the youngest theater producer in Los Angeles, with credits including “”Sweet Bird of Youth” and “Hamlet.” She has directed plays at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and acted in over 60 stage productions.