The Working Actor EDITOR'S INTRO
This is the forty ninth in a continuing feature at IndustryCentral profiling "The Working Actor". (See Archives below)
William Shakespeare said "There are no small parts--.". William Shatner may have said it too, but the longhair with the tights was first, or so the reports go. In this feature we will explore what it really means to be an actor working in Motion Pictures and Television.
Broad public acknowledgment may have eluded some who find their way to these pages, or perhaps they may have brushed against what is referred to as stardom by virtue of one or more remarkable performances. However for many, the rewards of plying their craft in a field which has allowed them to earn a living may exceed the burdens of public acclaim. Given the chance, some in this clan might prefer the longevity offered by anonymity over the potential for short lived fame.
These individuals, either by design or fate, have managed to sustain a career by crafting performances which rendered them a good casting choice. They are usually thought of as a face you recognize, but you just can't get the name past the tip of your tongue.
Most of these folks have spent countless hours on stage in theaters ranging from 20 seats to 2000, building characters from the works of Ibsen, to Eliot, to Williams, to yes even Shakespeare, and so many of the modern Playwrights. They have rounded their skills doing drama, comedy, & musicals. Their work is a serious venture.
These people have given us screen performances which quite often were the catalyst that brought an Oscar or Emmy to another and yet they continue to work as "Characters" or "Co-Stars" without the trophies and plaques adorning their mantle.
Shelley Morrison
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A fter more than forty years in show business, actress Shelley Morrison, who plays the wisecracking Rosario on the hit NBC series "Will and Grace," has more than her share of stories. This veteran of the big and small screen has also augmented her professional life with ties to her family and community that have made her a compelling person as well as a skilled performer.

Born in the South Bronx, Morrison, a Sephardic Jew of Spanish descent, moved with her family to Los Angeles as a child, and still lives in the apartment building that her father owned and managed six decades ago. The young Morrison worked consistently in film and television in the 1960s, playing the memorable Sister Sixto on the series "The Flying Nun" and appearing alongside the late Gregory Peck in the western "MacKenna's Gold."

After putting her career on the back burner to marry Walter Dominguez (the two celebrate their 30th anniversary this year), Morrison made a comeback after the age of 50, highly unlikely for a future grandmother who likes to knit in her spare time. A series of guest-starring roles on a number of series in the 80s and 90s eventually lead to her landing the role of Rosario, which has earned her Emmy and SAG Awards (for Outstanding Ensemble) and numerous other nominations, including an ALMA Nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Morrison now practices the spiritual tradition of the Lakota Sioux, is a tireless worker for charity (L.A. Shanti, one of the city's oldest charities for AIDS victims; and A.N.G.E.L.S Day, to help senior citizens and their animal companions), and takes pride in portraying an older, Hispanic woman who is tough, smart and can hold her own. Recently, she and a number of other "celebrity knitters" including Elizabeth Taylor and "Will and Grace" co-star Debra Messing, knitted original blankets for a sale to benefit the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund. Morrison even received a commendation from the city for her effort to preserve her neighborhood during the 1992 riots that destroyed a shopping mall just behind her home. She has also survived two bouts with cancer, and retains a spirit of peace and optimism that is as infectious as her winning smile.

Don Gerler
Don Gerler Agency
3349 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Suite 1
Los Angeles, CA 90068
(323) 850-7386

Lori DeWaal & Associates
7080 Hollywood Blvd., Ste. 515
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323-463-3792 - Fax

Shelley Morrison's advice to the aspiring actor:

" Remember always that it's about the work itself, not celebrity. Be the best actor you can be; study hard, develop your craft. Network with other actors, writers, and directors to be on the lookout for good material and opportunities. Go to independent film festivals, meet filmmakers. Keep learning and honing your craft. If acting is your real passion, you won't give up. "

Shelley Morrison's Credits (partial)
  • "Will & Grace" (1998) TV Series - playing Rosario Salazar McFarland (1999- )
  • Fools Rush In (1997) - playing Aunt Carmen
  • Cries from the Heart (1994) (TV)
  • Columbo: It's All In the Game (1993) (TV) - playing Nick's Maid
  • Love, Lies, and Murder (1991) (TV) - playing Yolanda Brown
  • Troop Beverly Hills (1989) - playing Rosa
  • Kids Don't Tell (1985) (TV) - playing Carol
  • Max Dugan Returns (1983) - playing Mother
  • "General Hospital" (1963) TV Series - playing Mrs. Ramirez (1982)
  • "Once an Eagle" (1976) (mini) TV Series
  • Conspiracy of Terror (1975) (TV) - playing Mrs. Kojovs
  • The Night That Panicked America (1975) (TV) - playing Toni
  • Devil Times Five (1974) - playing Ruth
  • The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped (1974) (TV) - playing Louise
  • Blume in Love (1973) - playing Mrs. Greco
  • Lassie: A New Beginning (1973) (TV) - playing Lena
  • Breezy (1973) - playing Nancy Henderson
  • Stand Up and Be Counted (1972) (uncredited) - playing Bit Part
  • Man and Boy (1972) - playing Rosita
  • Three's a Crowd (1969) (TV) - playing Mona
  • Mackenna's Gold (1969) - playing Pima squaw
  • Three Guns for Texas (1968) - playing Linda Little Trees
  • How to Save a Marriage (And Ruin Your Life) (1968) - playing Marcia Borie
  • "The Flying Nun" (1967) TV Series - playing Sister Sixto (1967-1970)
  • Divorce American Style (1967) - playing Jackie
  • Castle of Evil (1966) - playing Lupe Tekal d'Esperanza

  • "2001 ALMA Awards" (2001) (TV) - playing Presenter
  • "Prey" (1998) - playing "Blanca"
  • "Nothing Sacred" (1997/I) in episode: "Parents and Children"
  • "Home Improvement" (1991) - playing "Gail"
  • "Live Shot" (1995) - playing "Rosa Sandoval"
  • "L.A. Law" (1986) - playing "Mrs. Escala"
  • "Sisters" (1991) - playing "Juanita"
  • "Murder, She Wrote" (1984) - playing "Maria"
  • "Sisters" (1991) in episode: "Good Help Is Hard to Find"
  • "The Fanelli Boys" (1990) - playing "Mrs. Goldblume"
  • "1st & Ten" (1984) - playing "Mama Voytok"
  • "Soap" (1977) - playing "The Maid"
  • "The Rookies" (1972)
  • "Marcus Welby, M.D." (1969)
  • "The Partridge Family " (1970)
  • "Gunsmoke"
  • "My Favorite Martian" (1963) - playing "Narita"
  • "Laredo" (1965) - mulyiple episodes
  • "Fugitive, The" (1963) - playing "Ginny"
  • "Dr. Kildare" (1961) - playing "Mrs. Ruiz"

  • "The Mikado"
  • "Time Out for Ginger"
  • "Romeo & Juliet"
  • "Pal Joey"
  • "Born Yesterday"
  • "Wedding Breakfast"
  • "West Side Story"
  • "Tender Trap"
  • "Illustrious Uncle"
  • "Picnic"
  • "Oh, Men! Oh, Women!"
  • "The World of Sholem Aleichem"
  • "Anastasia"
  • "Come Back Little Sheba"
  • "Cotton Candy"
  • "Juno and the Paycock"
  • "A streetcar Named Desire"
  • "Point of View"
  • "Desk Set"
  • "Confidencial Clerk"
  • "Sweet Bird of Youth"
  • "Pygmalion"
  • "The Odd Couple"
  • "The Crucible"
  • "Bus Stop"
  • "The Parsley Life"
  • "Zoo Story"
  • "The Would-be Gentleman"
  • "Only in America"
  • "Rashomon"
  • "Comedy of Errors"
  • "El Camino Real"
  • "Coney Island of the Mind"
  • "Tiger at the Gates"
  • "Spring's Awakening"
  • "Last of the Aztecs"
  • "The Rose Tatoo"
  • "Hamlet"
  • "Orpheus Decending"
  • "Country Girl"
  • * Nominated for SAG Award: Best Ensamble 4 times. Won once - "Will & Grace"
    * Nominated for ALMA Award: Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress - "Will & Grace"
    * Listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who of Hispanic Women, Who's Who of American Women.

    For more info and credits see IMDb

    -- End ---

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