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Elizabeth “Liz” Torres (born September 27, 1947) is an American actress, singer, and comedienne of Puerto Rican descent. Torres was born in the Bronx borough of New York City where her parents had settled after moving from Puerto Rico. There she received her primary and secondary education. Torres started her career as a comedian and singer working the city’s night club circuit with her friend Bette Midler. In 1971, she was spotted doing one of her acts by the producer of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show and invited her to do a stand-up comedy skit on the show. After that, she appeared on other television comedy shows such as All in the Family. In 1973, she played Morticia in The Addams Family Fun House, which was a musical version of the original series. She also appeared as a regular on Phyllis, Cloris Leachman’s spin-off series from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, from 1975 to 1976, replacing Barbara Colby in the role of Julie Erskine. In early 1981, she also co-starred opposite Marla Gibbs in the sitcom Checking In, a short-lived spin-off of The Jeffersons.
Torres has made over a hundred television guest appearances on such shows as Ally McBeal and The Nanny; and has played recurring characters on a number of television series. In 1990, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance as Angie in the 1989 television comedy series The Famous Teddy Z, and received a Bravo Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Comedy Series. After a guest star appearance as a deceased singer-turned-angel on the Donald P. Bellisario series Quantum Leap, Torres had a recurring role on another Bellisario show, Tequila and Bonetti, as a psychic who hears the dog Tequila’s thoughts.
In 1993, she became a series regular when cast as Mahalia Sanchez in The John Larroquette Show, a role for which she received an Emmy and Golden Globe Award nomination. Torres also received two nominations for the American Comedy Award for the Best Television Performance.
From 2000 until the series’ 2007 end, she was a semi-regular cast member of Gilmore Girls, on which she played Stars Hollow’s resident dance teacher, Miss Patty (real name Patricia LaCosta), a flamboyant former Broadway dancer who was married four times and was acquainted with stars such as Bette Davis, but who was later more interested in town gossip.
In 2007, she became a recurring cast member on Ugly Betty, in which she plays Evelyn, Wilhelmina Slater’s longtime housekeeper, whom Wilhelmina just met for the first time after having hired her in 1994.
On May 17, 2009 Torres guest starred as Connie Solis on Desperate Housewives.
Films and live appearances
She made her film debut in 1969 playing a prostitute in a low-budget movie titled Utterly Without Redeeming Social Value. She has had roles in over 50 films since then. She recently played “Mom” in the 2005 film West of Brooklyn. On Broadway, she appeared in The Ritz as Googie Gomez, Man of La Mancha as Aldonza, and in House of Blues as Bunny, A Million To Juan 1994 as Mrs Delgado.
Torres performed for King Hassan II of Morocco, and was invited to the White House by President Jimmy Carter for America’s first National Hispanic Week Celebration. Torres resides in Los Angeles, California, where she is a member of the Board of Directors of Write Act Repertory. She is also married to the movie producer and founder of The Kushner-Locke Company, Pete Locke.