Liz Torres at the 1994 Emmy Awards
September 27, 1947
Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, singer, comedian|
|Spouse(s)||Peter Locke (?-present)|
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 1975 she also recorded a disco music single called "Hustle Latino" on RCA Records (RCA 10519) arranged, conducted and produced by Michael Zager and appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand to perform the number. 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 (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.
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 played "Mom" in the 2005 film West of Brooklyn. In theater, she has appeared in The Ritz as Googie Gomez, Man of La Mancha as Aldonza, in House of Blues as Bunny, and in A Million To Juan in 1994 as Mrs Delgado.
Torres resides in Los Angeles, California, where she is a member of the board of directors of Write Act Repertory. She is married to the movie producer and founder of The Kushner-Locke Company, Pete Locke
For the fictional character, see Elizabeta Torres (Grand Theft Auto IV).
- For the house-music singer, see Liz Torres (singer).