Spunky actress, singer and comedienne all rolled up into one, Puerto Rican-American Liz Torres was born in 1947, a native of the Bronx. She began her stand-up/singing career as a regular performing in various small NYC niteries. It wasn’t until she received an invite to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) that her comic career started blooming on TV and in film.
Liz has been a broadly familiar ethnic face on the sitcom circuit, having had regular or recurring parts in numerous series. In addition to regular roles on 70s TV variety shows for Melba Moore, Clifton Davis and Ben Vereen, she replaced the late Barbara Colby in the Mary Tyler Moore spinoff Phyllis (1975) starring Cloris Leachman following Colby’s tragic murder. A year later she joined the All in the Family (1971) cast for a season. Liz co-starred in a number of short-lived series such as Checking In (1981), The New Odd Couple (1982) and City (1990) before hitting paydirt and scoring multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her prime role of Mahalia on The John Larroquette Show (1993). She has continued to make the guest rounds on such popular series as Ally McBeal (1997), The Nanny (1993), Quantum Leap (1989), The Wonder Years (1988) and L.A. Law (1986), often providing some necessary comedy relief amid the drama, and she is a veteran of many mini-movies, both comedic and dramatic.
On Broadway, Torres replaced Tony-winning Rita Moreno as men’s bathhouse entertainer Googie Gomez in the wacky comedy “The Ritz” and portrayed the bizarre character of Bunny in “House of Blue Leaves.” The musical part of her has recorded for RCA and appeared in a number of stage roles that have ranged from Aldonza/Dulcinea in “Man of La Mancha” to lightweight roles in “Bye Bye Birdie” and “See Saw.”
She has provided amusing vignettes in such film comedies as The Odd Couple II (1998) starring the late Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, Sunset (1988) with Bruce Willis and Permanent Midnight (1998) showcasing Ben Stiller. She resides in Los Angeles, Calif.
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