Tuesday, May 1, 2018


For the Television Crossover Hall of Fame's Queen of May 2018, we pay tribute to the late Elena Verdugo, who passed away last year....

From the L.A. Times:
When ABC first offered her a role on a upcoming prime-time television show about a warm family practitioner who still made house calls, Elena Verdugo could see where it was all headed.

"They were looking for a Mexican girl," she recalled. "And I said, 'Forget it. I'm not playing maids and housekeepers.' You know, that's all that they were showing."

But Consuelo Lopez on "Marcus Welby, M.D." was a level-headed, no-nonsense nurse and Verdugo jumped at the chance to play the character, slowly retrofitting it into what was one of the first portrayals of a professional Latina in a prime-time television series.

After the first season, she opted to eliminate an opening scene that showed her dutifully serving Dr. Welby a cup of coffee when he strolled into the office. And as time went on, she pushed for her role to more closely resemble the hands-on, front-line work of a skilled nurse, rather than a multi-tasking secretary.

"She was as American as apple pie," she said of her character in an interview with PBS. "But she had this Mexican — a little bit of fire — beneath it all."

The show lasted seven seasons and capped a decades-long career for Verdugo that began when she was a teen.

She was twice nominated for an Emmy for the role.

Here are the appearances she made as Consuelo Lopez which have earned her a place in the Hall of Fame:

'Marcus Welby, M.D.' 169 episodes 

'Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law' 
- "Men Who Care: Part 2" (1971) 
- "I've Promised You a Father: Part 2" (1974)

"The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D." (TV Movie)

And so we salute the memory of Elena Verdugo with this tribute to Consuelo Lopez who was a Toobworld pioneer.

And for alls I know, Ms. Lopez is still alive in the TV Universe (not that we would ever see again.....)

Welcome to the Hall, Ms. Lopez!

1 comment:

Gary R. Peterson said...

I would be a lone no-vote against Verdugo. I just never liked her character, but fortunately she was almost always incidental to the plot.

I'd start a hall of fame for Peggy Fair Politically Correct Casting award winners, as Peggy and Consuela were each cast in the wake of the 1968 assassination of MLK, to which TV reacted by increasing the visibility of minorities, even anachronistically like in THE WILD WILD WEST's final season. Mrs. Livingston on THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE's FATHER would be another contender. Nothing against them as actresses, just that their roles were more about the message than the character.

Interestingly, MARCUS WELBY'S primary competition--MEDICAL CENTER--had Hispanic actress Corinne Camacho in a recurring role as Dr. Jeanne Bartlett, at least in the first season (the only one I've seen). Attention was never drawn to her ethnicity that I remember.

I really enjoyed the many pictures you had accompanying this post, almost all of which were new to me. I do love MARCUS WELBY and wish they'd continue releasing seasons on DVD. MEDICAL CENTER and even THE BOLD ONES: THE NEW DOCTORS are available in their entirety now.