James Brolin

Elena Verdugo, one of TV's first professional Latinas as nurse in 'Marcus Welby, M.D.', dies at 92

Elena Verdugo, one of TV's first professional Latinas as nurse in 'Marcus Welby, M.D.', dies at 92

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...

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