Elizabeth Larrieu "Liz" Torres (born September 27, 1947) is an American actress, singer, and comedian. Torres is best known for her role as Mahalia Sanchez in the NBC comedy series The John Larroquette Show (1993-1996), for which she received two Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe Awards nominations. She is also known for her role as Patricia "Miss Patty" LaCosta in The WB family drama series Gilmore Girls (2000-2007).
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 The Tonight Show and invited her to do a stand-up comedy skit on the show. She made her film debut in 1969 playing a prostitute in a low-budget movie titled Utterly Without Redeeming Social Value.
In 1973, Torres played Morticia in The Addams Family Fun House, which was a musical version of the original series. From 1975 to 1976, she was regular cast member on the CBS sitcom, Phyllis, Cloris Leachman's spin-off series from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 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. She also had the recurring role on All in the Family as Teresa, the boarder at the Bunker house, and guest starred in Love, American Style, Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, Knots Landing, Tracey Takes On..., Ally McBeal and The Nanny.
In 1990, Torres was nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance on The Famous Teddy Z. In theater, she has appeared in The Ritz as Googie Gomez, Man of La Mancha as Aldonza, in House of Blue Leaves as Bunny, and in A Million To Juan in 1994 as Mrs Delgado. After a guest starring appearance as a deceased singer-turned-angel on the Donald P. Bellisario drama 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. From 1993 to 1996, she starred as Mahalia Sanchez in the NBC sitcom The John Larroquette Show. For her role, she received two Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Golden Globe Award nominations. Torres also received two nominations for the American Comedy Award for the Best Television Performance.
In 1997, Torres co-starred alongside Annie Potts in the short-lived CBS sitcom, Over the Top. She later co-starred on First Monday and American Family. 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. Torres later guest starred in Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, Scandal and Devious Maids.
Liz Torres reunited with her friends of Stars Hollow in "Gilmore Girls, A Year In The Life" in 2016
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 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.