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...