Roseanna Christiansen, Teresa the Maid on ‘Dallas,’ Dies at 71

Roseanna Christiansen, who took care of the Ewing family’s sprawling Southfork ranch as the maid Teresa on the final nine seasons of the blockbuster CBS primetime soap opera Dallas, has died. She was 71.

Christiansen died July 14 at Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster, California, her husband, Steven Rizzo, told The Hollywood Reporter. No cause of death was revealed.

Christiansen joined the David Jacobs-created series in 1982 for its sixth season and remained through the 14th and final season in 1991. She recurred on 112 episodes, with Tony Garcia as Raoul the butler giving her character a hand. 

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Right before Dallas, she played another maid on three 1981 episodes of another hit CBS show, The Jeffersons

Her character, Carmen, was hired by George (Sherman Hemsley) and Louise (Isabel Sanford) after Florence (Marla Gibbs) quit. In reality, Gibbs had exited to star in her own spinoff, Checking in, but that sitcom lasted just four episodes, paving the way for Gibbs to return to maid duty on The Jeffersons.

Roseanna Christiansen and Marla Gibbs on a 1981 episode of ‘The Jeffersons.’

CBS/Courtesy Everett Collection

The fourth of four children, Roseanna Campos was born at Bellevue Hospital in New York on March 11, 1951. She appeared in an off-off-Broadway play with her brother, Victor, when she was 9.

She graduated from Mater Christi High School in Astoria, Queens, in 1969, then moved to Los Angeles in 1973 to pursue her dreams of becoming an actor. Her first big break came with The Jeffersons.

Christiansen met Rizzo at bible study in Culver City, not far from the Sony studios where Dallas was taped, and they married in June 1989. Survivors also include their children, Josiah and Grace, and her sister, Elba.

A memorial service was being held Saturday at Heritage of Faith Christian Center in Crowley, Texas. 

Christiansen was an ordained minister and an acting coach. Through her school Action! Acting, she guided thousands of students during her career.

“Many of her students refer to their private sessions as their ‘therapy sessions,’” her husband said. “Though in years her life was too short, she spent enough time here to plant the seeds of love, encouragement and beauty into everyone she met.”

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