Rita Moreno is a singer, dancer, and actress from Puerto Rico. She is one of the few artists and the only Hispanic to have won an EGOT (Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony), the collective term for having won all four major yearly American entertainment awards. She is the second Puerto Rican to receive an Oscar.
In movies like The Toast of New Orleans, Singin’ in the Rain, Summer Smoke, The Night of the Following Day, Carnal Knowledge, and The King and I, Moreno has appeared in minor roles. She was cast as Anita in the 1961 motion picture adaption of the classic musical West Side Story. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work.
Rita Moreno has also received praise for her work on the HBO dramas The Electric Company and Oz. She has made guest appearances in popular TV shows like Miami Vice, The Rockford Files, The Love Boat, The Cosby Show, and The Golden Girls.
Rita Moreno’s Early Life and Career Beginnings
Rita Moreno was born as Rosa Dolores Alverío Marcano on December 11, 1931 in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Rosa Maria, her mother, was a seamstress, while Francisco José Alvero, her father, was a farmer. Francisco is their younger brother of Moreno. Moreno went to New York City with her mother as a child.
She immediately began taking dance lessons from a Spanish dancer upon her arrival. At the age of 11, Moreno provided her voice for Spanish-language dubbings of American films. She made her Broadway debut in “Skydrift” at the age of 13, attracting the attention of Hollywood talent scouts. Moreno resided during this time in Valley Stream, Long Island.
In the latter years of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Moreno began her career in motion pictures. In 1950, she made her film debut, starring in three films, two of which were MGM musicals entitled “The Toast of New Orleans” and “Pagan Love Song.” Moreno played silent cinema star Zelda Zanders in the 1952 musical comedy “Singin’ in the Rain” with Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen.
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Throughout the 1950s, Moreno continued to produce a large amount of work, making appearances in a variety of movies, including “The Fabulous Senorita,” “Fort Vengeance,” “Latin Lovers,” “Jivaro,” “Untamed,” “The Vagabond King,” and “The Deerslayer.” She thought she was being typecast in stereotyped Hispanic characters at this time, which made her feel primarily uneasy about her roles. One exception was her supporting part as a Burmese concubine in “The King and I.”
In 1961, Moreno got her most well-known part as Anita in the motion picture adaption of the Broadway musical “West Side Story.” Ten Academy Awards were later given to the movie, with Moreno winning Best Supporting Actress. The actress subsequently went on a self-imposed exile from Hollywood after appearing in “Summer and Smoke” and “Cry of Battle.”
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She had a comeback in 1969 with three movies: James Garner and Marlon Brando’s neo-noir “Marlowe,” which also starred her, the dramedy “Popi,” in which she co-starred with Alan Arkin, and the Marlon Brando crime movie “The Night of the Following Day.”
“Carnal Knowledge” and “The Ritz” are only a couple of Moreno’s well-known 1970s credits. She was in movies like “Age Isn’t Everything,” “I Like It Like That,” “Angus,” and “Slums of Beverly Hills” in the 1990s after only acting in two movies in the 1980s. “Blue Moon,” “Piero,” “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,” “Remember Me,” and Steven Spielberg’s 2021 adaptation of “West Side Story” are among Moreno’s more recent filmography credits.
Career in Television
In the 1950s, Moreno made appearances on shows like “Trackdown,” “Fireside Theatre,” “China Smith,” “General Electric Theater,” “Cavalcade of America,” and “Climax!” Following that, she appeared in “Richard Diamond, Private Detective,” “Zorro,” “Adventures in Paradise,” “Burke’s Law,” and “Run for Your Life,” among other films. A prominent cast member on the PBS children’s show “The Electric Company” from 1971 to 1977 gave Moreno one of her most enduring performances.
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She not only said the show’s infamous opening phrase, “Hey, you guys!” but also took on the roles of Pandora, Otto, and Millie, among others. Moreno made a significant appearance on “The Muppet Show” in the 1970s as well, for which he was recognized with an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. Through this process, she achieved the EGOT—Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony—becoming just the third person to do so. The very following year, she won another Emmy for her guest appearance on “The Rockford Files.”
Moreno played the lead character in the sitcom “Happily Divorced” from 2011 to 2013. She later played the matriarch of a Cuban-American family in a major role in the remake of the sitcom “One Day at a Time.” On the animated shows “Nina’s World” and “Elena of Avalor,” Moreno has also voiced characters.
Rita Moreno’s Personal Life
Rita Moreno was the mother of Rosa Maria’s first-born child. They left their younger brother Francisco behind when she and her mother relocated to New York in 1936.
Rita Moreno has a dramatic love life. She spent eight years in love with godfather star Marlon Brando and briefly became pregnant with his child. Rita was not interested in having Marlon Brando’s child, but, as a result of his adultery, and a failed abortion resulted in a depression that prompted Rita to attempt suicide.
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She continued to be friends with Kenneth Tynan, Elvis Presley, Dennis Hopper, and Anthony Quinn. Moreno soon found love with her manager Leonard Gordon, and the two were married in 1965. They have a daughter named Fernanda Luisa Fisher. Gordon passed away in 2010, ending their union. Even though they had been married for a long time, things were not always happy. Rita acknowledged that there were times when she considered leaving the marriage but ultimately changed her mind. Justin and Cameron Fisher’s grandmother is Rita Moreno.
Career in Theater
Broadway shows like “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “Gantry,” and “The Ritz” featured Moreno on stage. She received the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress for the latter. Later, Moreno appeared in a Chicago production of “The Odd Couple” with female actors.
Rita Moreno’s Wealth
Rita Moreno has an estimated net worth of $10 million thanks to her illustrious career and award-winning movies, which have given her the ability to generate money. She has amassed a sizeable fortune thanks to her work on films including The Electric Company, HBO’s OZ, and classics like The King and I and West Side Story.
Frequently Asked Question
Where Is the Birthplace of Rita Moreno?
Rita Moreno was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico.
How old is Rita Moreno?
90 years (December 11, 1931)
Even at the age of 87, Moreno has received numerous lifetime achievement awards and is still going strong. She now plays Lydia on the Netflix series One Day at a Time, and in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming 2020 remake of West Side Story, she will both executive produce and appear.
Who Was the Love of Rita Moreno’s Life?
In contrast to her ex-boyfriend Marlon Brando, Rita Moreno views her late husband Lenny Gordon, with whom she shared a 45-year marriage, as the love of her life. She said to Hoda Kotb, “Oh. He was the object of my life’s lust.
What Was Marlon Brando’s Ethnicity?
Frances (1922-1994) and Jocelyn (1919-2005) Brando were his two older sisters. The majority of his ancestors were German, Dutch, English, and Irish. His patrilineal immigrant ancestor Johann Wilhelm Brandau traveled from the German Palatinate to New York City in the early 1700s.