Rita Moreno, January 2008
|Born||Rosita Dolores Alverío
December 11, 1931
Humacao, Puerto Rico
|Occupation||Actress, singer, dancer|
|Spouse(s)||Leonard Gordon (1965-2010; his death; 1 child)|
Rita Moreno (born December 11, 1931) is a Puerto Rican singer, dancer and actress. She is the only Hispanic and one of the few performers to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards, which include an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony, and was the second Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award.
Moreno was born Rosa Dolores Alverío in the hospital at Humacao, Puerto Rico to Rosa María (née Marcano), a seamstress, and Francisco José "Paco" Alverío, a farmer. Moreno, whose mother was 17 at the time of her birth, was raised in nearby Juncos. Rita's mother moved to New York City in 1936, taking her daughter, but not her son, Rita's younger brother, Francisco. Rita would later adopt the surname of her first stepfather, Edward Moreno, Rosa Maria's second husband, by whom Rita would have a younger stepbrother, Dennis Moreno, who died in a car crash.
Rita began her first dancing lessons soon after arriving in New York with a Spanish dancer known as "Paco Cansino", who was a paternal uncle of film star Rita Hayworth. When she was 11 years old, she lent her voice to Spanish language versions of American films. She had her first Broadway role — as "Angelina" in Skydrift — by the time she was 13, which caught the attention of Hollywood talent scouts. She appeared in small roles in The Toast of New Orleans and Singin' in the Rain, in which she played the starlet "Zelda Zanders".
In March 1954, Moreno was featured on the cover of Life Magazine with a caption, "Rita Moreno: An Actresses' Catalog of Sex and Innocence". In 1956, she had a supporting role in the film version of The King and I as Tuptim, but disliked most of her other work during this period.
West Side Story and its aftermath
In 1961, Moreno landed the role of Anita in Robert Wise's and Jerome Robbins' film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein's and Stephen Sondheim's groundbreaking Broadway musical, West Side Story, which had been played by Chita Rivera on Broadway. Moreno won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for that role.
After winning the Oscar, Moreno thought she would be able to continue to perform less stereotypical film roles, but was disappointed.
"Ha, ha. I showed them. I didn't make another movie for seven years after winning the Oscar.... Before West Side Story, I was always offered the stereotypical Latina roles. The Conchitas and Lolitas in westerns. I was always barefoot. It was humiliating, embarrassing stuff. But I did it because there was nothing else. After West Side Story, it was pretty much the same thing. A lot of gang stories."
Besides appearing in Singin' in the Rain, The King and I, Summer and Smoke (1961), West Side Story, The Night of the Following Day (1968) and Carnal Knowledge (1971), Moreno appeared on the PBS children's series The Electric Company in the 1970s, most notably as Millie the Helper. In fact, it was Moreno who screamed the show's opening line, "HEY, YOU GUYS!" She also had roles as the naughty little girl Pandora, and as "Otto", the very short-tempered director. Moreno appeared in the family variety series The Muppet Show, and she made other guest appearances on television series such as The Rockford Files, The Love Boat, The Cosby Show, George Lopez, The Golden Girls, and Miami Vice. She was also a regular on the first season of the sitcom version of Nine to Five (based on the film hit) during the early 1980s.
Broadway and television
Moreno's Broadway credits include The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Gantry, The Ritz, for which she won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress, and the female version of The Odd Couple. In 1993 she was invited to perform at President Bill Clinton's inauguration and later that month was asked to perform at the White House. During the mid-1990s, Moreno provided the voice of Carmen Sandiego on the animated Fox show Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? In 1995, she co-starred with Charlton Heston, Mickey Rooney, Deborah Winters and Peter Graves in the Warren Chaney docudrama, America: A Call to Greatness.
In the late 1990s, she gained exposure to a new generation of viewers when she played Sister Pete, a nun trained as a psychologist in the popular HBO series, Oz. She made a guest appearance on The Nanny as Coach Stone, Maggie's (Nicholle Tom) tyrannical gym teacher, whom Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) also remembered from her school as Ms. Wickavich.
Performing in the 21st century
Moreno continues to be active on stage and screen. In 2006, she portrayed Amanda Wingfield in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's revival of The Glass Menagerie. She had a recurring role on Law and Order: Criminal Intent as the dying mother of Detective Robert Goren. She was a regular on the short-lived TV series Cane, which starred Jimmy Smits and Hector Elizondo. In 2011 she accepted the role of the mother of Fran Drescher's character in the TV sitcom Happily Divorced.
In September 2011, Moreno began performing a solo autobiographical show at the Berkeley Rep (theater) in Berkeley, California, Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup written by Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone after hours of interviews with Moreno.
Family and Personal Life
On June 18, 1965, Moreno married Leonard Gordon, a cardiologist who was also her manager. He died on June 30, 2010. They have one daughter, Fernanda Luisa Fisher, and two grandsons, Justin and Cameron Fisher.
In an interview with Good Day LA, Moreno stated that Elvis Presley was not a good lover. They dated for quite some time, but each time when the opportunity presented itself to take the relationship to another level, Elvis always backed off.
Among Moreno's awards and recognitions are the following:
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - "West Side Story" (1961)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - "West Side Story" (1961)
- "The Joseph Jefferson Award" Best Chicago Theatre Actress (1968)
- Grammy Award The Electric Company Album (1972)
- Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play - "The Ritz" (1975)
- Emmy Award for Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program (1977)
- Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress - Drama Series (1978)
- "The Golden Apple" Cue Magazine Award
- Library of Congress Living Legends Award, April 2000
- In 2000, the Hispanic Organization of Latin actresses (HOLA) renamed their Award for Excellence in her honor (now named HOLA Rita Moreno Award for Excellence)
- "The Sarah Siddons Awards" for her portrayal of Olive Madison in the female version of the Odd Couple
- "Special Recognition Award" from the International Latin Music Hall of Fame (2001)
- "Presidential Medal of Freedom" from President George W. Bush in June 2004
- Rita Moreno has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7083 Hollywood Blvd.
- On December 5, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Moreno into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts.
- In 2009, Rita Moreno was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.
- In 2010, the Hispanic Organization of Latin actresses (HOLA) honored her with an HOLA Lifetime Achievement Award
- The "Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award" (2013)
|1950||So Young So Bad||Dolores Guererro||as Rosita Moreno|
|1950||Toast of New Orleans, TheThe Toast of New Orleans||Tina|
|1950||Pagan Love Song||Terru|
|1952||The Ring||Lucy Gomez|
|1952||Singin' in the Rain||Zelda Zanders|
|1952||Fabulous Señorita, TheThe Fabulous Señorita||Manuela Rodríguez|
|1953||Fort Vengeance||Bridget Fitzgibbon|
|1953||Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation||Soubrette||uncredited|
|1953||Alaméin, ElEl Alaméin||Jara|
|1954||Yellow Tomahawk, TheThe Yellow Tomahawk||Honey Bear|
|1954||Garden of Evil||Cantina Singer|
|1955||Seven Cities of Gold||Ula|
|1956||Lieutenant Wore Skirts, TheThe Lieutenant Wore Skirts||Sandra Roberts|
|1956||King and I, TheThe King and I||Tuptim|
|1956||Vagabond King, TheThe Vagabond King||Huguette|
|1957||Deerslayer, TheThe Deerslayer||Hetty Hutter|
|1960||This Rebel Breed||Lola Montalvo|
|1961||West Side Story||Anita|
|1961||Summer and Smoke||Rosa Zacharias|
|1963||Cry of Battle||Sisa|
|1968||Night of the Following Day, TheThe Night of the Following Day||Vi|
|1976||Ritz, TheThe Ritz||Googie Gomez|
|1978||Boss' Son, TheThe Boss' Son||Esther Rose|
|1980||Happy Birthday, Gemini||Lucille Pompi|
|1981||Four Seasons, TheThe Four Seasons||Claudia Zimmer|
|1991||Age Isn't Everything||Rita|
|1994||I Like It Like That||Rosaria Linares|
|1995||Carmen Miranda: Bananas Is My Business||Herself||documentary|
|1995||America: A Call to Greatness||Herself||docudrama|
|1998||Slums of Beverly Hills||Belle Abromowitz||Nominated — ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film in a Crossover Role|
|1999||Carlo's Wake||Angela Torello|
|1999||Puerto Ricans: Our American Story, TheThe Puerto Ricans: Our American Story||Herself||documentary|
|2003||Casa de los Babys||Señora Muñoz|
|2003||Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of Mexico||Dona Dolores and Woman#3||voice|
|2003||Beyond Borders: John Sayles in Mexico||Herself||documentary|
|2004||King of the Corner||Inez|
|2006||Play It By Ear||Ruth|
|2013||Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks||Ida Barksdale||Currently filming|
|2014||Rio 2||TBA||Currently filming|
|1958||Father Knows Best||Chanthini||Episode: Fair Exchange (24 November 1958)|
|1971–77||Electric Company, TheThe Electric Company||Carmela
Otto The Director
Pandora the Little Girl, Millie the Helper
|1974||Dominic's Dream||Anita Bente|
|1974||Out to Lunch||Various||Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music|
|1976||Muppet Show, TheThe Muppet Show||Herself||
|1978||Rockford Files, TheThe Rockford Files||Rita Capkovic||
|1979||Anatomy of a Seduction||Nina|
|1979||Muppets Go Hollywood, TheThe Muppets Go Hollywood||Herself/Host||Special|
|1981||Evita Perón||Renata Riguel|
|1982–83||9 to 5||Violet Newstead|
|1982||Portrait of a Showgirl||Rosella DeLeon||Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie|
|1986||Golden Girls||Renee||Episode: "Empty Nest"|
|1987||Cosby Show, TheThe Cosby Show||Mrs. Granger||Episode: "You Only Hurt the One You Love"|
|1989–90||B.L. Stryker||Kimberly Baskin||2 episodes|
|1994||Nanny, TheThe Nanny||Miss Wickervich/Mrs. Stone||Episode: "The Gym Teacher"|
|1994–98||Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?||Carmen Sandiego||voice|
|1994–95||Cosby Mysteries, TheThe Cosby Mysteries||Angie Corea||2 episodes|
|1995||Wharf Rat, TheThe Wharf Rat||Mom|
|1995||Magic School Bus, TheThe Magic School Bus||Dr. Camrina Skeledon||Episode" "The Busasaurus"|
|1997–2003||Oz||Sister Peter Marie Reimondo|
|1998||Spree, TheThe Spree||Irma Kelly|
|2005||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Mildred Quintana||Episode: "Night"|
|2005||Law & Order: Trial by Jury||Mildred Quintana||Episode: "Day"|
|2006–07||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Frances Goren||3 episodes: "Endgame"; "The War at Home" and "Brother's Keeper"|
|2007||George Lopez||Luisa Diaz||Episode: "George Testi-Lies for Benny"|
|2007||Ugly Betty||Aunt Mirta||Episode: "A Tree Grows in Guadalajara"|
|2007||Cane||Amalia Duque||13 episodes|
|2010||In Plain Sight||Rita Ramirez||Episode: "Coma Chameleon"|
|2011||Special Agent Oso||Abuela||voice - Episode: "For Tamales with Love/Pinata Royale"|
|2011–present||Happily Divorced||Dori Newman|
|2013||Nicky Deuce||Tutti||TV Movie|
- List of famous Puerto Ricans
- List of Puerto Ricans in the Academy Awards
- List of people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award
- List of Puerto Rican Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
- History of women in Puerto Rico
- Speakers on healthcare
- Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Celebra (Penguin Group). 2013. ISBN 9780451416377.
- Rita Moreno profile at FilmReference.com
- Rita Moreno Interview 2000.
- Schallert, Edwin (March 22, 1950). "TV Tempts Crawford' Betty Garrett Ending MGM Pact; "Mother" Set". The Los Angeles Times.
- "Rita Moreno’s life laid bare in "Life without Makeup"". Berkeleyside. September 8, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- 1954 March 1 LIFE Magazine - RITA MORENO - Marilyn Monroe
- Rita Moreno at the Internet Movie Database
- Rita Moreno fan site
- "Rita Moreno overcame Hispanic stereotypes to achieve stardom". The Miami Herald. September 14, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- Mangan, Jennifer (May 4, 1994). "'Educating Rita". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- Internet Movie Database 
- All American Speakers
- Rita Moreno: 1931 — : Actress, Singer, Dancer - Demonstrated Versatile Talents
- "After Trying Hollywood, Brando and Suicide, Rita Moreno Has Settled Down". People. April 21, 1975. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- "Gordon, Leonard". San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Corporation). July 11, 2010. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
- LA Times
- Good Day LA Interview, August 6, 2013
- Moreno inducted into California Hall of Fame, California Museum, Accessed 2007
- White House Announces 2009 National Medal of Arts Recipients
- Rita Moreno to be Honored With SAG Life Achievement Award During the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Simulcast Live on TNT and TBS on Saturday, January 18, 2014
- "Father Knows Best, episode "Fair Exchange" (24 November 1958) at Internet Movie Database".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rita Moreno.|
- Rita Moreno at the Internet Broadway Database
- Rita Moreno at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Rita Moreno at the Internet Movie Database
- Rita Moreno Downstage Center XM Radio interview by the American Theatre Wing, January 2007, March 2007.
- Rita Moreno's interview for the Archive of American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
- TonyAwards.com Interview with Rita Moreno
- Rita Moreno Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America