Whenever you hear the song “America” from West Side Story, no doubt Rita Moreno comes to mind. Moreno’s ‘Anita’ won her the Oscar and stardom. She is in the exclusive club of artists that have won the grand slam of arts awards including an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony…plus a Golden Globe and the National Medal of Honor.
At 80, Moreno is still singing, dancing, acting and writing. Performing since the age of 7, Rita was discovered by Louis B. Mayer, the famed filmmaker of old Hollywood who remarked upon seeing her that she looked like a ‘Spanish’ Elizabeth Taylor. Moreno was in her late teens/early twenties when she was rubbing shoulders with the greats of old Hollywood- Clark Gable, Yul Brynner, Gene Kelly, Marlon Brando- and yes, Elizabeth Taylor, too.
Last year Moreno starred in her autobiographical one-woman show, Life Without Makeup, to rave reviews at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Earlier this month she released Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Born Rosa Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico, her mother moved the family to New York City when she was 3. She takes us on her life journey once again- as an immigrant, as a starlet, and as a heartbroken young woman. To say she was involved with bad boy Marlon Brando is an understatement; infidelity, an unwanted pregnancy, and a suicide attempt made for good tabloid fodder publicly but privately it was a source of much pain.
Get the book and read all about Rita.