Rita Moreno
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Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno face.jpg
Rita Moreno (2011)
Born
Rosa Dolores Alverío

(1931-12-11) December 11, 1931 (age 87)
OccupationActress, singer, dancer
Years active1943-present
Leonard Gordon
(m. 1965; died 2010)
Children1

Rita Moreno (born December 11, 1931) is a Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer. Her career has spanned over 70 years; among her notable acting work are supporting roles in the musical films The King and I and West Side Story, as well as a 1971-77 stint on the children's television series The Electric Company, and a supporting role on the 1997-2003 TV drama Oz.

Moreno is one of the few artists[1] to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards: an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony.[2] She is also one of 23 people who have achieved what is called the Triple Crown of Acting, with individual competitive Academy, Emmy and Tony awards for acting; she and Helen Hayes are the only two who have achieved both distinctions. She has won numerous other awards, including various lifetime achievement awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.

Early years

Moreno (birth name: Rosa Dolores Alverío Marcano [note 1])[3] was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, to Rosa María (née Marcano), a seamstress, and Francisco José "Paco" Alverío, a farmer. She was nicknamed "Rosita". Moreno, whose mother was 17 at the time of her birth, was raised in nearby Juncos.[4][5] Moreno's mother moved to New York City in 1936, taking her daughter, but not her son, Moreno's younger brother, Francisco. Moreno adopted the surname of her first stepfather, Edward Moreno, Rosa Maria's second husband. She spent her teenage years living in the villages of Valley Stream, New York on Long Island.[6]

Career

Early career

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.[7] 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.

Film

Rita Moreno, 1963

Moreno acted steadily in films throughout the 1950s, usually in small roles, including in The Toast of New Orleans (1950)[8] and Singin' in the Rain (1952), in which she played the starlet "Zelda Zanders". In March 1954, Moreno was featured on the cover of Life Magazine with the caption "Rita Moreno: An Actress's Catalog of Sex and Innocence".[9][10]

Moreno disliked most of her film work during this period, as she felt the roles she was given were very stereotypical. One exception was her supporting role in the film version of The King and I as Tuptim.[11]

In 1961, Moreno landed the role of Anita in Robert Wise 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 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for that role.[12]

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.[13]

Moreno had a major role in Summer and Smoke (1961), released soon after West Side Story. She did appear in one film during her self-imposed exile from Hollywood - Cry of Battle (1963) - although it had been filmed directly before and after she won the Academy Award.

She made her return to film in The Night of the Following Day (1968) with Marlon Brando, and followed that with Popi (1969), Marlowe (1969) with James Garner, Carnal Knowledge (1971) and The Ritz (1976). Another notable role was in the hit film The Four Seasons (1981). She has continued to work in film since then, including a small voice role in the 2014 film Rio 2, perhaps her most commercially successful film.

Moreno will star and executive produce along with Steven Spielberg the remake of West Side Story.[14]

Television

In 1959 Moreno appeared as Lola Montez on the TV western Tales of Wells Fargo in the episode "Lola Montez." [15]

From 1971 to 1977, Moreno was a main cast member on the PBS children's series The Electric Company. She screamed the show's opening line, "Hey, you guys!" Her roles on the show included Millie the Helper, the naughty little girl Pandora, and Otto, a very short-tempered director.

Rita Moreno has made numerous guest appearances on television series since the 1970s, including The Love Boat, The Cosby Show, George Lopez, The Golden Girls, and Miami Vice.

Moreno's appearance on The Muppet Show earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 1977.[16] As a result, she became the third person (after Richard Rodgers and Helen Hayes) to have won an Oscar (1962), a Grammy (1972), a Tony (1975), and an Emmy (1977), frequently referred to as an "EGOT".

She won another Emmy award the following year, 1978, this time a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress - Drama Series, for her portrayal of former call girl Rita Kapcovic on a three-episode arc on The Rockford Files.

She was a regular on the three season network run of 9 to 5, a sitcom based on the film hit, during the early 1980s.[17]

During the mid-1990s, Moreno provided the voice of Carmen Sandiego on Fox's animated series Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?[18] In the franchise's 2019 animated series, Moreno voices the character Cookie Booker.

In the late 1990s, Moreno played Sister Pete, a nun trained as a psychologist in the popular HBO series Oz, for which she won several ALMA Awards. She made a guest appearance on The Nanny as Coach Stone, Maggie's tyrannical gym teacher, whom Fran Fine also remembered from her school as Ms. Wickavich.[19]

She had a recurring role on Law & Order: Criminal Intent as the dying mother of Detective Robert Goren. She played the family matriarch on the short-lived 2007 TV series Cane, which starred Jimmy Smits and Hector Elizondo. She played the mother of Fran Drescher's character in the 2011-13 TV sitcom Happily Divorced.[20]

In 2014, Moreno appeared in the NBC television film Old Soul, alongside Natasha Lyonne, Fred Willard and Ellen Burstyn.[21] The film was intended as a pilot for a television series, but it was not picked up.

Moreno plays the matriarch of a Cuban-American family in the Netflix sitcom One Day at a Time, a remake produced by Norman Lear of Lear's 1975-84 sitcom. The first season premiered in January 2017. Critics overall praised the show, and especially the performances of Moreno and the series' star, Justina Machado.[22]

Theater

Moreno's Broadway credits include Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1969), the very short-lived musical Gantry (1970) and The Ritz, for which she won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress. She appeared in the female version of The Odd Couple[11] that ran in Chicago, for which she won the Sarah Siddons Award in 1985.[12]

In 2006, she portrayed Amanda Wingfield in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's revival of The Glass Menagerie.

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.[9]

Other

During the 1952 presidential election, Moreno supported Adlai Stevenson's campaign.[23]

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.[2]

She released an eponymous album of nightclub songs in 2000 on the Varèse Sarabande label, with liner notes by Michael Feinstein.[24]

In 2017, she and others contributed to Lin-Manuel Miranda's single "Almost Like Praying" where proceeds from the song went to the Hispanic Federation's UNIDOS Disaster Relief program to benefit those affected by Hurricane Maria that devastated the island of Puerto Rico.[25]

Personal life

Moreno was romantically involved with actor Marlon Brando.[26] It was a tumultuous relationship due to his infidelity. When Moreno became pregnant, Brando arranged for an abortion.[27] After a botched abortion, Moreno tried to commit suicide by overdosing on his sleeping pills.[27]

In interviews with Good Day LA (2013) and Wendy Williams (June 28, 2018), as well as her biography, Moreno stated that Elvis Presley was not a good lover. They dated for quite some time, but whenever the opportunity presented itself to take the relationship to another level, she said Presley backed off,[28] "like a baby brother who couldn't make interesting conversation."[29]

Moreno stated that theater critic Kenneth Tynan stalked her.[29][30]

On June 18, 1965, Moreno married Leonard Gordon, a cardiologist who was also her manager. He died on June 30, 2010.[31] They have one daughter, Fernanda Luisa Fisher,[12] and two grandsons, Justin and Cameron Fisher.[32] Moreno once considered leaving her husband but could not because she did not want to break up the family.[30]

Awards

Moreno in 2000
Photograph of President George W. Bush stands with Rita Moreno
Moreno with President Bush in 2004, prior to receiving the Medal of Freedom

Among Moreno's awards and recognition are the following:

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1950 So Young, So Bad Dolores Guererro Credited as Rosita Moreno
1950 The Toast of New Orleans Tina
1950 Pagan Love Song Terru
1952 The Ring Lucy Gomez
1952 Singin' in the Rain Zelda Zanders
1952 The Fabulous Senorita Manuela Rodríguez
1952 Cattle Town Queli
1953 Fort Vengeance Bridget Fitzgibbon
1953 Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation Soubrette Uncredited
1953 Latin Lovers Christina
1953 El Alamein Jara
1954 Jivaro Maria
1954 The Yellow Tomahawk Honey Bear
1954 Garden of Evil Cantina Singer
1955 Untamed Julia
1955 Seven Cities of Gold Ula
1956 The Lieutenant Wore Skirts Sandra Roberts
1956 The King and I Tuptim
1956 The Vagabond King Huguette
1957 The 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 The Night of the Following Day Vi
1969 Popi Lupe
1969 Marlowe Dolores Gonzáles
1971 Carnal Knowledge Louise
1976 The Ritz Googie Gomez
1977 Voodoo Passion
1978 The Boss' Son Esther Rose
1980 Happy Birthday, Gemini Lucille
1981 The Four Seasons Claudia Zimmer
1991 Age Isn't Everything Rita
1993 Italian Movie Isabella
1994 I Like It Like That Rosaria Linares
1995 Carmen Miranda: Bananas is My Business Herself Documentary
1995 Angus Madame Rulenska
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 The Puerto Ricans: Our American Story Herself Documentary
2000 Blue Moon Maggie
2001 Piñero Miguel's Mother
2003 Casa de los Babys Señora Muñoz
2003 Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of Mexico Dona Dolores and Woman No. 3 (voice)
2003 Beyond Borders: John Sayles in Mexico Herself Documentary
2004 King of the Corner Inez
2006 Play It By Ear Ruth
2014 Rio 2 Mimi (voice)
2014 Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks Ida Barks
2020 West Side Story Valentina Post-production; also executive producer

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1958 Father Knows Best Chanthini Episode: "Fair Exchange" (November 24, 1958)
1960 Bourbon Street Beat Manuela Ruiz Episode: "Suitable for Framing" (May 16, 1960)
1963 Burke's Law Margaret Cowls Episode: "Who Killed Julian Buck?" (October 18, 1963)
1971-1977 The Electric Company Carmela
Otto The Director
Pandora the Little Girl, Millie the Helper
Cast member
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
1975 Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Herself Episode #1399
1976 The Muppet Show Herself
  • Episode #1.5
  • Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music
1976 The Carol Burnett Show Herself (skit player) Episode #9.16
1978 The Rockford Files Rita Capkovic
1979 Anatomy of a Seduction Nina TV movie
1979 The Muppets Go Hollywood Herself/Host Special
1981 Evita Perón Renata Riguel TV movie
1982-1983 9 to 5 Violet Newstead
1982 Working Waitress
1982 Portrait of a Showgirl Rosella DeLeon Nominated--Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1986 The Golden Girls Renee Episode: "Empty Nests"
1987 The Cosby Show Mrs. Granger Episode: "You Only Hurt the One You Love"
1989 Miami Vice Congresswoman Madelyn Woods Episode: "Miami Squeeze"
1989-1990 B.L. Stryker Kimberly Baskin 2 episodes
1994 The Nanny Miss Wickervich/Mrs. Stone Episode: "The Gym Teacher"
1994-1998 Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? Carmen Sandiego (voice) Nominated--Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program (1995, 1996, 1997)
1994-1995 The Cosby Mysteries Angie Corea 16 episodes
1995 The Wharf Rat Mom
1995 The Magic School Bus Dr. Camrina Skeledon (voice) Episode: "The Busasaurus"
1997-2003 Oz Sister Peter Marie Reimondo
  • 55 episodes
  • ALMA Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series (1998-1999, 2002)
  • Nominated--ALMA Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series (2000-2001)
1998 The Spree Irma Kelly
1999 Resurrection Mimi
2003 The Guardian Caroline Novak Guest stars as Louisa Olsen's (Wendy Moniz) mother
2004 Copshop Mary Alice
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mildred Quintana Episode: "Night"
2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury Mildred Quintana Episode: "Day"
2006-2007 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"
2011-2013 Happily Divorced Dori Newman
2013 Welcome to the Family Lita Episode: "Date Night"
2013 Nicky Deuce Tutti TV movie
2014 Old Soul Rita TV movie
2015 Getting On Sister Lily Claire Episode: "Reduced to Eating Boiled Magazines and Book Paste"
2015-2019 Jane the Virgin Liliana De La Vega 5 episodes: "Chapter Eighteen", "Chapter Thirty-Three", "Chapter Thirty-Two", "Chapter Thirty-One", "Chapter One-Hundred"
Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series[41]
2015-present Nina's World Abuelita (voice)
2015 A Gift of Miracles Beverly TV movie
2016 Grey's Anatomy Gayle Episode: "Odd Man Out"
2016 Grace and Frankie Lucy Episode: "The Vitamix"
2017-present One Day at a Time Lydia Main cast
2018 Elena of Avalor Queen Camila (voice) 2 episodes
2019 Carmen Sandiego Cookie Booker Voice role

Note

  1. ^ This article uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Alverío and the second or maternal family name is Marcano.

See also

References

  1. ^ Nicole Lyn Pesce; Joe Dziemianowicz; Margaret Eby (March 3, 2014). "Oscars 2014: Bobby Lopez becomes youngest person to get an EGOT with Best Original Song win for 'Let It Go'". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ a b Speakers on healthcare Archived October 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine[better source needed]
  3. ^ "SAG Awards 2014: Rita Moreno receives lifetime achievement award"; New York Times
  4. ^ Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Celebra (Penguin Group). 2013. ISBN 9780451416377.
  5. ^ Rita Moreno profile at FilmReference.com
  6. ^ "Rita Moreno joining Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' remake". Newsday. November 27, 2018. Archived from the original on November 28, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ Rita Moreno Interview 2000 on YouTube.
  8. ^ Schallert, Edwin (March 22, 1950). "TV Tempts Crawford' Betty Garrett Ending MGM Pact; "Mother" Set". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ a b "Rita Moreno's life laid bare in "Life without Makeup"". Berkeleyside. September 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ 1954 March 1 LIFE Magazine - RITA MORENO - Marilyn Monroe
  11. ^ a b Rita Moreno on IMDb
  12. ^ a b c "Rita Moreno fan site". Archived from the original on December 23, 2013. Retrieved 2008.
  13. ^ "Rita Moreno overcame Hispanic stereotypes to achieve stardom". The Miami Herald. September 14, 2008. Retrieved 2011.
  14. ^ https://deadline.com/2018/11/rita-moreno-returns-to-west-side-story-egot-winner-to-play-the-role-of-valentina-in-steven-spielbergs-remake-1202509734/
  15. ^ From the World of Jason Bourne
  16. ^ https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/i-cant-stop-laughing-rita-moreno-remembers-singing-with-animal
  17. ^ Rita Moreno on IMDb
  18. ^ Mangan, Jennifer (May 4, 1994). "'Educating Rita". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010.
  19. ^ All American Speakers
  20. ^ Rita Moreno: 1931 -- : Actress, Singer, Dancer - Demonstrated Versatile Talents
  21. ^ Nellie Andreeva (February 8, 2014). "Rita Moreno to Co-Star in Amy Poehler's NBC Comedy Pilot 'Old Soul'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ "One Day at a Time: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. January 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
  24. ^ Rita Moreno, Varèse Sarabande 302 066 189 2 (2000)
  25. ^ Villafañe, Veronica. "Lin-Manuel Miranda Releases Star-Studded 'Almost Like Praying' Song For Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief". Forbes. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ "After Trying Hollywood, Brando and Suicide, Rita Moreno Has Settled Down". People. April 21, 1975. Retrieved 2011.
  27. ^ a b Cahalan, Susannah (February 17, 2013). "Rita Moreno tells all about her 'near-fatal' affair with Marlon Brando in memoir". New York Post.
  28. ^ Good Day LA Interview with Rita Moreno Archived December 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, August 6, 2013
  29. ^ a b Gates, Anita (May 31, 2013). "Center Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015.
  30. ^ a b McElwaine, Sandra (January 15, 2014). "Rita Moreno, SAG Life Achievement Award Winner, Talks Brando, Elvis And West Side Story". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  31. ^ "Gordon, Leonard". San Francisco Chronicle. July 11, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  32. ^ LA Times
  33. ^ Moreno inducted into California Hall of Fame Archived January 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, California Museum. Retrieved 2007
  34. ^ White House Announces 2009 National Medal of Arts Recipients Archived May 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ "LUZ CASAL, LEO DAN, RITA MORENO, MILTON NASCIMENTO, DANIELA ROMO, PONCHO SANCHEZ, AND TOQUINHO TO BE HONORED WITH THE LATIN RECORDING ACADEMY® LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD". LARAS. Retrieved 2015.
  36. ^ Rita Moreno Honored With SAG Life Achievement Award during the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Archived September 30, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved January 19, 2014
  37. ^ Viagas, Robert. "Carole King, Cicely Tyson, Rita Moreno and More Named 2015 Kennedy Center Honorees" Playbill, July 15, 2015
  38. ^ Rita Moreno honored at commencement, Berklee College of Music official site, May 2016.
  39. ^ Congratulations to our 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Recipients
  40. ^ Actresses, gymnast named grand marshals of 2020 Rose Parade, AP, October 15, 2019
  41. ^ "Online Film and Television Awards". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved 2015.

External links


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