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 an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, and was the second Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award.
She began her first dancing lessons soon after arriving in New York from a friend of her mother, a Spanish dancer, Paco Cansino, an uncle of 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.
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 aftermathEdit
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 was 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 PBSchildren'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 short-lived sitcom version of Nine to Five (based on the film hit) during the early 1980s.
Broadway and televisionEdit
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 theanimated 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 Nannyas 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 centuryEdit
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 ofFran 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 LifeEdit
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 said 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.
AwardsEditAwarded thePresidential Medal of Freedom in 2004
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||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 Señorita||Manuela Rodríguez|
|1953||Fort Vengeance||Bridget Fitzgibbon|
|1953||Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation||Soubrette||uncredited|
|1954||The Yellow Tomahawk||Honey Bear|
|1954||Garden of Evil||Cantina Singer|
|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||*Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress*Laurel Award for Best Supporting Performance|
|1961||Summer and Smoke||Rosa Zacharias|
|1963||Cry of Battle||Sisa|
|1968||The Night of the Following Day||Vi|
|1976||The Ritz||Googie Gomez||*Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role*Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture|
|1978||The Boss' Son||Esther Rose|
|1980||Happy Birthday, Gemini||Lucille Pompi|
|1981||The 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||The 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||The 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||The Muppet Show||Herself||*Episode #1.5
|1978||The Rockford Files||Rita Capkovic||*3 episodes
|1979||Anatomy of a Seduction||Nina|
|1979||The Muppets Go Hollywood||Herself/Host||Special|
|1981||Evita Perón||Renata Riguel|
|1982–83||9 to 5||Violet Newstead||*Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series*Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy|
|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||The Cosby Show||Mrs. Granger||Episode: "You Only Hurt the One You Love"|
|1989–90||B.L. Stryker||Kimberly Baskin||2 episodes|
|1994||The Nanny||Miss Wickervich/Mrs. Stone||Episode: "The Gym Teacher"|
|1994–98||Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?||Carmen Sandiego||voice|
|1994–95||The Cosby Mysteries||Angie Corea||2 episodes|
|1995||The Wharf Rat||Mom|
|1995||The Magic School Bus||Dr. Camrina Skeledon||Episode" "The Busasaurus"|
|1997–2003||Oz||Sister Peter Marie Reimondo||*44 episodes|
|1998||The 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|