Introduction: Who is Rita Moreno?
Rita Moreno was a famous American actress as well as dancer and singer. The superstar earned a lot of awards through her struggle and hard work. She played many characters in countless films and plays and made each character zestful through her work. She begins her career at the end of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Likewise, she created remarkable efforts in the entertainment industry. Many hidden fun facts of her life are the painful past and the beautiful future. She said, “Bigger than life is not difficult for me.”
On December 11, 1931, Rita Moreno gave birth in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Her mother, Rosa Maria, was a needlewoman, and her father, Paco Alverio, was a farmer. Her parents used to call her “Rosita.” Rita’s mother was only 17 years old at her birth. She spent her early days of life in Juncos along with her parents and a brother Francisco Alverio. But when Rita was only five years old, her parents divorced.
Rita Moreno – Actress Turned Author And Activist
Moreno’s mother took her to New York, searching for a job after divorce. This divorce and migration had significant effects on Rita’s life. This incident stole her brother from Rita’s life. Rita Moreno showed her feelings for her brothers in an interview. She said, “I tried to find him, and couldn’t even make contact.” she also said, “I heard he died.”
In New York, after the second marriage of Rita’s mother, she got the surname of her stepfather, Edward Moreno. She spent her teenage in the valleys of Hempsted, a village near New York. Rita Hayworth’s uncle, a famous dancer and film star, started teaching her dancing lessons.
It was the advent of her journey, the point from which she took flight towards her bright future. At 11 years, her voice changed the English films into the Spanish language. She proved that talent has no limits. She played the role of Angelina in Skydrift while at the age of 13 years. Her first film was released in 1950, “So Young, So Bad.” She signed a contract of seven-year with MGM studio to start her carrier.
A Brief History of Rita Moreno’s Life and Career
After this contract, she played side characters in many musical films like “The King and I” in 1956. It was a musical film made by the 20th-century fox. This film successfully earned 8.5 million dollars. In 1961 she performed an American musical romantic film, “West Side Story.” This film was inspired by Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. In an interview, Moreno said that this project changed her life. It is regarded as one of the great films of that era. Moreno got the award of the best-supporting actress in the west side story. “Popi” was another famous comedy film of hers released in 1969.
Moreno left the work with the Hollywood industry for some years, and in the 1970s, She was again seen in many films such as “Carnal Knowledge” and “Marlowe.” “The Four Seasons” and “I Like It Like That” are also her famous comedy films released in 1981 and 1994, respectively. In 1998, she acted in “Slums of Beverly Hills” cut film. This whole film spins around the misery of a man and woman. For this film, Moreno got ALAM award for best actress crossover role.
She also worked in many television series. “The Electric Company” (1971-1977) was an educational children’s television series. “OZ” (1997-2003) was another famous HBO series in which Moreno played the leading role. She is also well for her theater work. “The Ritz” was a comedic farce play in which Moreno played the character of Googie Gomez. This character became very popular among the people. She also won the Tony award for this character in 1975. “The Odd Couple” is another famous play she performed from 1985 to 1986.
A Retrospective of Hollywood’s Beating Heart
Besides her career, Moreno has great emotions for her family. Between 1950-1960, she was in a relationship with American film star Marlon Brando. After eight years of relationship, Brando got married to another girl. 1965 Moreno also took a step towards her future. She decided to select Leonard Gordon as her husband. Gordon was a cardiologist.
After retiring from medicine, he started working as his wife’s manager. They have a daughter, Fernanda Gordon Fisher. Moreno loves her daughter and two grandsons. Once when she came to know about her husband’s affairs, she decided to divorce him, but she did not forget what happened to her in her childhood. She didn’t want to break the family again. So, they remained together until Gordon died in 2010.
As she worked in many films, plays, and television series, she also won many awards for her remarkable work in every film and series. She is the winner of four major North American awards Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, collectively called EGOT. In 1962, she won “Oscar” for the best-supporting actress in “west side story,” her most famous project. She won the “Grammy Award” for “The Electric Company” in 1972. Like other awards, she achieved “Tony” for “The Ritz” and “Emmy” in 1975 and 1977, respectively.
Life Achievement Award
Moreno is also the winner of the “Sarah Siddons Award” for “The Odd Couple.” In 2013, she received the “Life Achievement Award,” She won two OFTA awards in 2015 as the best guest actress in a comedy farce series and in 2017 for best-supporting actress in a comedy series. In 2018 she got the” Ellis Island Medal Of Honor.”
As acting, Rita Moreno is also an excellent social worker. She has supported many charities like the Actors Fund of America and Screen Actors Guild Foundation to encourage acting in society and improve small actors’ skills. Rita Moreno also helped the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association as she was also conscious about the health of the American natives. She also contributed to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, one of America’s best educational campaigns.
Rita Moreno spent more than 70 years in the entertainment industry. Now she is 90 years old. Moreno’s whole life is full of struggle and hardships. She is a mentor of other small actors. Her fearless life gives us the message of courage. She said, “It is through art that we will prevail and we will endure. It lives on after us and defines us as people.”