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.
Rita Moreno (2011)
Rosa Dolores Alverío
December 11, 1931
|Occupation||Actress, singer, dancer|
(m. 1965; died 2010)
Moreno is one of the few artists to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards: an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony. 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.
Moreno (birth name: Rosa Dolores Alverío Marcano [note 1]) 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. 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.
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.
Moreno acted steadily in films throughout the 1950s, usually in small roles, including in The Toast of New Orleans (1950) 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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Moreno appearance on The Muppet Show earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program in 1977. 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" after Philip Michael Thomas coined the term during a Tonight Show appearance.
One notable guest appearance was a three-episode arc on The Rockford Files in 1977 as former call girl Rita Kapcovic. For her portrayal, Moreno won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress - Drama Series.
During the mid-1990s, Moreno provided the voice of Carmen Sandiego on Fox's animated series Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? In the franchise's 2019 animated series, Moreno voices the character Cookie Booker.
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, 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.
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.
In 2014, Moreno appeared in the NBC television film Old Soul, alongside Natasha Lyonne, Fred Willard and Ellen Burstyn. 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.
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, that ran in Chicago, for which she won the Sarah Siddons Award in 1985.
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.
In 2017, she and multiple 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.
Moreno was romantically involved with actor Marlon Brando. It was a tumultuous relationship due to his infidelity. When Moreno became pregnant, Brando arranged for an abortion. After a botched abortion, Moreno tried to commit suicide by overdosing on his sleeping pills.
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, "like a baby brother who couldn’t make interesting conversation."
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. Moreno once considered leaving her husband but could not because she did not want to break up the family.
Among Moreno's awards and recognition are the following:
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (West Side Story), 1961
- Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress (West Side Story), 1961
- Joseph Jefferson Award: Best Chicago Theatre Actress, 1968
- Grammy Award for Best Album for Children (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 (for The Rockford Files), 1978
- Sarah Siddons Award for her portrayal of Olive Madison in the female version of The Odd Couple, 1985
- Library of Congress Living Legends Award, April 2000
- The Hispanic Organization of Latin actresses (HOLA) renamed their Award for Excellence in her honor (known as the HOLA Rita Moreno Award for Excellence since 2000)
- Special Recognition Award from the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, 2001
- Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, June 2004
- A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Inducted into the California Hall of Fame, 2007
- National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, 2009
- Hispanic Organization of Latin actresses (HOLA) Lifetime Achievement Award, 2010
- Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012
- Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, 2013 (presented on Saturday, January 18, 2014)
- Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, 2015
- Honorary doctorate of music, awarded by the Berklee College of Music, May 7, 2016.
- Ellis Island Medal of Honor, May 11, 2018.
|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|
|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|
|1961||Summer and Smoke||Rosa Zacharias|
|1963||Cry of Battle||Sisa|
|1968||The Night of the Following Day||Vi|
|1976||The Ritz||Googie Gomez|
|1978||The Boss' Son||Esther Rose|
|1980||Happy Birthday, Gemini||Lucille|
|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|
|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 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||Filming; also executive producer|
|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
|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|
|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||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"|
|1989–1990||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|
|1998||The Spree||Irma Kelly|
|2003||The Guardian||Caroline Novak||Guest stars as Louisa Olsen's (Wendy Moniz) mother|
|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"|
|2015–2016||Jane the Virgin||Liliana De La Vega||4 episodes: "Chapter Eighteen", "Chapter Thirty-Three", "Chapter Thirty-Two", "Chapter Thirty-One" |
Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
|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"|
|2017–2019||One Day at a Time||Lydia||Main cast|
|2018||Elena of Avalor||Queen Camila (voice)||2 episodes|
|2019||Carmen Sandiego||Cookie Booker||Voice role|
- 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 March 6, 2014.
- Speakers on healthcare Archived October 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine[better source needed]
- "SAG Awards 2014: Rita Moreno receives lifetime achievement award"; New York Times
- Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Celebra (Penguin Group). 2013. ISBN 9780451416377.
- Rita Moreno profile at FilmReference.com
- "Rita Moreno joining Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' remake". Newsday. November 27, 2018. Archived from the original on November 28, 2018. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
- on YouTube.
- Schallert, Edwin (March 22, 1950). "TV Tempts Crawford' Betty Garrett Ending MGM Pact; "Mother" Set". 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 on IMDb
- "Rita Moreno fan site". Archived from the original on December 23, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2008.
- "Rita Moreno overcame Hispanic stereotypes to achieve stardom". The Miami Herald. September 14, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- Rita Moreno on IMDb
- Mangan, Jennifer (May 4, 1994). "'Educating Rita". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
- All American Speakers
- Rita Moreno: 1931 — : Actress, Singer, Dancer – Demonstrated Versatile Talents
- Nellie Andreeva (February 8, 2014). "Rita Moreno to Co-Star in Amy Poehler's NBC Comedy Pilot 'Old Soul'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- "One Day at a Time: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. January 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
- Rita Moreno, Varèse Sarabande 302 066 189 2 (2000)
- Villafañe, Veronica. "Lin-Manuel Miranda Releases Star-Studded 'Almost Like Praying' Song For Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief". Forbes. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
- "After Trying Hollywood, Brando and Suicide, Rita Moreno Has Settled Down". People. April 21, 1975. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- Cahalan, Susannah (February 17, 2013). "Rita Moreno tells all about her 'near-fatal' affair with Marlon Brando in memoir". New York Post.
- Good Day LA Interview with Rita Moreno Archived December 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, August 6, 2013
- Gates, Anita (May 31, 2013). "Center Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- 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 June 1, 2015.
- "Gordon, Leonard". San Francisco Chronicle. July 11, 2010. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
- LA Times
- Moreno inducted into California Hall of Fame Archived January 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, California Museum. Retrieved 2007
- White House Announces 2009 National Medal of Arts Recipients Archived May 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- "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 March 22, 2015.
- 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
- Viagas, Robert. "Carole King, Cicely Tyson, Rita Moreno and More Named 2015 Kennedy Center Honorees" Playbill, July 15, 2015
- Rita Moreno honored at commencement, Berklee College of Music official site, May 2016.
- Congratulations to our 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Recipients
- "Online Film and Television Awards". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
|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 on IMDb
- Rita Moreno interview, Downstage Center XM Radio interview by the American Theatre Wing, January 2007; March 2007.
- Rita Moreno at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
- TonyAwards.com Interview with Rita Moreno
- Rita Moreno; video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America