Actress Rita Moreno is celebrated for her many accolades to the entertainment industry. She is one of the very few entertainers who has won the coveted EGOT, which is an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.
According to her official biography, the Puerta Rican-born actress moved to her mother to New York City in 1935 following her parents’ divorce. Ten years later, at only 13 years old, Moreno made her Broadway debut in the play “Skydrift.” Five years later, at the age of 18, she first appeared on the silver screen in the film “So Young, So Bad.”
She also appeared in 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain” and 1956’s “The King and I.” However, after a rollercoaster relationship with Marlon Brando, she attempted suicide in 1961. That same year, however, she received national acclaim for her role as Anita in “West Side Story.”
She won the Academy Award for best-supporting actress in 1962, and the musical was named best picture. Although she appeared in several more films after that, Moreno now reveals that she couldn’t find work after her success in “West Side Story” because she had been typecast by Hollywood.
Rita Moreno Details The Struggle To Find Work
In an interview with Bill Whitaker for CBS News’ 60 Minutes, Whitaker said that the phone must have been ringing off the hook when she became the first Latina to win an Academy Award for acting.
“No, the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook,” Rita replied. “After ‘West Side Story,’ I couldn’t get a job except in gang movies, lesser ones.”
“Your career did not just take off?” Whitaker asked.
“Hardly,” Rita Moreno replied, which is why she left the Hollywood scene behind her.
Although she may have left Hollywood behind, she returned to New York City and the Broadway scene. In the 70s, she won her first Grammy for the show “The Electric Company” alongside Morgan Freeman.
After that, she won a Tony for her performance of Googie Gomez in “The Ritz.” Despite mixed reviews, Moreno and the film also received Golden Globe nominations in the comedy category.
Working With Steven Spielberg In The Upcoming Broadway Adaption
The 2021 musical film “West Side Story,” portrayed by Steven Spielberg is adapted from the play written by the late Stephen Sondheim, who passed away Friday, November 26, at the age of 91.
Moreno is excited to take part in this upcoming adaption, in part because Spielberg set a mandate that all Puerto Rican characters had to be played by Hispanic actors.
“I think Hollywood has changed,” Moreno said. “I think there are still things yet to be addressed. The representation that Hispanics get is almost nil. There are so many talented people among Hispanics. Jennifer Lopez can’t be the only one.”
In the film Spielberg told Whitaker that the Moreno “sings and she acts and even though she doesn’t have a dance number, I have home movies of Rita dancing with all the Sharks and the Jets. She has not lost her mojo as a dancer, at all.”
It’s great to see that Moreno, who is just shy of turning 90 years old, hasn’t lost her step just yet!