Rita Moreno, born Rosa Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico, is an amazing actress, dancer and singer. She is among the greats of our time; the recipient three lifetime achievement awards and nearly twenty other awards. Her illustrious career has lasted over 70 years and she’s still rocking it. She is the first latinx person to win the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) and the third overall (out of a dozen so far) and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
She got started really young in the business, doing Spanish voice overs for American shows when she was eleven before making the leap into Broadway at the ripe old age of thirteen. I knew her first as Anita in 1961’s West Side Story, a role which earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She’s had roles in nearly fifty television series and over fifty movies. I know her best as the voice of Carmen Sandiego in Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? and as Liliana De La Vega in Jane the Virgin. I haven’t yet seen One Day At A Time, but it’s on my list.
A fun story I came across was that after an eight year relationship with Marlon Brando, Rita dated Elvis to make him jealous.
Rita waded through a sea of sexism, racism and ageism in Hollywood to become an inspirational powerhouse. Rita’s trail blazing opened doors for others, including Gina Rodriguez, Rita’s co-star from Jane the Virgin. Gina read a tribute to Rita at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. “You gave me hope, you gave me a reason to fight and to speak up, you gave me a voice. When you followed your dreams, Rita, you gave me the allowance to follow mine.”
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