Birth Date: December 11, 1931 / Age: 85
Birth Place: Humacao, Puerto Rico
Biography: Rita Moreno (born December 11, 1931 in Humacao, Puerto Rico) is an actress who has achieved fame both in Hollywood and Broadway.
Rita (born Rosita Dolores Alverio) moved with her mother to New York at the age of five. When she was eleven years old Rita lent her voice to Spanish-language versions of American films. She had her first Broadway role by the time she was thirteen, which caught the attention of Hollywood talent scouts.
For the next ten years Rita played roles in movies which she felt degrading.
Finally, in 1961 she landed the role of "Anita" in Robert Wise's film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's Broadway hit West Side Story, about the lives of two star-crossed lovers in gang-ridden New York during the late 1950's. Moreno gained fame and an Academy Award as theBest Supporting Actress that year.
Moreno was the second person in history to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award, the first and only Hispanic entertainer to have done so.
Rita Moreno married Doctor Lenny Gordon on June 18, 1965, who still remains her husband and manager, and later had a daughter, Fernanda Gordon.
Moreno also appeared in Singin' in the Rain (1952), The King and I (1956), and Carnal Knowledge (1971).
Moreno's popularity grew even more in the 1970s and 1980s when she appeared on the PBS children's series The Electric Company and the popular family variety series The Muppet Show . She also made guest appearances on series such as The Rockford Files, The Love Boat, The Cosby Show, The Golden Girls, and Miami Vice. During the late 1990s, she gained exposure to a new generation of viewers as she played a Catholic nun trained as a psychologist in the popular HBO series, Oz.
Rita Moreno has participated in more than 50 productions, combining her television, movie and theatrical works.
Rita Moreno's real contribution has been her ability to transcend the discriminatory practices of Hollywood and set a precedent for hispanic actors to be recognized by talent rather than ethnicity.
Rita Moreno became the first Puerto Rican to have been awarded the Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy's. In 2001, Rita received a "Special Recognition Award" from the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. In June 2004, she became the first Hispanic to be awarded the "Presidential Medal of Freedom" by President George W. Bush.