Image of Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno has had a thriving acting career for the better part of six decades. One of the very few (and very first) performers to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy, she was born Rosita Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on December 11, 1931, to seamstress Rosa María (Marcano) and farmer Francisco José "Paco" Alverío. She and her mother moved to New York City in 1937, where she began a professional career before reaching adolescence. The 11-year-old Rosita got her first movie experience dubbing Spanish-language versions of US films. Less than a month before her 14th birthday on November 22, 1945, she made her Broadway debut in the play "Skydrift" at the Belasco Theatre, costarring with Arthur Keegan and s young Eli Wallach. Although she would not appear again on Broadway for almost two decades, Rita Moreno, as she was billed in the play, had arrived professionally.The cover of the March 1, 1954, edition of "Life Magazine" featured a three-quarters, over-the-left-shoulder profile of the young Puerto Rican actress/entertainer with the provocative title "Rita Moreno: An Actresses' Catalog of Sex and Innocence". It was sexpot time, a stereotype that would plague her throughout the decade. If not cast as a Hispanic pepper pot, she could rely on being cast as another "exotic", such as her appearance on Father Knows Best (1954) as an exchange student from India. Because of a dearth of decent material, Moreno had to play roles in movies that she considered degrading. Among the better pictures she appeared in were the classic Singin' in the Rain (1952) and The King and I (1956).Director'Robert Wise (I)', who was chosen to co-direct West Side Story (1961) (the film version of the smash Broadway musical, a retelling of William Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" with the warring Venetian clans the Montagues and Capulets re-envisioned as Irish/Polish and Puerto Rican adolescent street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks), cast Moreno as "Anita", the Puerto Rican girlfriend of Sharks' leader Bernardo, whose sister Maria is the piece's Juliet.However, despite her talent, roles commensurate with that talent were not forthcoming in the 1960s. The following decade would prove kinder, possibly because the beautiful Moreno had aged gracefully and could now be seen by filmmakers, TV producers and casting directors as something other than the spitfire/sexpot that Hispanic women were supposed to conform to. Ironically, it was in two vastly diverging roles--that of a $100 hooker in director Mike Nichols' brilliant realization of Jules Feiffer's acerbic look at male sexuality, Carnal Knowledge (1971) (1971), and Milly the Helper in the children's TV show The Electric Company (1971) (1971)--that signaled a career renaissance.Moreno won a 1972 Grammy Award for her contribution to "The Electric Company"'s soundtrack album, following it up three years later with a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for "The Ritz" (a role she would reprise in the film version, The Ritz (1976)). She then won Emmy Awards for The Muppet Show (1976) and The Rockford Files (1974).She has continued to work steadily on screen (both large and small) and on stage, solidifying her reputation as a national treasure, a status that was officially ratified with the award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in June 2004.

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Dec 11, 1931 In Humacao, Puerto Rico
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the series Father Knows Best 1954-10-03
Latest Project:
Series Nina's World 2015-09-09

Won 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 22 nominations.

Known For
Poster of Oz
Nina's World Abuelita 78 episodes, 2015-2018 2015-09-09
Jane the Virgin Unknown 2014-10-13
The Queen Latifah Show Unknown 2013
Happily Divorced Dori Newman 34 episodes, 2011-2013 2011-06-15
In Plain Sight Unknown 2008-06-01
Pioneers of Television Self 1 episode, 2011 2008-01-02
Cane Amalia Duque 13 episodes, 2007 2007-09-11
Ugly Betty Unknown 2006-09-28
Wanted Unknown 2005-07-31
Law & Order: Trial by Jury Unknown 2005-03-03
George Lopez Unknown 2002-03-27
The Guardian Unknown 2001-09-25
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Unknown 2001-09-30
Strong Medicine Unknown 2000-07-23
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Unknown 1999-09-20
Oz Sister Peter Marie Reimondo 55 episodes, 1997-2003 1997-07-12
Le Bus magique Unknown 1994-09-10
Touched by an Angel Unknown 1994-09-21
Bonkers Unknown 1993-09-04
The Nanny Unknown 1993-11-03
The Larry Sanders Show Unknown 1992-08-15
Captain Planet and the Planeteers Unknown 1990-09-10
Murphy Brown Unknown 1988-11-14
American Masters Unknown 1986-06-22
The Golden Girls Unknown 1985-09-14
Miami Vice Unknown 1984-09-16
The Cosby Show Unknown 1984-09-20
Wheel of Fortune Unknown 1983-09-19
Trapper John, M.D. Unknown 1979-09-23
The Muppet Show Unknown 1977-04-23
The Love Boat Unknown 1977-05-05
The Rockford Files Unknown 1974-03-27
Sesame Street Unknown 1969-07-21
The Carol Burnett Show Unknown 1967-09-11
Father Knows Best Unknown 1954-10-03