Today we are celebrating a multi-talented performer who rose above the limitations of Hollywood typecasting to build a career spanning more than six decades. Rita Moreno, born Rosita Dolores Alverío is the first Latina to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award (EGOT). She was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, and one of her best-known iconic roles was playing Anita in West Side Story.
During a time when decent roles were not created for ethnic actors and actresses, Moreno had to play roles in movies that she considered degrading. Among the better pictures she appeared in was the 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain and The King and I (1956).
Moreno married Leonard Gordon, a cardiologist who was also her manager. They have one daughter, Fernanda Luisa Fisher, and two grandsons, Justin and Cameron Fisher. Leonard died on June 30, 2010.
Moreno won a 1972 Grammy Award for her contribution to the soundtrack album for The Electric Company, following three years later with a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for “The Ritz” (a role she would reprise in the 1976 film version, The Ritz). 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. In June 2004 Moreno received the Presidential Medal of Freedom presented by President George W. Bush.
In celebration of National Women’s History Month, we are shining the spotlight on Rita Moreno, a true multi-talented pioneer in movies, television, and theater.