- December 11, 1931 (age 89)
- Actor, Singer, Dancer
- Leonard Gordon
- Paco Alverío, Rosa María
Rita Moreno (born December 11, 1931) is a Puerto Rican actress and singer. She is the only Hispanic and one of the few performers to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards, which include an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony, and was the second Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award.
Moreno, nicknamed "Rosita", was born Rosa Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico to Rosa María (née Marcano), a seamstress, and Francisco José "Paco" Alverío, a farmer. Moreno, whose mother was 17 at the time of her birth, was raised in nearby Juncos. Rita's mother moved to New York City in 1936, taking her daughter, but not her son, Rita's younger brother, Francisco. Rita would later adopt the surname of her first stepfather, Edward Moreno, Rosa Maria's second husband, by whom Rita would have a younger stepbrother, Dennis Moreno, who died in a car crash.
Rita began her first dancing lessons soon after arriving in New York with a Spanish dancer known as "Paco Cansino", who was a paternal uncle of film star Rita Hayworth. When she was 11 years old, she lent her voice to Spanish language versions of American films. She had her first Broadway role — as "Angelina" in Skydrift — by the time she was 13, which caught the attention of Hollywood talent scouts. She appeared in small roles in The Toast of New Orleans and Singin' in the Rain, in which she played the starlet "Zelda Zanders".
In March 1954, Moreno was featured on the cover of Life Magazine with a caption, "Rita Moreno: An Actresses' Catalog of Sex and Innocence". In 1956, she had a supporting role in the film version of The King and I as Tuptim, but disliked most of her other work during this period.
In 1961, Moreno landed the role of Anita in Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein's and Stephen Sondheim's groundbreaking Broadway musical, West Side Story, which had been played by Chita Rivera on Broadway. Moreno won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for that role.
After winning the Oscar, Moreno thought she would be able to continue to perform less stereotypical film roles, but was disappointed.
"Ha, ha. I showed them. I didn't make another movie for seven years after winning the Oscar.... Before West Side Story, I was always offered the stereotypical Latina roles. The Conchitas and Lolitas in westerns. I was always barefoot. It was humiliating, embarrassing stuff. But I did it because there was nothing else. After West Side Story, it was pretty much the same thing. A lot of gang stories."
She went on to be the first Hispanic to win an Emmy (1977), a Grammy (1972), an Oscar (1962) and a Tony (1975). In 1985, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago.
In the late 1990s, she gained exposure to a new generation of viewers when she played Sister Pete, a nun trained as a psychologist in the popular HBO series, Oz. She made a guest appearance on The Nanny as Coach Stone, Maggie's (Nicholle Tom) tyrannical gym teacher, whom Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) also remembered from her school as Ms. Wickavich.
Moreno had an eight year long affair with actor Marlon Brando.
On June 18, 1965, Moreno married Leonard Gordon, a cardiologist who was also her manager. He died on June 30, 2010. They have one daughter, Fernanda Luisa Fisher, and two grandsons, Justin and Cameron Fisher.
In an interview with Good Day LA, Moreno stated that Elvis Presley was not a good lover. They dated for quite some time, but whenever the opportunity presented itself to take the relationship to another level, Presley backed off.