Star of the stage and screen, inspirational speaker
Rita Moreno is the only female performer to have won all four of the
most prestigious show business awards: the Oscar, the Emmy, the Tony and
the Grammy. She has, in fact been listed in the Guinness Book of World
Records for this achievement. She earned the Oscar for her performance
as Anita in the 1962 motion picture, West Side Story, the two Emmys for
her 1977 appearance on The Muppet Show,
and for a dramatic guest appearance on The Rockford
Files in 1978. She won the Tony for her 1975 triumph on Broadway
as Googie Gomez in The Ritz, the Grammy
for her 1972 performance on The Electric Company Album for children, which
was based on the long running television show of the same name. She has
also received dozens of other show business awards, most notably, The
Golden Globe Award, The Golden Apple Award, and the Joseph Jefferson Award
as best actress in Chicago's theatrical season In 1968 for her brilliant
performance as Serafina in The Rose Tattoo. In 1985 she repeated her Chicago
triumph and was awarded the prestigious Sarah Siddons Award for her portrayal
of Olive Madison in the female version of The
Odd Couple. In 1995 Ms. Moreno received a star on The Hollywood
Walk of Fame.
Rita Moreno was born Rosa Dolores Alverio in Humacao, a small town near
the famous rain forest of Puerto Rico. At five years old, she and her
mother moved to New York and the following year she started dancing lessons.
At age 13, she had her Broadway debut in Skydrift
which starred Eli Wallach. Then, in the true tradition of Hollywood, a
talent scout arranged a meeting for 17 year old Miss Moreno with Louis
B. Mayer and she was signed for a contract with MGM.
From that point on her career advanced steadily. She made some thirty
films early in her career, and was often typecast as a Mexican spitfire
or and Indian maiden. Among the films she make during this period were
Untamed, Seven Cities of Gold, The Lieutenant
Wore Skirts, and Garden of Evil.
She was also featured as Tuptim in the classic, The King and I. It was
only after she won an Academy Award far her outstanding performance as
Anita in West Side Story which gained
international acclaim, that she was finally recognized as a major talent.
In 1962 she moved to London where she was featured in Hal Prince's production
of She Loves Me. She then resumed
to New York to star in Lorraine Hansbury's, The
Sign In Sidney Brustein's Window. On Broadway she has also
appeared as the female lead with Robert Shaw in Gantry.
She was also cast opposite Jimmy Coco in The
Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and in award winning role in The
National Health. Miss Moreno then starred in The
Ritz for which she received the Tony Award.
In 1981 she returned to Broadway, once again opposite Jimmy Coco in Wally's
Cafe. She was most recently seen on Broadway in the female version of
Neil Simon's Odd Couple. In 1996 she stared in the London production of
Ms. Moreno has appeared in many regional theatres, in such diverse roles
as Lola in Damn Yankees, Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, Doris in
The Owl and the Pussycats, Amends Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and
Mama Rose in Gypsy.
It may be said that Rita Moreno, who has portrayed an Irish teacher,
and Italian widow, a reformed prostitute, a lady evangelist, an English
lady, and a southern belle, has broken the rigid role of Latino stereotyping.
In 1967, Ms. Moreno resumed her screen career playing opposite Marlon
Brando in The Night of the Following Day
then with James Garner in Marlowe, as Alan Arkin's girlfriend in Popi,
and in Mike Nichol's production of Carnal Knowledge.
She then starred in the film version of The Ritz. She went on to do Alan
Alda's The Four Seasons, with Carol Burnett in 1993 after a brief hiatus
from film she completed the independent film The Italian
Movie and then in 1994, the highly acclaimed Columbia Pictures
release. Like it Like That.
In 1995, Ms. Moreno was featured in the Showtime Feature, Wharf Rat, opposite
Lou Diamond Phillips and Judge Reinhold and in the feature film Angus
with George C. Scott.
Ms. Moreno has also been the guest star on a wide variety of television
productions, both here and abroad. She is proud to have been a featured
artist for many years on The Electric Company, the highly regarded educational
television program. She starred in her own TV series, the sitcom version
of the film 9 to 5. From 1989 1990 she played opposite Burt Reynolds in
B.L Stryker and in 1991/1992 in the Fox Network series, The Top of the
Heap. In 1994 Ms. Moreno returned to New York to appear as a series regular
opposite Bill Cosby on the Cosby Mystery Series on NBC.
In 1995 Ms. Moreno resumed to the New York stage in Anne
Meara's After Play and in Circle Repertory's production of
Size Of the World. In the fall of
1995, Miss Moreno again won the acclaim of the London audiences when she
returned to the London stage in the starring role of Norma Desmond in
Andrew Lloyd Webbers' Sunset Blvd.
She continues to be kept busy performing concerts across the country
as a guest artist with symphony orchestras for their Pops series.
In addition to her film, stage, television and concert careers, Ms. Moreno
fills her spare time by lecturing to various organizations as well as
to university audiences. She is also involved with a number of civic and
charitable organizations and events. She has served on the National Foundation
for the Arts and as a commissioner on the Presidents White House Fellowships.
Ms. Moreno is currently a member of the Presidents Committee on the Arts