Facts about Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno Biography
Rita Moreno was the first woman to be an EGOT — winner of the big four awards in entertainment: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
She is best known for winning an Oscar in 1962 for her role as Anita in West Side Story (1961).
Born in Puerto Rico, Moreno came to the U.S. as a child and was on Broadway by the time she was 13. The next year, she was in Hollywood (as Rosita Moreno).
From the late 1940s through the 1950s she was in several movies, usually cast in small ethnic roles, from Latin to vaguely “island.”
Her early appearances included Singin’ in the Rain (1952, starring Gene Kelly) and The King and I (1956, starring Yul Brynner), and her performance in West Side Story made her a star.
Moreno continued to be offered stereotypical Hispanic roles in the movies, however, so turned to the stage, where she appeared in Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1969) and won a Tony for The Ritz (1975).
Moreno was also a regular cast member on the PBS children’s series The Electric Company. She won a Grammy in 1972 for a children’s recording of the show.
Moreno was a frequent guest on TV shows during the 1970s, both as herself and in dramatic or comedic roles. Her guest appearance on the variety show The Muppet Show brought her an Emmy in 1977.
Moreno’s other films include Popi (1969), Marlowe (1969), Carnal Knowledge (1971) and The Four Seasons (1981).
In 2022 actress Ariana DeBose won an Oscar for her portrayal of Anita — Rita Moreno’s role in the 1961 version of West Side Story.