Saturday, October 31, 2015

Rita Moreno

Date of Birth - 11 December 1931, Humacao, Puerto Rico
Birth Name -  Rosita Dolores Alverio
Height 5' 2½" 
Race or Ethnicity: Hispanic
Sexual orientation: Straight

Spouse - Lenny Gordon (18 June 1965 - 30 June 2010) (his death) (1 child)
Husband Dr. Lenny Gordon was an internist and cardiologist.

Gave birth to her only child at age 34, a daughter Fernanda Luisa Gordon (aka Fernanda Gordon), on September 26, 1966. Child's father was her husband, Lenny Gordon.

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".


President's Commission on White House Fellowships 
Overcoming Obstacles Board of Advisors
Oscar for Best Supporting Actress 1962 for West Side Story
Golden Globe 1962 for West Side Story
Emmy 1977 for The Muppet Show (single episode)
Emmy 1978 for The Rockford Files (single episode)
Tony 1975 for The Ritz
Library of Congress Living Legend 2000
Presidential Medal of Freedom 23-Jun-2004
Hollywood Walk of Fame 7080 Hollywood Blvd.
Suicide Attempt (Apr-1961)
Drug Overdose (Apr-1961)
Stomach Pumped (Apr-1961)
Puerto Rican Ancestry 
Risk Factors: Smoking
Cites Citizen Kane (1941) as her all-time favorite film.

Is one of the only 12 people who are an EGOT, which means that she won at least one of all of the four major entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. The other ones in chronological order are Richard Rodgers, Barbra Streisand, Helen Hayes, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Whoopi Goldberg and James Earl Jones. Liza Minnelli won a Special Grammy, and James Earl Jones won an Honorary Academy Award.

She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on July 20, 2005.  When her star was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she fell on top of it, openly and uncontrollably weeping. She later commented, "I had been dreaming of this day since I was six!".  

She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush. [June 2004]

During the first season (episode 19) of The Electric Company (1971), she was in a sketch in which she shouted "Hey, you guys!" repeatedly. It became so popular with the show's producers that they decided to use it as the catchphrase in their opening, starting with season two.

In 1977, she became the ninth performer to win the Triple Crown of Acting: (Oscar: Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story (1961), Tony, Best Featured Actress, The Ritz (1975) and Emmy 1977 (The Muppet Show (1976)) and 1978 (The Rockford Files (1974)).

Daughter, Fernanda Luisa Gordon (Fernanda Gordon), was born in 1967. A successful jewelry designer, she founded Nandiz Design. She is married to David Fisher and they have two children named Justin and Cameron.

When filming her final scene in West Side Story (1961) in which her character "Anita" is harassed and nearly raped by New York street gang members "the Jets", she was reduced to tears, as it brought flashbacks of similar real-life childhood experiences. When she broke down, the other actors nobly stopped and comforted her, helping her to get through the scene, pointing out that the audience was going to hate the gang members for what they were doing, as "Anita" was well meaning in what she was doing and the sequence set up a critical plot element.

Was the first Hispanic woman to win an Oscar when she won for West Side Story (1961). However, she was not the first Hispanic entertainer to win an Oscar. That was fellow Puerto Rican José Ferrer for Cyrano de Bergerac (1950).

Was dancing professionally in a Greenwich Village nightclub at age 9, as arranged by her dance teacher, Rita Hayworth's uncle.

Marlon Brando and Rita Moreno on the set of the film Desiree in 1954. Brando almost forced her suicide, when a botched abortion and his serial infidelity during a turbulent eight-year affair drove her to overdose on sleeping pills.

In 1957, Elvis, then 25, was about to become a Hollywood star when Moreno agreed to meet him on the set of his film, King Creole.

In her memoir, she describes how stunned she was when a handsome stranger, with his wife on his arm, very brazenly flirted with her. It was the 1950s and the man was then-Senator John F. Kennedy. Moreno also described her disappointment about one-time lover Elvis Presley being much more like "a baby brother" than a stud.

Marlon Brando was her boyfriend at a time.  Rita says, 'Marlon Brando left me a suicidal mess.  I only dated Elvis to make Brando jealous.'  Brando almost forced her suicide, when a botched abortion and his serial infidelity during a turbulent eight-year affair drove her to overdose on sleeping pills. 

'We were locked in the ultimate folie a deux, a crazy love that lasted for years, until one day I quite literally was forced out of a coma and had to choose life over him,’ she says of Brando in a revealing new autobiography, Rita Moreno — A Memoir.  

Moreno was 22 when Brando, then 30, spotted her on the cover of Life magazine. They met soon after, in the make-up room on the set of Desiree, a 1954 film in which Brando played Napoleon. Both were instantly attracted to each other — Moreno recalls experiencing a ‘full-body blush’ — and the inveterate womaniser was soon pursuing her.

His phone calls to the Hollywood boarding house where she lived with other aspiring actresses, among them Kim Novak, sound hilarious. 

Brando had a habit of pausing to think — sometimes staying silent for up to half an hour. Some might have thought it pretentious posturing, but for Moreno it merely confirmed his towering intellect.

When Brando died aged 80 in 2004, only one piece of film memorabilia was reportedly found in his home - a photo of him from their film The Night Of The Following Day, passionately kissing a naked Moreno.  to see a photo of this, click on this link

Rita's dark complexion attracted Brando, who had never got over his first object of desire — a Danish-Indonesian nanny — and craved exotic, darker-skinned women for the rest of his life.  Brando lusted after Dorothy Dandridge as well.

 Moreno reveals how the King was a flop in the bedroom in her memoir.

Rita Moreno won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story (1961) for her role as Anita

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).

Rita Moreno: A Memoir (2013, memoir)

Rita as Anita in the 'West Side Story' (1961)