Rita Moreno is the first performer to achieve the sweep of all the major entertainment industry awards (the E.G.O.T. – and in the record time of just over a decade). She was the first Latina to win an Oscar for her iconic performance of Anita in West Side Story, winning the role from its originator on Broadway, Chita Rivera – whom she is often mistaken for.
In all of the above, and so much more, including supporting roles in two classics: Singing’ in the Rain and The King and I. Moreno has always been sensational. Even in what she calls her stereotyped roles of Chiquita or Pepita, and far too many Indian maidens, you’ll find Moreno worth watching in many an awful film.
In her new memoir, Moreno reveals that her personal life hasn’t been much easier. An obsessive, lengthy affair with Marlon Brando drove her to a suicide attempt. She shares the wonder of her childhood home of Juncos, Puerto Rico and how she often wishes her ambitious mother never brought her to America. To her credit and unlike so many stars who write memoirs, Moreno does blame herself when recounting hard times by realizing how self-involved she often was.
After all, Rita Moreno, born Rosita Dolores Alverio, admits to being two people. One is the shy girl who became an actress, the other an actress through and through. Now we can add author, and a fine one, to her list of accomplishments.