The Triple Threat Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno in blackRole model, beautiful, and talented are just thing which make the acclaimed actress Rita Moreno a triple threat.  The legendary Rita Moreno took Hollywood and the world by storm with her singing, dancing and acting ability.   Those three talents helped to land her three of the arts top awards.

IMDB-American actress Rita Moreno has managed to have a thriving career for the better part of six decades despite the institutional racism that has plagued the entertainment industry, particularly the anti-Hispanic bias that stereotyped Hispanic women as “spitfires” and sexpots. Moreno, one of the very few (and very first) performers to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy, was born Rosita Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico on December 11, 1931. She moved to New York City in 1937 along with her mother, where she began a professional career before she was a teenager. The 11-year-old Rosita got her first movie experience dubbing Spanish-language versions of American films. Less than a month before her 14th birthday on November 11, 1945, she made her Broadway debut in the play “Skydrift” at the Belasco Theatre, co-starring with Arthur Keegan and the young Eli Wallach. Although she would not appear again on Broadway for almost 20 years, Rita Moreno, as she was billed in the play, had arrived professionally. It would take her nearly as long to break through the forces of institutional racism and become the first Hispanic woman to win an AcademyAward.

Rita Moreno in Westside Story

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”, such as her appearance on “Father Knows Best” (1954) as an exchange student from India. Because of a dearth of decent material, Moreno as an actress had to play roles in movies that she considered degrading. Among the better pictures she appeared in were the classic Singin’ in the Rain(1952) and The King and I (1956).

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