Musician & Activist
Rita Moreno, was born Rosa Dolores Alverío on December 11, 1931 in Humacao, Puerto Rico. At five years old she moved with her mother to New York City. Moreno made her Broadway debut at age 13 as “Angelina” in Skydrift. Her first film was called So Young, So Bad, and was released in 1950. After this role, she signed a seven-year contract with Louis B. Mayer’s MGM Studios. In 1961, Moreno was cast as Anita in the film adaptation of the musical West Side Story. For her portrayal, Moreno won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She married her late husband Leonard Gordon in 1965 and they had a daughter Fernanda who was born in 1966. Moreno also starred as a main cast member of the PBS children’s television series The Electric Company from 1971 to 1977. Moreno won a Grammy in 1972 for “The Electric Company Album” based on her contributions to the show’s soundtrack. A few years later, Moreno appeared in the musical The Ritz and subsequently earned the 1975 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress. In 1977 she appeared on The Muppet Show and earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. This award solidified her as the third person in history and first Latina to win all four major entertainment awards: an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony. In 2004, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her many contributions to the arts. From 2017 to 2020 she starred on the Netflix series One Day at a Time, and was an executive producer and star of Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of West Side Story.
"What inspired me to get my voice was a deepening feeling of awakening with respect to my own value."