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Rita Moreno - Actress

Posted on 04/28/2011 @ 12:43 PM

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno is a Puerto Rican singer, dancer and actress. She is the first and only Hispanic person and one of the few performers who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony and at the time the second Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award.

Moreno was born Rosa Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico, to Rosa María, a seamstress, and Paco Alverío, a farmer. She moved with her mother to New York City at the age of five. She began her first dancing lessons soon after arriving in the United States from a friend of her mother, a Spanish dancer called Paco Cansino, who was the uncle of Rita Hayworth. When she was 11 years old, she lent her voice to Spanish language versions of American films.

She had her first Broadway role — as "Angelina" in Skydrift — by the time she was 13, which caught the attention of Hollywood talent scouts. She appeared in small roles in The Toast of New Orleans and Singin' in the Rain, in which she played Zelda Zanners. In 1956, she had a supporting role in the film version of The King and I as Tuptim.

In 1961, Moreno landed the role of Anita in Robert Wise's and Jerome Robbins' film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein's and Stephen Sondheim's groundbreaking Broadway musical, West Side Story, which was played by Chita Rivera on Broadway. Moreno won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for that role. Moreno went on to be the first actress (and the first Hispanic) to win an Emmy (1977), a Grammy (1972), an Oscar (1962) and a Tony (1975).

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