|Rita Moreno Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 2½ in|
|Date of Birth||December 11, 1931|
Rita Moreno was only 5 years old when she moved to the United States with her mother. She would start her journey to Hollywood at the age of 11 by taking dance lessons and started appearing in theatre productions just after hitting teens. Her work in Broadway shows was eventually noticed and she started getting small and supporting roles. However, she was never happy with the stereotypical roles that she got. She eventually broke the stereotypical mold and showed off her acting prowess in West Side Story, which helped her win an Oscar Award. Thereafter, she essayed several critically acclaimed roles and won all the leading entertainment awards. She even excelled in the Broadway productions.
Rosa Dolores Alverío
Humacao, Puerto Rico
The information about Rita Moreno’s formal education isn’t available.
Actress, Singer, Dancer
- Father – Francisco José “Paco” Alverío (Farmer)
- Mother – Rosa María Marcano (Seamstress)
- Siblings – Francisco Alverio (Younger Brother)
- Others – Edward Moreno (Stepfather), Nemesio Alverio Rivera (Paternal Grandfather), Dolores Carrión Carrion De Alverio (Paternal Grandmother), Justino Marcano Rivera (Maternal Grandfather), Trinidad López Morales (Maternal Grandmother), Cameron Fisher (Grandson), Justin Fisher (Grandson)
Rita Moreno is represented by Judy Katz Public Relations.
She has released her music via Varèse Sarabande, Photoplay Records, Varese Sarabande Records, Inc., Crescent Moon Records, Inc., and Lenny G Corporation.
5 ft 2½ in or 158.5 cm
48 kg or 106 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Rita Moreno has dated –
- Dick Van Patten – The American actor and businessman, Dick Van Patten, has claimed in an interview that he dated Moreno during her early years as a struggling actress. He has claimed that he supported her and was determined to make her a star.
- Kenneth Tynan – In her biography, Rita has claimed that she was stalked by British literary critic, Kenneth Tynan. They had dated for some time but she decided to end their tryst after he suggested spanking to her. In fact, he had sat her in his lap and made her look through a photo album of men smacking women’s bottoms. However, Tynan wasn’t happy with a simple break up and decided to stalk her.
- Jack Nicholson – During her appearance on The Talk, Moreno had revealed that she had a fling with the notorious playboy, Jack Nicholson. In fact, she revealed on the show that Nicholson was a ‘dirty, dirty boy’.
- Morgan Freeman – Morgan Freeman was another Hollywood legend with whom she owned up to having had a fling during her appearance on the talk show. She complemented Freeman by calling him ‘monumental and so sexy’.
- Dennis Hopper – In her interview, Moreno had confirmed that she had dated actor and film director, Dennis Hopper. However, she had only started going out with him to make Marlon Brando jealous.
- Howard Hughes – Moreno went only on 2 dates with business magnate and Hollywood legend, Howard Hughes. For their first date, he had invited her to a private movie screening. He wore headphones during their date in the screening room. For their second date, they met for a dinner at a restaurant at Los Angeles airport. During the date, Hughes kept on talking about radar.
- Anthony Quinn – In her biography, Moreno revealed that her first actor boyfriend was Anthony Quinn. Being fellow Hispanics, they shared a mutual resentment of the film industry’s ethnic stereotyping. However, it didn’t last long as she found him to be uncouth and uncourtly.
- Marlon Brando (1954-1962) – Moreno’s tempestuous and torturous affair with legendary actor Marlon Brando has often been recounted in the tabloids. She was 22 years old when 30 years old Brando spotted her on the cover of Life magazine. They met soon after on the sets of the movie, Désirée, in which Brando was cast as French general Napolean. They were attracted to each other from the very first meeting.
Their affair was riddled with Brando’s infidelity. He even got married twice, once to Mexican-American actress Movita Castaneda and then to Anglo-Indian actress Anna Kashfi, while having an affair with Moreno. He would get her pregnant and then force her into botched abortion. The agony of abortion and Brando’s coldness during the procedure led to Moreno trying to commit suicide with sleeping pills. She was only saved by the arrival of Brando’s assistant, who rushed her to the hospital. They were eventually convinced to end their relationship by a therapist who told them it was vital for Moreno’s well being.
- George Hormel II – Rita Moreno is reported to have had a short-lived affair with musician George Hormel II.
- Richard Egan – Moreno had a brief relationship with actor Richard Egan in the 50s.
- Jeffrey Hunter – In the mid-50s, Moreno went out with film actor and producer, Jeffrey Hunter.
- Robert Wagner (1956) – In 1956, Moreno was reported to be dating actor Jeffrey Hunter. They were spotted together in the public on numerous occasions.
- Hugh O’Brian (1957) – In the summer of 1957, the Puerto Rican origin actress was reported to be going out with actor and humanitarian, Hugh O’Brian.
- Elvis Presley (1961) – Moreno hooked up with Elvis Presley while going through a rough patch in a relationship with Brando. However, she was never sexually satisfied while dating Presley. In fact, Presley never moved further than foreplay. She decided to end their relationship after she saw him eating his favorite peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich and realized that he was more attracted to his sandwich than her.
- Leonard Gordon (1964-2010) – In 1964, Moreno started going out with a cardiologist, Leonard Gordon. They got married in June 1965 in a lavish wedding ceremony. Gordon also started working as her manager. During the course of their marriage, she gave birth to their daughter, Fernanda Luisa Fisher. She was widowed in June 2010. But, it turned out to be a blessing as she would later reveal in her memoirs. Their marriage had turned out to be a sham with Gordon becoming possessive and tyrannical with passing time. She started feeling claustrophobic but couldn’t find the courage to end their marriage. Plus, they had a daughter and she didn’t want to break their family.
Race / Ethnicity
Short cropped hairdo
Rita Moreno has appeared in TV commercials for the following –
- Superfocus eyeglasses
- Time-Life’s “The Best of the Carol Burnett Show” DVD collection (Informercial)
- American Association of Blood Banks (PSA)
- Target Stores
Best Known For
- Having played supporting roles in popular musical movies such as The King and I and West Side Story
- Being a member of the regular cast of the educational children’s TV series, The Electric Company
- Having played the supporting role in the drama TV series, Oz
As a Singer
In 2000, she released her solo music album, Rita Moreno, which was a collection of nightclub songs. The liner notes for the album were provided by Michael Feinstein.
In 2017, she collaborated with other actors to lend vocals to Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s single Almost Like Praying. The proceeds from the sales of the singles went to the Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief program, which was created to support the Puerto Rican’s who were affected by Hurricane Maria.
In 1950, she made her theatrical film debut in the American drama movie, So Young, So Bad.
First TV Show
In 1952, Rita Moreno made her first TV show appearance in an episode of the drama series, Fireside Theatre.
In her 1999 interview with the New York Post, Rita Moreno revealed that she was working out 3 to 4 times a week. She used the treadmill for her cardio work and for strengthening and endurance goals, she regularly practiced Thai Boxing.
She has also revealed that she worked hard to sustain a healthy diet throughout the week. She allowed herself to indulge in her guilty pleasures on the weekend.
Rita Moreno Favorite Things
- Clothes – Classic stuff – black, white, and beige
- Food – French and California nouvelle anything
- Style Icons – Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn
Source – New York Post
Rita Moreno Facts
- In 1936, Rita and her mother moved to New York from Puerto Rico. Her mother had just divorced Rita’s father.
- She first started speaking English while studying in an elementary school in New York.
- When she won an Academy Award for supporting role in the romantic musical movie, West Side Story, she became the first Latina to have won the prestigious award.
- In 1949, she signed a 7-year deal with MGM studio head, Louis B. Mayer. Mayer was impressed by her resemblance to Elizabeth Taylor.
- Her deal with MGM led to Moreno appearing in numerous small roles in which she was cast according to Latina stereotype. She would later call such roles embarrassing and humiliating.
- While living in her boyfriend Marlon Brando’s house, she tried to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills.
- In July 1995, she was honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with her star on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7080 Hollywood Blvd.
- In recognition of her contributions to cinema and society, the U.S. President George W. Bush presented her with Presidential Medal of Freedom in June 2004. She was awarded the National Arts Medal at a White House ceremony by President Barack Obama in February 2010.
- Soon after arriving in New York, she started taking dance lessons with Spanish dancer Paco Cansino, who was actress Rita Hayworth’s uncle.
- At the age of 11, she started lending her voice to the Spanish language versions of the Hollywood movies.
- By the time she had turned 13, she had landed her first Broadway role as Angelina in Skydrift. Her work in the show helped her attract attention from talent scouts.
- She is one of the few actresses to have won the 4 top entertainment awards – an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.
- Visit her official website @ ritamoreno.com.
- Follow Rita Moreno on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image by John Ferguson / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0