Rita Moreno (born December 11, 1931 in Humacao, Puerto Rico) is the first and only Hispanic actress in history to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award.
Moreno (born Rosita Dolores Alverío) moved with her mother to New York City at the age of five. When she was eleven years old she lent her voice to Spanish-language versions of American films. She had her first Broadway role by the time she was thirteen, which caught the attention of Hollywood talent scouts. For the next ten years Moreno played roles in movies which she considered degrading.
Finally, in 1961 she landed the role of "Anita" in Robert Wise's film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's Broadway hit West Side Story, which was about the lives of two lovers from two different cultures in a gang-ridden New York neighborhood during the late 1950's. Moreno gained fame and an Academy Award as the Best Supporting Actress that year. She was the second person and the first Hispanic in history to have won an Emmy, Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. In 1985 she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre.
Moreno appeared in Singin' in the Rain (1952), The King and I (1956), and Carnal Knowledge in (1971). In the 1970s and 1980s she appeared on the PBS children's series The Electric Company and the popular family variety series The Muppet Show. She has made guest appearances on series such as The Rockford Files, The Love Boat, The Cosby Show, The Golden Girls, and Miami Vice. She was also a regular on the short-lived sitcom version of Nine to Five (based on the hit film) during the early 1980s.
During the mid 1990's she provided the voice of Carmen Sandiego on the hit animated television show "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? In the late 1990's, she gained exposure to a new generation of viewers as she played a Catholic nun trained as a psychologist in the popular HBO series, Oz. Moreno has participated in more than 50 productions, combining her television, movie and theatrical works.
It has been considered by many that one of Moreno's main contributions to the Hispanic community in Hollywood has been her ability to transcend what some have viewed as the historically discriminatory practices of Hollywood and set a precedent for Hispanic actors to be recognized by talent rather than ethnicity. Among her many awards and recognitions are the following:
Oscar Award Best Supporting Actress, "West Side Story" (1961).
"The Joseph Jefferson Award" Best Chicago Theatre Actress (1968).
Grammy Award The Electric Company Album (1972).
Tony Award Best Featured Actress, "The Ritz" (1975).
2 Emmy Awards "The Muppet Show" (1977), and "The Rockford Files" (1978).
"The Golden Apple" Cue Magazine Award.
"The Sarah Siddons Awards" for her portrayal of Olive Madison in the female version of the Odd Couple.
"Special Recognition Award" from the International Latin Music Hall of Fame (2001).
"Presidential Medal of Freedom" from President George W. Bush in June 2004.
Rita Moreno has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7083 Hollywood Blvd.
On June 18, 1965 Moreno married Lenny Gordon, who remains her husband and manager. They have one daughter, Fernanda (Gordon) Fisher. Moreno publicly revealed some years ago that she had once had an abortion.