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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Rita Moreno born 11 December 1931

Rita Dolores Moreno (born Rosa Dolores Alverío, December 11, 1931) is a Puerto Rican-American actress, dancer and singer. Her career has spanned over 70 years; among her notable acting work are supporting roles in the musical films The King and I and West Side Story, as well as a 1971–77 stint on the children's television series The Electric Company, and a supporting role on the 1997-2003 TV drama Oz.

Moreno is one of twelve performers to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards: an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony. She is also one of 22 people who have achieved the so-called Triple Crown of Acting, with individual competitive Academy, Emmy and Tony awards for acting; and one of only two people who have achieved both distinctions, the other being Helen Hayes. She has also won numerous other awards, including various lifetime achievement awards. Moreno also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour. 

Rita Moreno was born Rosita Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on December 11, 1931, to seamstress Rosa María (Marcano) and farmer Francisco José "Paco" Alverío. She and her mother moved to New York City in 1937, where she began a professional career before reaching adolescence. The 11-year-old Rosita got her first movie experience dubbing Spanish-language versions of US films. Less than a month before her 14th birthday on November 22, 1945, she made her Broadway debut in the play "Skydrift" at the Belasco Theatre, co-starring with Arthur Keegan and s young Eli Wallach. Although she would not appear again on Broadway for almost two decades, Rita Moreno, as she was billed in the play, had arrived professionally. 

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' Catalogue 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 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).

Heres "Bye Bye Baby" from 1959 LP "Warm Wild Wonderful"
 Director Robert Wise, who was chosen to co-direct West Side Story (1961) (the film version of the smash Broadway musical, a retelling of William Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" with the warring Venetian clans the Montagues and Capulets re-envisioned as Irish/Polish and Puerto Rican adolescent street gangs, the Jets
and the Sharks), cast Moreno as "Anita", the Puerto Rican girlfriend of Sharks' leader Bernardo, whose sister Maria is the piece's Juliet. 

However, despite her talent, roles commensurate with that talent were not forthcoming in the 1960s. The following decade would prove kinder, possibly because the beautiful Moreno had aged gracefully and could now be seen by filmmakers, TV producers and casting directors as something other than the spitfire/sexpot that Hispanic women were supposed to conform to. Ironically, it was in two vastly diverging roles--that of a $100 hooker in director Mike Nichols' brilliant realization of Jules Feiffer's acerbic look at male sexuality, Carnal Knowledge (1971) (1971), and Milly the Helper in the children's TV show The Electric Company (1971) (1971)--that signalled a career renaissance. 

Moreno won a 1972 Grammy Award for her contribution to The Electric Company’s soundtrack album, following it up three years later with a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for "The Ritz" (a role she would reprise in the film version, The Ritz (1976)). She then won Emmy Awards for The Muppet Show (1976) and The Rockford Files (1974). 

She released an eponymous album of nightclub songs in 2000 on the Varèse Sarabande label. 
She has continued to work steadily on screen (both large and small) and on stage, solidifying her reputation as a national treasure, a status that was officially ratified with the award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in June 2004. In 2009, President Obama awarded Moreno with the National Medal of Arts for her "remarkable achievements on stage and screen. 

In 2014 she was presented with the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2015 she released another album " Una Vez Más."
(Info edited from IMDB bio by Jon C. Hopwood & Wikipedia)


boppinbob said...

For “Rita Moreno – Warm Wild Wonderful” (1959) go here:

Bonus Track
11. VIVA LA YOU (bonus track from The Vagabond King) (1956)
Tracks1- 10 Rita Moreno(vo), Leroy Lovett(cond,arr) Recorded in New York City, 1959

For “Rita Moreno (2000) “ go here:

1. If Swing Goes, I Go Too 4:02
2. Sunny Side of the Street Rita 4:02
3. Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe 4:33
4. If I Loved You 3:01
5. Blizzard of Lies 3:39
6. NYC Blues 4:24
7. Lost In His Arms 2:27
8. Million Dollar Baby 2:21
9. Guess Who I Saw Today 3:50
10. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You 4:27
11. El Mar 2:35
12. Brazil 7:05
13. Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries 3:32

AllMusic Review by Heather Phares

Rita Moreno marks the Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar-winning star's debut as a solo artist. Appropriately enough for such a classic performer, the album consists mostly of pop and jazz standards mixed with a few show tunes. As always, Moreno's voice is in fine form, especially on "Guess Who I Saw Today?," "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You," and "If Swing Goes, I Go Too." Even though it's taken her this long to release a solo album, Rita Moreno is worth the wait.

Pudge said...

She is a talented woman. Thanks for this post.

boppinbob said...

Thanks Pudge, your comments are appreciated.

espo said...

Hi Bob...just a quick question..Has your "Zippyshare" player stopped working mine has cant get it to work now it been ok since you told me what to do but now cant get the player...any sugestions...cheers ...Mick

boppinbob said...

Hello Mick, Just checked my Zippy's and also yours. They seem to be working OK!

espo said...

Hi Bob...Thanbks for that....seems like its "Firefox" just a black box where the player was....Its ok on "Google Chrome"...but now having difficulty in trying to do the same on "Chrome"...that is get the player on there....Ah well back to the drawing board !!!...cheers....Mick