May 12, 2019
Rita Moreno is an American treasure. She is the first performer to have won a Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy: an Oscar for West Side Story in 1961; a 1972 Grammy Award for her contribution to "The Electric Company"'s soundtrack album; a Tony Award in 1975 for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for "The Ritz"; and back to back Emmys in 1977 and 78.
She was born Rosita Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on December 11, 1931 to seamstress Rosa María and farmer Francisco José Alverío. Rosita and her mother moved to New York City in 1937, where she began a professional career making her Broadway debut on November 22, 1945, less than a month before her 14th birthday co-starring with Arthur Keegan and a young Eli Wallach in the play Skydrift at the Belasco Theater.
Although she would not appear again on Broadway for almost two decades, Rita Moreno, as she was billed in the play, had arrived professionally.
Then, on March 1, 1954, Rita was featured on the cover of Life Magazine. As she remembers, the legendary Hollywood producer and studio head, Daryl Zanuck saw the cover and said, “Get me that girl!”
The rest as they say is history and the continuation of a magical career that has spanned more than 7 decades and continues to this day. At age 87, Ms. Moreno still has the joy of life that brought her to the party.
On a personal note, several years ago, I had the honor of co-hosting with Ms. Moreno at the White House Hispanic Heritage Awards in Washington DC.
Recently, she graciously accepted an invitation from Dr. Robert Vela, President at San Antonio College to speak at Annual SAC Fiesta Brunch held at the Pearl Stables in San Antonio and thanks to Dr. Vela, I had an opportunity to sit down with Rita and catch up!
Here is that visit, sprinkled with highlights of her memorable presentation.
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