CNN Editorial Research
Here’s a look at the life of award-winning actress, singer and dancer Rita Moreno.
Birth date: December 11, 1931
Birth place: Humacao, Puerto Rico; raised in New York, New York
Birth name: Rosita Dolores Alverio
Father: Paco Alverio, a farmer
Mother: Rosa Maria Alverio, a garment worker
Marriage: Leonard Gordon (June 18, 1965-June 30, 2010, his death)
Children: Fernanda Luisa (October 28, 1966)
Her parents divorced, and she and her mother moved to New York. Her mother later remarried Edward Moreno.
First began speaking English when she entered elementary school.
She is one of an elite few known as EGOT winners. They have all won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
Believing Judy Garland would win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “Judgment at Nuremberg,” Moreno did not prepare a speech. Upon winning for her role in “West Side Story,” she said, “I can’t believe it! Good Lord! I leave you with that.”
Her late husband, Leonard Gordon, was also her manager and a retired cardiologist.
1935 – Moves to New York from Puerto Rico with her mother.
November 13-17, 1945 – Broadway debut in the play “Skydrift.”
1949 – Moreno is offered a seven-year contract with MGM by studio head, Louis B. Mayer.
1950 – Film debut in “So Young So Bad.”
1961 – Attempts suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills in the home of then-boyfriend Marlon Brando.
1962 – Wins the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “West Side Story.”
1972 – Wins a Grammy Award, with Bill Cosby, for Best Recording for Children for “The Electric Company.”
1975 – Wins a Tony Award for Best Actress, Supporting or Featured (Dramatic) for “The Ritz.”
1977 – Wins an Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music for “The Muppet Show,” and becomes an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner.
1978 – Wins an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series for “The Rockford Files.”
July 20, 1995 – The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce presents Moreno with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7080 Hollywood Blvd.
June 23, 2004 – Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by US President George W. Bush.
February 25, 2010 – President Barack Obama presents her with the 2009 National Arts Medal at a White House ceremony.
2011 – Tours the country in her one-woman show “Life without Makeup.”
January 20, 2013 – Honoring Latino culture President Obama’s second term, she appears with Chita Rivera, Eva Longoria and many others at the Latino Inaugural 2013; In Performance at the Kennedy Center.
March 5, 2013 – Her autobiography, “Rita Moreno: A Memoir,” is published.
June 2013 – Is inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame.
January 18, 2014 – Is presented with the Screen Actor’s Guild Life Achievement Award.
December 6, 2015 – Is a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.
July 29, 2019 – PBS announces that a documentary titled “Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” will air as part of the PBS American Masters series in 2020.
June 18, 2021 – The documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It” premiers in theaters.
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