“The nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category are … Fay Bainter, for The infamous lie; Judy Garland, for Trial in Nuremberg; Lotte Lenya, by Roman spring; A Merkel, for Summer and smoke; and Rita Moreno, for Love without barriers… “
For a moment, the expectation filled the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium with silence, while Rock Hudson received the envelope, opened it elegantly, read, without the prelude to the now classic “and the winner is …”, he molded his palate to soften the initial “r” and announced: “Rita Moreno, Love without barriers! “.
In the stalls, the actress born 30 years earlier in Puerto Rico as Rosa Dolores Alverío, displayed the beauty of her immense smile wide and traveled the distance that separated her from the stage as if under her flared skirt she had wings instead of legs, while the “bar” -with flag and all- cheered from the pullman.
There were no speeches. Just an excited “I can’t believe it”. Perhaps at that time Rita did not even think that she was making history, having become the first Latin actress to achieve such an award, one of the 10 that Love without barriers (West Side Story)– took that night of April 9, 1962.
Excited, Rita Moreno receives her Oscar award, which she played, among others, with Judy Garland.
But yes, maybe Moreno, who at that point had already been working on Broadway for almost two decades, where had his first role at age 13 like the Angelina from the play SkydriftHe thought that from that day on, the cinema would give him the opportunity to play something more than the typical stereotypical roles that had been offered to him until then.
Well, if you did, the actress, who a few years before had been the cover of Life magazine with the title Rita Moreno: catalog of sex and innocence actresses, and that by then he had already fallen in love with Marlon Brando and had had an affair with Elvis Presley, whose price was lowered as a lover, he was wrong from beginning to end.
“Ha ha. I showed it to him. After winning the Oscar I didn’t make another movie for seven years … Prior to West Side Story They were always offering me stereotypical Latina roles. Las Conchitas y Lolitas in westerns “, featured in the newspaper on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday also, in 2008.
“I was always barefoot. It was humiliating, shameful things. But I did it because there was nothing else. After West Side Story it was pretty much the same thing. A large number of gang stories “, completed the picture of the situation of those times Rita, who this Friday, June 4, presented her documentary this Friday in San Juan de Puerto Rico Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It.
And as the title of the performance expresses it, the girl had to decide “to go for that” which was her passion for acting, singing and dancing, and she did so by betting on the theater, which she confessed to EFE recently, it became his lifeline.
“The theater always saved my life”, Moreno admitted in the preview of the presentation of the documentary at the centenary Teatro Alejandro Tapia y Rivera of his land, with his 89 jovial years that will be seen in the new version of West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg.
“Theater productions have always saved my life, because there was space for me as an actress, and also to dance and sing,” said Moreno, one of the few artists who, in addition to having been awarded by the Hollywood Academy, were also awarded. in the Grammy Awards, for music; the Emmys, to television; and the Tony’s to the theater.
Clad in a dress identical to the one she wore in 1962, Rita Moreno hosted an Oscar award in 2018. Photo Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP
The curse of being Latina
In the distance, Moreno does not lose sight the bittersweet taste that only Oscar had she got for her role as Anita in the film adapted from the musical West Side Story, remembering that then “there were no roles for Latinos in the movies.”
“At that time Hollywood was full of prejudices. The door was closed for Latino actors and the only roles they gave me were to play Indian, Polynesian or Arab women. Always roles of girls who didn’t speak English well and wore low-cut suits“Moreno told BBC Mundo in 2013.
“That broke my heart, because I couldn’t find a job“Rosa Dolores Alverio recalled.” Later, they offered me a little more, but on a smaller plane, “added the legendary actress.
Despite her performance in “West Side Story” and its awards, Rita Moreno only found obstacles in the cinema, to develop a career. AP Photo
In this context, Anita’s role in West Side Story it offered the characteristics of a character that interested him, because “he had a certain dignity and personality.”
“I loved it and I was so excited. At that time, with such a great role, it was obvious that it was going to have a great success. It was a delusion,” she recalled, in line with what is seen in the record of that award. Unfortunately it was not like that.
Last plane to London
Following rejections for another major role in another great movie, Moreno decided to go to London, where he continued his career in the theater. At the end of the day, the actress had molded herself as a potential artist at age 4, listening to music through a phonograph and dancing with her grandfather in Juncos, a municipality near her hometown of Humacao, she said.
“I was interested in being an artist because I started my life dancing. Dancing was the most natural thing in the world for me. And since I was pretty, I knew I was going to get a lot of people’s attention. Wanting the public’s attention is very necessary for artists, “he admitted.
A year later, due to his parents’ divorce, he moved with his mother to New York, where he attended a dance school and polished himself by dancing and then singing. “What Puerto Rican does not know how to dance, sing and ‘rumbar’? “, he asked.
“What Puerto Rican doesn’t know how to dance, sing and ‘party’?”; a question that for Rita Moreno did not admit more than one answer.
From there to Broadway, the step was so natural that at the age of 13 he was already walking through the stages of one of the meccas of musicals and theater. And not long after, in the 1950s, Moreno made his film debut dubbing into spanish of various Anglo-Saxon tapes.
Precisely, her debut as an actress was in 1950, in the film So Young, So Bad, which got Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios to hire her.
At that time, according to the actress recalled, she still used her biological surname -Alverio-, but the directors of the studios told her that she sounded “too Italian”, so they recommended her to use Moreno, which coincidentally was her stepfather’s surname. .
Love without barriers (West Side Story), the title that combines its past with its present
Six decades will have passed since the opportunity to perform in West Side Story, when the new version of the adaptation of the musical, directed by Steven Spielberg, and in which the Puerto Rican actress will play the role of Valentina.
In keeping with current times, the criticism of the original film for its treatment of Puerto Ricans living in New York had consequences.
For this reason, for this new version, according to Moreno, “it has completely changed.” That change came after Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner visited Puerto Rico, where they organized a panel with a group of critics, actors, and producers about what they didn’t like about the original piece.
“For Spielberg and Kushner that was the most important thing, not to make those same mistakes again,” said Moreno, who in the original version of the film was dubbed in one of his interpretations, A Boy Like That.
At some point, the interpreter made her complaint public for having seen forced to force her latin accent and having to undergo tedious makeup sessions in order to darken her natural skin tone. But now the feeling is different.
The end of innocence and a relationship with Marlon Brando that “was like cocaine”
For the past, since this Friday there is Rita Moreno: catalog of sex and innocence actresses, the feature film shows the actress speaking candidly about the obstacles she faced on her way to stardom, her unhappiness during her long marriage to Leonard Gordon or sexual harassment who suffered from major Hollywood producers and her turbulent relationship with Marlon Brando.
The legendary actress presented this Friday, June 5, her documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It”, at the centennial Alejandro Tapia y Rivera Theater in Old San Juan in Puerto Rico. Photo EFE / Thais Llorca
Fittingly, when the Harvey Weinstein case came to light, Moreno realized that while everyone was in shock, there was no reason for anyone to be surprised. And during a gala celebrating women on television, she recounted her own experience of sexual harassment, from Buddy Adler.
At the time, just 19 years old and a first contract signed with 20th Century Fox, who was for years a producer at Columbia Pictures and the legendary film company that had signed her haunted her for more than a year in sunshine and shade, as she recalled. “It was terrifying, it was scary,” he said..
Instead, Rita described her love affair with the protagonist of The Godfather, which lasted for about eight years, during which the actor was married twice, as a troubled story.
In 1968, Rita Moreno and Marlon Brando shared the filming of “The Night of the Following Day”, a film of which this photograph is; Before, they had had an affair for about 8 years. Photo AP-Christie’s New York
“My relationship with Marlon was like a storm. It was sensual, divine, funny and entertaining, but mostly an obsession. It was like cocaine“, described the actress in her memoirs, where she also admits that she used the King of Rock and Roll to make Brando jealous.
Source: EFE-Jorge J. Muñiz Ortiz