Born 1931 as Rosa Dolores Alverío Marcano in Humacao, Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer Rita Moreno began her first dancing lessons soon after arriving in New York with a Spanish dancer known as “Paco Cansino”, who was a paternal uncle of film star Rita Hayworth.
When Moreno was 11 years old, she lent her voice to Spanish language versions of American films. She had her first Broadway role—as “Angelina” in Skydrift—by the time she was 13, which caught the attention of Hollywood talent scouts.
Rita Moreno is a Puerto Rican actress, dancer, and singer. Her career has spanned over 70 years; her notable acting work includes supporting roles in the musical films Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The King and I (1956) and West Side Story (1961), as well as a 1971 to 1977 stint on the children’s television series The Electric Company, and a supporting role as Sister Peter Marie Reimondo on the HBO series Oz from 1997 to 2003. Her other notable films include Popi (1969), Carnal Knowledge (1971), The Four Seasons (1981), I Like It Like That (1994) and the cult film Slums of Beverly Hills (1998). She voiced the titular role of Carmen Sandiego in Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? from 1994 to 1999. For theater, she is best known for her role as Googie Gomez in The Ritz.
Moreno is one of the few artists to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. She is also one of 24 people who have achieved what is called the Triple Crown of Acting, with individual competitive Academy, Emmy and Tony awards for acting; she and Helen Hayes are the only two who have achieved both distinctions. She has won numerous other awards, including various lifetime achievement awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. In 2015, she was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor for her contribution to American culture through performing arts. She was awarded the Peabody Career Achievement Award in 2019.
Take a look at these charming photos to see the glamorous beauty of young Rita Moreno in the 1950s.