By Luis Reyes
Oscar winner, Rita Moreno (Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story 1961), who also holds an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony Award, just wrote her life story, Rita Moreno: A Memoir ($27, Celebra) hit the bookstores this week.
In her memoir Rita writes about “moving from Puerto Rico to New York as a young girl, discovering singing and dancing, acting in television shows, her Oscar winning role in West Side Story, dealing with discrimination throughout her career and coming to turns with her heritage and ‘otherness’ in Hollywood. The film version of Moreno’s Tony Award-winning role as Googie Gomez in The Ritz is available on DVD from Warner Bros. Archive collection on Demand.
“Everyone seems to know about the performer,” says the Puerto Rican-born actress, who signs copies her memoir at Books & Books in Coral Gables. “The most important part of this particular story is what happened to this immigrant who didn’t know the language and decided to give Hollywood a try,” admits the 81 year-old legend.
According to Moreno, Louis B. Mayer on looking at her hair and eybrows the first time he met her, declared, “She looks like a SpanishElizabeth Taylor.”
“I was trying very hard to look like her,” Moreno says. A mistake. “This is the story of an outsider who tried to get inside and went about it entirely the wrong way.”
Rita Moreno: A Memoir is an invitation into the life of one of the most beloved Latino actresses in history. Her tales on life with and without Marlon Brando is worth the price of the book.
Luis Reyes is co-author of Hispanics in Hollywood, writer and journalist who has three decades of experience working in Hollywood. He is also a Latin Heat Contributing Editor.