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RITA MORENO was born Rosa Delores Alverio in Humacao, a small town near the famous rain forest in Puerto Rico. When she was five years old, Rita Moreno and her mother moved to New York, and the following year she started dance lessons. At age 13, Rita made her Broadway debut in Skydrift starring Eli Wallach. Then, in the true tradition of Hollywood, a talent scout arranged a meeting between the 17-year-old Moreno and Louis B. Mayer, who signed her to a contract with MGM.
Moreno made some 25 films early in her career, most of them relegating her to the stereotyped roles of "Mexican spitfire" or "Indian maiden." It was only after Rita Moreno won an Oscar for her outstanding performance as Anita in West Side Story that she was finally recognized as a major talent.
Rita Moreno is the only female performer to have won all four of the most prestigious show business awards: the Oscar, the Emmy, the Grammy, and the Tony. On Broadway, Rita Moreno has appeared in Gantry, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The National Health, and The Ritz, for which she received the Tony Award for Best Actress. She was most recently seen on Broadway as the lead in the female version of The Odd Couple.
Her exhaustive theater repertory includes Serafina in The Rose Tattoo, for which she received the coveted Joseph Jefferson Award, and Olive Madison in The Odd Couple, for which she received the 1986 Sarah Siddons Award. On screen she has appeared in The Night of the Following Day, in which she played opposite Marion Brando, and in Marlowe, Popi, Carnal Knowledge, The Ritz, and The Four Seasons.
Rita Moreno has also been the starred in and made guest appearances on a wide variety of television productions, notably the highly regarded educational series, The Electric Company, and The Muppet Show, for which she won an Emmy. Most recently she has played Sister Peter Marie Reimondo, a streetwise nun in the HBO series Oz, a role for which she won a CableAce award in 1998.