West Side Story and Its Aftermath
|You may listen to Rita Moreno sing the song "America" in a scene from "West Side Story" here|
In 1961, Moreno landed the role of Anita in Robert Wise's and Jerome Robbins' film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein's and Stephen Sondheim's groundbreaking Broadway musical, West Side Story, which was played by Chita Rivera on Broadway. Moreno won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for that role.
After winning the Oscar, Moreno thought she would be able to continue to perform less stereotypical film roles, but was disappointed.
"Ha, ha. I showed them. I didn't make another movie for seven years after winning the Oscar.... Before West Side Story I was always offered the stereotypical Latina roles. The Conchitas and Lolitas in westerns. I was always barefoot. It was humiliating, embarrassing stuff. But I did it because there was nothing else. After West Side Story, it was pretty much the same thing. A lot of gang stories."
Moreno went on to be the first Hispanic to win an Emmy (1977), a Grammy (1972), an Oscar (1962) and a Tony (1975). In 1985, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago.
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