Here, we take a look at just a few of Moreno’s career highlights. Hey, you guys, let’s get started. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
By age 11, Moreno used her voice talents on Spanish-language versions of American films. And at 13, she made her Broadway debut in the play “Skydrift.”
Only four years later, Moreno was offered a seven-year contract with MGM by the studio’s head, Louis B. Mayer. She made her film debut in the drama “So Young So Bad” (1950). (Handout)
After the success of “West Side Story,” Moreno played on-screen roles opposite Jack Nicholson, James Garner and Marlon Brando, a man she also dated. While seeing Brando, Moreno attempted suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills. (Los Angeles Times)
With actor Bill Cosby and the rest of the cast, Moreno won a Grammy for recording for children for the soundtrack of “The Electric Company.” ()
Moreno also made a guest appearance on the drama series “The Rockford Files,” a role for which she scored another Emmy for lead actress for a single appearance in a drama or comedy series. In this photo, Moreno chats on set alongside actor Noah Beery Jr. (Bud Gray/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
The Screen Actors Guild paid tribute to actress, singer and dancer Rita Moreno on Saturday night, presenting her with the 50th SAG Life Achievement Award.
Accepting the honor, the 82-year-old performer said, “I am so ...,” and then sheepishly added, “I hope the man with the button was there on time.”
Moreno, wearing a showy black-and-gold ensemble, said she was “breathless” and “so bloody happy,” and then took the opportunity to sing a few bars from “This Is All I Ask.”
“As I approach the prime of my life,” she sang, “I find I have the time of my life.”
A show-business veteran and a SAG member for more than six decades, Moreno is one of only 11 people to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — a feat known as the EGOT.
Born Rosa Dolores Alverio in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, Moreno performed in nightclubs as a youngster and made her Broadway debut at age 13 in “Skydrift.” Using her stepfather’s surname, she first appeared on the big screen in the reform-school drama “So Young, So Bad” in 1950, and afterward was put under contract as an ingenue at MGM, where a casting director changed her first name to Rita.
Moreno’s first film for the studio was the Mario Lanza musical “The Toast of New Orleans,” and she had a small role as the flapper actress Zelda Zanders in “Singin’ in the Rain” two years later.
She would go on to star in such films as “The King and I,” “West Side Story” — for which she won her Oscar in 1962 — and “Carnal Knowledge.”
Moreno won her Grammy for “The Electric Company Album” in 1972, her Tony for “The Ritz” in 1975, and her two Emmys for appearances on “The Muppet Show” and “The Rockford Files” in 1977 and 1978.
She remains busy, having just finished a run as Fran Drescher’s mother in the TV Land comedy “Happily Divorced.” She will appear next in the upcoming indie drama “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” with Gena Rowlands.