Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno

A Memoir

Book - 2013
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In this luminous memoir, Rita Moreno shares her remarkable journey from a young girl with simple beginnings in Puerto Rico  to Hollywood legend--and one of the few performers, and the only Hispanic, to win an Oscar, Grammy, Tony and two Emmys.

Born Rosita Dolores Alverio in the idyll of Puerto Rico, Moreno, at age five, embarked on a harrowing sea voyage with her mother and wound up in the harsh barrios of the Bronx, where she discovered dancing, singing, and acting as ways to escape a tumultuous childhood. Making her Broadway debut  by age thirteen--and moving on to Hollywood in its Golden Age just a few years later--she worked alongside such stars as Gary Cooper,  Yul Brynner, and Ann Miller.

When discovered by Louis B. Mayer of MGM, the wizard himself declared: "She looks like a Spanish Elizabeth Taylor."  Cast by Gene Kelly as Zelda Zanders in Singin' in the Rain and then  on to her Oscar-winning performance in West Side Story , she catapulted to fame--yet found herself repeatedly typecast as the "utility ethnic," a role she found almost impossible to elude.

Here, for the first time, Rita reflects on her struggles to break through Hollywood's racial and sexual barriers. She explores the wounded little girl behind the glamorous façade--and what it took to find her place in the world. She talks candidly about her relationship with Elvis Presley, her encounters with  Howard Hughes, and the passionate romance with Marlon Brando that drove her to attempt suicide. And she shares the illusiveness of a  "perfect" marriage and the incomparable joys of motherhood.
Infused with Rita Moreno's quick wit and deep insight, this memoir is the dazzling portrait of a stage and screen star who longed to become who she really is--and triumphed.
Publisher: New York : Celebra, c2013.
ISBN: 9780451416377
0451416376
Characteristics: 288 p. : ill.

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mswrite
Mar 15, 2016

I have always liked and admired Rita Moreno, and I enjoyed this book, very much. Reads much better than I expected; as well as a multi-talented performer Miss Moreno is an engaging and perceptive writer, and she doesn't appear to have used a ghost writer as is the usual custom for this kind of material.

The passage about Moreno's consuming and destructive love affair with Marlon Brando is harrowing rather than gossipy, and I appreciated her candor about her conflicted feelings about her parents, particularly her emotionally distant mother.

fasttom Jan 31, 2015

Rita Moreno, the Puerto Rican singer, dancer, and actress, also proves to be a gifted storyteller in her autobiography, Rita Moreno, A Memoir. I am drawn right into her story a few chapter in, as she describes the colors and scents of Juncos, Puerto Rico, her sudden trip to New York with her mom at age five, and getting sick in the gray, sooty, frigid New York. At five years, in the infectious-disease ward, thinking she is going to die, Rita knows the three themes of her life: scared to death, fighting to survive, and forever a foreigner in more ways than you know. Her story is told with wit, compassion and insight. Born Rosita Delores Alverio in 1931, Rita changes her name to Rita Moreno taking the surname of her stepfather, Edward Moreno, to make her name sound less like a foreigner. Rita is the name of her idol, actress Rita Hayworth. Dancing, singing, and acting help her cope with turbulent childhood. She faces many obstacles in her life, yet always perseveres with the help of her mother and her own hard work. I highly recommend Rita Moreno, A Memoir. Her story is inspiring, sad at times and well worth the read.

d
Dee1nyc
Aug 18, 2014

Who knew about the love/lust relationship with Marlon Brando? There were sad emissions but it made her be the person she is. Very proud of her still and enjoyed this book. Its honest, humbling and I think she still has more to say.

MmeLeChat Feb 09, 2014

This is the most literary memoir I've read recently of a person in the entertainment industry. (The majority are written in the style of a high school sophomore's diary.) Although I believe Rita Moreno was assisted by a professional in the writing, her true voice and emotions are eloquently apparent. This book allows us to follow her from a carefree childhood in the tropics of Puerto Rico, all the way through the jungles of New York and Hollywood. This is an honest, poignant, joyful retelling of her well-lived life.

LaughingOne Sep 03, 2013

What a road Rosita traveled to get to where she is today! I remembered her mostly from her performance in "West Side Story" and had no idea she had won not only an Oscar for that role, but also a Grammy, a Tony and two Emmys. The memoir was a bit confusing to read as it was not chronological. One section would end but then a new section would cover some of the same time period, without being very specific about dates, so I had no idea how old she was and it took awhile to realize the memoir had gone back in time and looked at her life from a different angle.

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