West Side Story Oscar-Winning Actress Rita Moreno in New Role at Age 86

Rita Moreno, the dazzling Latino who, at age 86, will appear in the upcoming adaptation of West Side Story with Steven Spielberg directing. She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in the original 1961 musical. She’ll also serve as executive producer on the new film.

New Adaptation of Iconic West Side Story 

Her performance in the original West Side Story is considered one of the greatest musical performances ever filmed. She sang “America” and “Tonight Quintent”. In the iconic original film, Anita is Maria’s best friend. Maria is the girl whom Tony, the leader of the Jets gang, falls in love with which is complicated by the fact that Maria is the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the rival gang the Sharks. The two gangs are building up for a fight.

The Pulitzer prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner has conceived a new role especially for Moreno in the new adaptation. She will play Valentina. Valentina is the owner of the corner store where Tony works. In the original version, the store owner was a man named Doc.

Fun with Fashion: Recycling 57 Year Old Dress

Rita Moreno confidently appeared at the 2018 Oscars in the 56 year old dress she wore when she was awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. This time, the dress, originally a high neck halter dress, was cut down to a strapless bodice which Moreno wore with opera length black gloves. The skirt originally made from a Japanese kimono Obi belt was left intact . She freshened the look with a bold gold and black statement necklace and wide black headband.

Award-Winning, Working Actress

The iconic actress is one of only 15 people who have earned the coveted EGOT status. She has won two Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. Moreno has no plans for slowing down. She loves acting and is currently in her second season playing “Abuelita” on the Latin remake of the 1975-1984 series One Day at a Time. When she met with producer Norman Lear and the writers, she had one important request for the role. She asked that her character be a sexual being. The writers whooped when they heard her request and have taken full advantage of her request resulting in many hilarious situations on the show.

Rita Moreno’s Secret to a Happy Life

Moreno’s secret for a happy life at age 87 is her outlook on life. “I’m having the time of my life. I wake up humming. I’m so spoiled. I expect wonderful things to happen.” Moreno is currently filming the third season of One Day at a Time, the Netflix reboot of Norman Lear’s original sitcom. She also recently produced an album in Spanish produced by Emilio Estefan.

She reminisces about the culture shock of arriving in New York City from Puerto Rico as a child of 5 with her mother. Suddenly, she was “different”. From her mother, she learned to never give in, never quit. Keep on moving. It was sink or swim. After the huge success of West Side Story, Moreno didn’t do another film for seven years which broke her heart. She’s still a Spanish spitfire full of energy and grit and she keeps on moving forward. Of her success later in life, she says “It’s as though I’ve needed to get older to have more success.”

We want Rita Moreno to keep on moving, creating and being her dynamic, original self.

What do you remember about Rita Moreno’s performance in West Side Story? Do you remember how it made you feel?