Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Boricua and EGOT Winner Rita Moreno Says Show Business is a Tough Business...

Aaah, the things you stumble upon at 3AM in the morning when you can't sleep, and there is an iPad sitting on the nightstand next to your bed. Not sure how I landed on this WSJ interview with boricua actress Rita Moreno (born December 11, 1931) but bleary-eyed, I watched the interview. And then I couldn't help myself and I also watched Ms. Moreno's appearance on The Muppet Show

Rita Moreno (now an octogenarian) is a part of that elite group of entertainers, who have taken home an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (EGOT). 
  • Emmy - The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files
  • Grammy - The Electric Company Album
  • Oscar - West Side Story
  • Tony - The Ritz

Obviously Ms Moreno's journey (especially as a Latina actress) was not easy. The interview touches on the bias in Hollywood against Latinos when she started in show business decades ago and the lack of role models. Surprisingly, when the interviewer asked if Ms Moreno has ever received any calls from younger prominent Latina actresses such as J. Lo thanking her for being a mentor and her contributions, she said no. 

My goodness, where is the sense of community!! 

Think what you may about Halle Berry and her acting capabilities, I loved her Academy Award acceptance speech when she emotionally acknowledges those before her: 
This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It's for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it's for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I'm so honored. I'm so honored.  
Getting back to the interview, after my recent post, I of course perked up when the March on Washington was mentioned. Ms. Moreno was a part of a group of Hollywood artists that Harry Belafonte put together for the March; she sat next to Diahann Carroll and was only 10 feet away from MLK during the "I Have a Dream" speech. On that day, she knew that she was experiencing a historic event.

Young Latina actresses may not be ringing off Ms. Moreno's phone, but there is no doubt that she is legendary. Thanks to Ms. Moreno (who I think was the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award and probably the only Latina EGOT), the "door" is at least ajar now.

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