Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rita Moreno ~ December 11, 1931, Humacao, Puerto Rico

American actress Rita Moreno has managed to have a thriving career for the better part of six decades despite the institutional racism that has plagued the entertainment industry, particularly the anti-Hispanic bias that stereotyped Hispanic women as "spitfires" and sexpots. Moreno, one of the very few (and very first) performers to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy, was born born Rosita Dolores Alverío in in Humacao, Puerto Rico on December 11, 1931. She moved to New York City in 1937 along with her mother, where she began a professional career before she was a teenager. The 11-year-old Rosita got her first movie experience dubbing Spanish-language versions of American films. Less than a month before her 14th birthday on November 11, 1945, she made her Broadway debut in the play "Skydrift" at the Belasco Theatre, co-starring with Arthur Keegan and the young Eli Wallach. Although she would not appear again on Broadway for almost 20 years, Rita Moreno, as she was billed in the play, had arrived professionally. It would take her nearly as long to break through the forces of institutional racism and become the first Hispanic to win an Academy Award.

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