Cites Citizen Kane , as her all-time favorite film.
She made a guest appearance on an episode of "Father Knows Best" ("Fair Exchange" #5.10, originally telecast Nov. 24, 1958). Rita played Chanthini, an exchange student from India who spends a weekend at the Anderson home with her college classmate Betty (Elinor Donahue).
When filming her final scene in West Side Story in which her character "Anita" is harassed and nearly raped by New York street gang members "the Jets", she was reduced to tears, as it brought flashbacks of similar real life childhood experiences. When she broke down, the other actors nobly stopped and comforted her, helping her to get through the scene, pointing out that the audience was going to hate the gang members for what they were doing, as "Anita" was well meaning in what she was doing, and the sequence set up a critical plot element.
In 1977, she became the ninth performer to win the Triple Crown of Acting: (Oscar: Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story , Tony, Best Featured Actress, The Ritz and Emmy 1977 ("The Muppet Show" ) and 1978 ("The Rockford Files" ).
Of the nine people who won all four major entertainment awards (Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy), Moreno won all four awards in the shortest amount of time within a 16 year time frame. Winning the Oscar in 1962, Grammy in 1972, Tony in 1975 and her first of two Emmys in 1977. Composer Richard Rodgers is second, winning his four awards within a 17 year time frame.
Daughter Fernanda Luisa was born in 1967. A successful jewelry designer, she founded Nandiz Design. She is married to Daniel Gordon and has two children named Justin and Cameron.
She was awarded "Best Guest Artist" Joseph Jefferson Award for her role in Tennessee Williams' "The Rose Tattoo" at the Ivanhoe Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
During the first season (episode 19) of "The Electric Company" , she was in a sketch in which she yelled "Hey, you guys!" repeatedly. It became so popular with the show's producers that they decided to use it as the catchphrase in their opening, starting with season two.
In 1975, she won Broadway's Tony Award as Best Supporting Actress (Drama or Comedy) for her riotous performance as "Googie Gomez", a fifth rate Latin torch singer relegated to singing in a gay bathhouse in "The Ritz," a role she recreated in the hilarious film version, The Ritz .
Measurements: 34-22-34 1/2 (September 1956), 34-23-35 (filming The Four Seasons ), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).
Appeared in the pilot for the TV series "Empty Nest" , which was an episode of "The Golden Girls" . The premise was changed in the final version of "Empty Nest" , in which she did not appear.
Is a key spokesperson in raising the awareness of osteoporosis and, in 2000, was presented with an award from the National Osteoporosis Foundation for her work.
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush .
Portrayed Amanda Wingfield from Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie at the Berkeley Reperatory Theater in Berkeley, California (July 2006)