Rita Moreno

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her over three-hour Archive interview, Rita Moreno talks about spending her early childhood in Puerto Rico before coming to the United States at the age of five. Ms. Moreno chronicles her early stage, film and radio work, all done before her television debut in 1952. Ms. Moreno speaks about her work on G.E. Theatre, Fireside Theatre, Climax, Matinee Theatre, Playhouse 90 and other live programs. She also speaks freely about her encounters with racism. Even after her many successes in theatre and film, including an Oscar win for West Side Story, she continued working in television as a guest star on many programs. She discusses how, in 1971, she began a five-year run as a regular on The Electric Company, a PBS children's program. She has continued working and talks about most recently having been a regular on HBO's drama series Oz. Marla Miller conducted the interview in San Francisco, CA on June 22, 2000.

"I didn't know this for a long time but, I'm greatly admired by my own people. I didn't know this because we don't have a tradition of writing fan letters. That's not something we do. When I found out, just a few years ago, that Spanish Harlem practically went on fire when I got my Oscar, that windows were opening, almost like in 'West Side Story', I get goose bumps. People yelling, 'she got it! She did it!' It makes me want to cry."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Rita Moreno on appearing in the Playhouse 90 production of "Alas Babylon" and on working with Burt Reynolds on B.L. Stryker
Rita Moreno on appearing in The 20th Century-Fox Hour production of "Broken Arrow"
Rita Moreno on appearing in the classic feature film "West Side Story" and working with directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins
Rita Moreno on why The Electric Company was a special show, and important for her to do
Rita Moreno on being a role model for latino actors and actresses
Rita Moreno on guest-starring on The Nanny and doing a tag scene which referenced "West Side Story"
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on starting to appear on radio at age 10, and on her mother being a stage mother; on dubbing American films in Spanish
On appearing on Broadway at age thirteen, and on people confusing her with Chita Rivera; on appearing on various television shows at a young age; on her earliest memories of seeing television
On moving to Hollywood to appear in feature films, and being signed by MGM; on appearing in various feature films after being dropped by MGM; on appearing in various live television shows including Climax!

Chapter 2

On appearing in the Climax! production of "The Chinese Game" directed by Buzz Kulik; on various mishaps that happened during live broadcasts; on appearing on Lux Video Theatre
On appearing on Fireside Theatre and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars and on her early ethnic roles
On appearing on The Ezio Pinza Show assistant directed by John Rich, and on working with Ray Bolger; on appearing in The New Adventures of China Smith; on appearing in The 20th Century-Fox Hour production of "Broken Arrow"

Chapter 3

On appearing in the classic feature film Singin' in the Rain; on appearing in the classic feature film "The King and I" and on working with Jerome Robbins
On appearing in the classic feature film "West Side Story"; on how winning an Oscar for "West Side Story" changed her career
On how her roles changed in the '60s including westerns; on appearing in the Playhouse 90 production of "Alas Babylon" and on working with Burt Reynolds on B.L. Stryker

Chapter 4

On how acting for television is different than acting for films, and appearing in Oz; on having the "EGOT" (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) and on studying acting; on guest-starring on various series including The Jack Benny Program and on comedic timing
On doing theater after giving birth to her child; on appearing as a regular cast member on The Electric Company; on appearing on On the Rocks

Chapter 5

On the pilot for The Rita Moreno Show; on her Emmy-winning guest appearances as "Rita Capkovic" on The Rockford Files; on what it is like for an actor to guest-star on a show
On guest-starring on The Love Boat with Ted Knight; on guest-starring on Miami Vice, and on starring in 9 to 5 and dealing with network notes
On appearing in The Golden Girls episode which was a pilot for the spinoff Empty Nest; on briefly on appearing on an episode of The Larry Sanders Show
On guest-starring on The Nanny and doing a tag scene which referenced "West Side Story"; on guest-starring on Murphy Brown; on the graphic nature of her then-current series, Oz

Chapter 6

On how the television industry changed since she started; on breaking ground as a Latina actress; on being a role model for latino actors and actresses
Shows

20th Century-Fox Hour, The

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Rita Moreno on appearing in The 20th Century-Fox Hour production of "Broken Arrow"

9 to 5

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Rita Moreno on guest-starring on Miami Vice, and on starring in 9 to 5 and dealing with network notes

China Smith

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Rita Moreno on appearing in The New Adventures of China Smith and Ford Television Theatre

Climax!

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Rita Moreno on appearing in various live television shows including Climax!
Rita Moreno on appearing in the Climax! production of "The Chinese Game" directed by Buzz Kulik

Electric Company, The

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Rita Moreno on appearing as a regular cast member on The Electric Company
Rita Moreno on why The Electric Company was a special show, and important for her to do

Empty Nest

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Rita Moreno on appearing in The Golden Girls episode which was a pilot for the spinoff Empty Nest

Ezio Pinza Show, The

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Rita Moreno on appearing on The Ezio Pinza Show assistant directed by John Rich, and on working with Ray Bolger

Fireside Theatre

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Rita Moreno on appearing on Fireside Theatre and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars and on her early ethnic roles

Golden Girls, The

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Rita Moreno on appearing in The Golden Girls episode which was a pilot for the spinoff Empty Nest

Jack Benny Program, The

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Rita Moreno on guest-starring on various series including The Jack Benny Program and on comedic timing

Larry Sanders Show, The

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Rita Moreno briefly on appearing on an episode of The Larry Sanders Show

Love Boat, The

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Rita Moreno on guest-starring on The Love Boat with Ted Knight

Lux Video Theatre

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Rita Moreno on appearing on Lux Video Theatre

Murphy Brown

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Rita Moreno on guest-starring on Murphy Brown

Nanny, The

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Rita Moreno on guest-starring on The Nanny and doing a tag scene which referenced "West Side Story"

Oz

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Rita Moreno on how acting for television is different than acting for films, and appearing in Oz
Rita Moreno on the graphic nature of her then-current series, Oz
Rita Moreno on co-starring in Oz and the freedom of working on a cable series

Playhouse 90

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Rita Moreno on appearing in the Playhouse 90 production of "Alas Babylon" and on working with Burt Reynolds on B.L. Stryker

Rockford Files, The

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Rita Moreno on her Emmy-winning guest appearances as "Rita Capkovic" on The Rockford Files

Schlitz Playhouse of Stars aka Celebrity Playhouse

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Rita Moreno on appearing on Fireside Theatre and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars and on her early ethnic roles
Topics

Bloopers

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Rita Moreno on various mishaps that happened during live broadcasts

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Rita Moreno on appearing in The 20th Century-Fox Hour production of "Broken Arrow" and having to put on a Native American accent
Rita Moreno on breaking ground as a Latina actress
Rita Moreno on being a role model for latino actors and actresses

Emmy Awards

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Rita Moreno on having the "EGOT" (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) and on studying acting
Rita Moreno on her Emmy-winning guest appearances as "Rita Capkovic" on The Rockford Files

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Rita Moreno on appearing in The 20th Century-Fox Hour production of "Broken Arrow" and having to put on a Native American accent
Rita Moreno on breaking ground as a Latina actress
Rita Moreno on being a role model for latino actors and actresses

Television Industry

View Topic
Rita Moreno on how the television industry changed since she started

Underrepresented Voices

View Topic
Rita Moreno on appearing in The 20th Century-Fox Hour production of "Broken Arrow" and having to put on a Native American accent
Rita Moreno on breaking ground as a Latina actress
Rita Moreno on being a role model for latino actors and actresses
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Rita Moreno on how acting for television is different than acting for films, and appearing in Oz
Rita Moreno on having the "EGOT" (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) and on studying acting
Rita Moreno on what it is like for an actor to guest-star on a show

Performers

View Profession
Rita Moreno on how acting for television is different than acting for films, and appearing in Oz
Rita Moreno on having the "EGOT" (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) and on studying acting
Rita Moreno on what it is like for an actor to guest-star on a show
Genres

Children's Programming

View Genre
Rita Moreno on appearing as a regular cast member on The Electric Company

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Rita Moreno on appearing in the Climax! production of "The Chinese Game" directed by Buzz Kulik
Rita Moreno on appearing on Lux Video Theatre
Rita Moreno on appearing on Fireside Theatre and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars and on her early ethnic roles
Rita Moreno on appearing in The 20th Century-Fox Hour production of "Broken Arrow"
Rita Moreno on appearing in the Playhouse 90 production of "Alas Babylon" and on working with Burt Reynolds on B.L. Stryker

Comedy Series

View Genre
Rita Moreno on appearing on On the Rocks
Rita Moreno on the pilot for The Rita Moreno Show
Rita Moreno on guest-starring on The Love Boat with Ted Knight
Rita Moreno on guest-starring on Miami Vice, and on starring in 9 to 5 and dealing with network notes
Rita Moreno on appearing in The Golden Girls episode which was a pilot for the spinoff Empty Nest
Rita Moreno on guest-starring on The Nanny and doing a tag scene which referenced "West Side Story"
Rita Moreno on guest-starring on Murphy Brown

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Rita Moreno on appearing in The New Adventures of China Smith
Rita Moreno on appearing in the Playhouse 90 production of "Alas Babylon" and on working with Burt Reynolds on B.L. Stryker
Rita Moreno on her Emmy-winning guest appearances as "Rita Capkovic" on The Rockford Files
Rita Moreno on guest-starring on Miami Vice, and on starring in 9 to 5 and dealing with network notes

Drama Series

View Genre
Rita Moreno on how acting for television is different than acting for films, and appearing in Oz
Rita Moreno on the graphic nature of her then-current series, Oz

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Rita Moreno on appearing on The Ezio Pinza Show assistant directed by John Rich, and on working with Ray Bolger
People

Jack Benny

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Rita Moreno on guest-starring on various series including The Jack Benny Program and on comedic timing

Ray Bolger

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Rita Moreno on appearing on The Ezio Pinza Show assistant directed by John Rich, and on working with Ray Bolger

Fran Drescher

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Rita Moreno on guest-starring on The Nanny and doing a tag scene which referenced West Side Story

Tom Fontana

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Rita Moreno on the graphic nature of her then-current series, Oz

James Garner

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Rita Moreno on her Emmy-winning guest appearances as "Rita Capkovic" on The Rockford Files

Buzz Kulik

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Rita Moreno on appearing in the Climax! production of "The Chinese Game" directed by Buzz Kulik

Ezio Pinza

View Person Page
Rita Moreno on appearing on The Ezio Pinza Show assistant directed by John Rich, and on working with Ray Bolger

Burt Reynolds

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Rita Moreno on appearing in the Playhouse 90 production of "Alas Babylon" and on working with Burt Reynolds on B.L. Stryker

John Rich

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Rita Moreno on appearing on The Ezio Pinza Show assistant directed by John Rich, and on working with Ray Bolger

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