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Rita Moreno

A Memoir

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In this New York Times bestselling memoir, Rita Moreno shares her remarkable journey from a young girl with simple beginnings in Puerto Rico to Hollywood legend—and one of the few performers, and the only Hispanic, to win an Oscar, Grammy, Tony and two Emmys.

Born Rosita Dolores Alverio in the idyll of Puerto Rico, Moreno, at age five, embarked on a harrowing sea voyage with her mother and wound up in the harsh barrios of the Bronx, where she discovered dancing, singing, and acting as ways to escape a tumultuous childhood. Making her Broadway debut  by age thirteen—and moving on to Hollywood in its Golden Age just a few years later—she worked alongside such stars as Gary Cooper, Yul Brynner, and Ann Miller.

When discovered by Louis B. Mayer of MGM, the wizard himself declared: “She looks like a Spanish Elizabeth Taylor.”  Cast by Gene Kelly as Zelda Zanders in Singin’ in the Rain and then on to her Oscar-winning performance in West Side Story, she catapulted to fame—yet found herself repeatedly typecast as the “utility ethnic,” a role she found almost impossible to elude.

Here, for the first time, Rita reflects on her struggles to break through Hollywood’s racial and sexual barriers. She explores the wounded little girl behind the glamorous façade—and what it took to find her place in the world. She talks candidly about her relationship with Elvis Presley, her encounters with Howard Hughes, and the passionate romance with Marlon Brando that nearly killed her. And she shares the illusiveness of a “perfect” marriage and the incomparable joys of motherhood.

Infused with Rita Moreno’s quick wit and deep insight, this memoir is the dazzling portrait of a stage and screen star who longed to become who she really is—and triumphed.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 29, 2013 – Most famous as Anita in West Side Story, Moreno, now 81, shares her life story in this candid memoir spanning her unceremonious childhood arrival from Puerto Rico to her decades-long career in show business. Born Rosita Alverio in Juncos, Puerto Rico, Moreno gets a rude awakening when in 1936 her single mother moves her to New York City. She finds a passion for singing and dancing while her mother looks for a new husband. Soon, Hollywood knocks on her door. Moreno gives the "Old Hollywood" studio system a long, honest look: she receives her stage name from a studio executive, she is regularly sent out on arranged "dates" with young actors, is made to attend a "troll-and-starlet" mixer with studio funders, and romances several celebrities of her time. In an era when actresses were rampantly "pretending to be ethnicities they obviously not," Moreno is cast again and again as the "hot Latin spitfire" when she was a "reliable, hardworking actor always in search of a better part." There is no question that Moreno's career wound its way through an interesting era; the memoir is a capably composed, entertaining read for anyone with a pre-existing interest in Moreno or 1950s Hollywood.

Customer Reviews

Loved it

I've been a Rita Moreno fan since I first saw her on OZ" tv serie.... Such an inspiration 2 future generations.. Thank u Rita.


Loved this reading. I always wondered what happened to Rita Moreno. Her openness and candor in this book brought tears. She comes through as a feisty woman who like many of us struggles to find her voice and to get the validation and respect she is most deserving of. I am a professional woman of Puerto Rican origin who totally got the picture of how it must have felt in her era to live with the lack of acknowledgment of her gifts and talents. Brilliant and courageous self-reflections. I applaud you Rita!

From beginning to end

I could not put this book down. The journey from humble beginnings to a new world and ultimate success took me into her life completely.
Honest, well written and captivating. This is is a must read.

Rita Moreno
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Mar 05, 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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