Why Everyone Should Know Rita Moreno
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Why Everyone Should Know Rita Moreno

The legendary actress has broken many records yet was failed to be acknowledged by the New York Times as an accomplished actress during the 75th Annual Golden Globes this past weekend.

Why Everyone Should Know Rita Moreno
via Mitchell Weinstock on Flickr

The 75th Annual Golden Globes was a historic night as the attendees, almost unanimously dressed in black, used the event to support the message that #Time'sUp for sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and beyond. The night brought on many huge wins for shows like A Handmaid's Tail and actors Laura Dern, Sterling K. Brown (who "became the first male black actor to win a Golden Globe for Best Lead Actor in a TV Drama"), Nicole Kidman, Elizabeth Moss, and Aziz Ansari (who became "the first male of Asian descent to win a best actor award in a television category"). However, nothing could top the inspiring speech given by Oprah as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, proclaiming that "For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men — but their time is up. Their time is up!"

And while the night was full of praises for the major accomplishments made by women, one woman seemed to be forgotten in the mix, an offense the public did not take lightly.

The New York Times posted a photo of TV legend Norman Lear, captioning the photo to be a portrait of him "and a guest." It just so happened that the "guest" in question was the incredible Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican actress who is of the few with an EGOT status and is well-known for her multitude of roles including Anita in West Side Story, Tuptim in The King & I, and Singing In The Rain.

Journalist Yashar Ali made note of the caption and immediately contacted the New York Times:

Other admirers of Rita Moreno took to social media to share their similar feelings of anger and disgust over the oversight of such an irreplaceable talent. Even Norman Lear reached out to the printing company with his own caption: "@TheRitaMoreno and guest." The New York Times has since fixed the caption stating an apology for not properly acknowledging "the wonderful Rita Moreno."

Rita Moreno is one of twelve people to be honored with an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony) for her incredible work in theater and on the screen. On top of that, she has also achieved the Triple Crown of Acting and is one of three who has achieved both in a lifetime.

In 1961, Moreno won the Academy Award for the role of Anita in the Jerome Robbins musical film West Side Story. She became the first Latina actress to win such an accolade and inspired an entire generation of young actresses with her mark in cinematic history.

Following the success of West Side Story, Moreno found herself struggling to find work that did not pigeonhole her into the stereotypes that Latinos in Hollywood at the time were regularly subjected to play. Roles that involved portraying her as Native American, gang members, Chonchitas or Lolitas were no longer acceptable to her which was difficult in an industry that placed limitations based on ethnicity and the color of one's skin.

Then the 1970s brought along a new project as Moreno became a regular on the children's show The Electric Company. Alongside actors Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby & Luis Ávalos, her six seasons of educating children through acting, song, and dance won her and her fellow cast members a Grammy Award.

Her talent was amazed by all and it wasn't long before Moreno found herself on a Broadway stage in a Terrence McNally farce titled The Ritz. The play opened in 1975 and her portrayal of the Puerto Rican entertainer Googie Gomez earned her a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.

As her television work continued, guest performances on The Muppet Show in 1977 and The Rockford Files in 1978 earned her two Emmy Awards, earning her a well-deserved place in history.

And the honors do not stop there. Moreno has also been awarded the Kennedy Center Honors as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts. She has graced the screen with her talent in shows such as Oz (1997-2003) and has returned to the stage most recently with her autobiographical play in 2011 titled Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup written by Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone. Her voice is also among the many Latinos who participated in performing in Lin-Manuel's song for Puerto Rico "Almost Like Praying."

Moreno’s most recent work can be seen on the Netflix series One Day at a Time, a remake of the original sitcom produced by Norman Lear himself. She has been critically acclaimed for her performance as the Cuban-American grandmother, Lydia Riera. The second season is set to be released on January 26th.

Rita Moreno is truly a national treasure. Through her story and her incredible performances, she continues to inspire actors. We must never forget that for a legend like her should be known and admired by all.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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