Celebrating the renewal of interest in one of her most iconic roles, that of Anita in the 1961 version of West Side Story (as well as as the widow Valentina in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 update), today is Rita Moreno‘s 90th birthday!
One of only a handful of performers to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award, the Kennedy Center honoree has also received lifetime achievement awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.
A producer of the documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It, Brent Miller asked Moreno the question of the day: What does it feel like turning 90?
“It doesn’t feel any different. On the face of it, nothing has changed,” said Moreno. “I’m older and deeply grateful for still being here. And inevitably, now there is concern about what’s next after West Side Story. And anyone who tells you otherwise is a damn liar.”
“I can only hope that 45 years from today, I have half the spark, passion and love for my work, my country and humanity; as well as, the physical and mental ability to share it,” added Miller.
Legendary television producer Norman Lear, who also had a hand in the documentary, calls Moreno’s life “one of the great American stories. She was three-years-old when she came here from Puerto Rico, and lived the life we celebrate today as she turns 90. God Bless America and God Bless Rita Moreno. I love them both.”