Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rita Moreno at 81: "I'm in the prime of my life, I wake up humming..."

The Puerto Rican singer, dancer and actress Rita Moreno, epitomizes the concept of growing old with zest and vitality. But the actress, best known for the 1961 musical, West Side Story, has not always lived a life of glamour.  She is a surviver in every sense of the word.  When we met in Hollywood, to talk about her autobiography, I encountered an 81-year old who was sassy, sexy and hugely content with her life.  Moreno is the only Hispanic, and one of only a handful of performers, to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and a Tony Award. She was given a Best supporting actress Academy Award for her signature role in West Side Story. In her book, she tells the story of her unlikely rise to stardom in the US and her long affair with screen icon Marlon Brando. She discusses racism in Hollywood and her obsession with looking like Elizabeth Taylor. It was announced recently that Moreno is to receive the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award for her career and humanitarian work.  BBC VIDEO: PICTURE THIS