Rita Moreno: Memorias (Spanish) Paperback – 6 Aug 2013
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"It's clear Rita Moreno was a pioneer in every aspect of her life."--The Huffington Post
"Sure to inspire and empower, straight from our very own living legend and the original triple threat: Rita Moreno."--Being Latino
It's clear Rita Moreno was a pioneer in every aspect of her life. The Huffington Post
Sure to inspire and empower, straight from our very own living legend and the original triple threat: Rita Moreno. Being Latino
" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Rita Moreno es una de las pocas artistas que ha ganado un Emmy, un Grammy, un Oscar, y un Tony. Tambien recibio un Globo de Oro y una Medalla de Honor Nacional. Recientemente concluyo la presentacion de su monologo" Life Without Makeup," que agoto las localidades del Berkeley Repertory Theatre de Berkeley, California, y aparece frecuentemente en la serie de television "Happily Divorced.""
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Moreno is one of the few performers to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, along with the National Medal of Honor. She recently concluded a one-woman show about her life entitled Life Without Makeup and currently appears on the television series "Happily Divorced" on TV Land.
No matter who you are, Moreno has probably touched your life in some way during her nearly eight decades of performing. I discovered her on the PBS children's educational series "The Electric Company," which typically aired after "Sesame Street" in the 1960s/70s. How surprised I was to find that she already had decades of experience under her belt, with a highlight being her glorious Oscar win for Best Performance by a Supporting Actress in 1961's West Side Story.
RITA MORENO tells the entire story of this incredible and determined woman. The memoir opens with a young girl, suffering from a deadly bout of chicken pox, in a run-down New York City hospital in 1936. She is practically right off the boat from Puerto Rico and barely speaks any English. Rosita Delores Alverio arrived in America with her mother, leaving behind a younger brother and large family in Puerto Rico. Young Rosita survived the chicken pox, but never got over the culture shock of leaving the Technicolor world of Puerto Rico for the dreary, black and white façade of NYC. She also did not realize then that she would never see her baby brother again.
Rosita loved to dance and was a natural entertainer. She imitated Carmen Miranda at parties and found her first Broadway role at the age of 13. Her persistent mother she called "Mami" pushed her to excel because she recognized her natural talent. Mami moved them around to various homes, and men, in an effort to provide Rosita with the opportunity to succeed. Rosita's show business career took off and sometimes even was the impetus for Mami's failed relationships. Early in her film career, she decided on the name "Rita Moreno," ironically taking the last name of a man her mother married and worshipped but who "Rita" never respected.
The tales of Hollywood during the Golden Age are a pleasure to read. From her discovery by Louis B. Mayer of MGM --- who compared her to a personal idol of hers, Elizabeth Taylor --- and straight through to her experiences with the likes of Gene Kelly, Ann Miller, Yul Brynner and a slew of other classic stars --- the memoir always rings true as presented by Moreno's unique voice. The struggles of her being an ethnic actress and having to suffer through stereotypical casting, from Indian squaws to Asian princesses, reveal the darker side of this period in Hollywood.
The heartbeat of this book are Rita's loves. Though she had been linked at times with the likes of Elvis Presley and Howard Hughes, she states that there were only two great loves of her life. The first was the legendary Marlon Brando; their relationship was volatile and full of ups and downs that featured times so low it caused Moreno to attempt suicide. The other great love was her husband of 46 years, Lenny Gordon; the last days of Lenny's life are especially touching.
RITA MORENO is a portrait of a celebrity we all feel we know and ends up being a long and enduring saga that enlightens us to just how little we really did know about this highly successful woman. This is a journey of self-discovery that makes for a nice trip down memory lane. The most encouraging part is that it's about someone who has loved life to the fullest and continues to maintain a positive spirit about who she is and what she has accomplished while always remaining grounded in her family.
- Ray Palen
Moreno's story is broken down into four parts, each one chronicling her evolution from humble little Rosita Dolores Alverio from Juncos into the sizzling songstress/screen siren, Rita Moreno. It's a tumultuous journey of insecurity, doubt, passion and self-discovery told in the most raw and honest of ways. In it, she describes the lush landscape of her native Puerto Rico, her struggle to break on to the Hollywood scene and her harrowing and debilitating relationship with bad boy, Marlon Brando. On the surface, Moreno's life seems so perfect but underneath it all it's one built atop broken promises --- by her mother and father, by Hollywood and by many lovers --- the strength she pulls from all these experiences though, that's what makes this book such an incredible one to read. Her story is as captivating as she herself is on screen.
You can really get a feel for Moreno's personality solely by looking at the way she tells her story --- it's exotic, wild, imaginative, vivid and rich with detail. As a reader, I became keenly aware of all of my senses and was atune to the world in an entirely new way. It's particularly evident in the first part where she relives her childhood. Moreno speaks of it as though she's still that child. You view the world through her young eyes and get to experience that sense of wonder and magic and blissful unawareness that comes with being an innocent, little kid. This book is packed with insight as Rita recounts her rise to fame and her experiences on the silver screen. I loved how she reviews her past performances in a more objective way. It's interesting to see what she's most critical about and what of those early performances she can really appreciate. Also, the black/white photographs don't hurt either!
Rita goes into detail on how much the film industry has changed since the 50's and 60's. Back then, stereotyping was common practice and she was viewed as the "universal ethnic girl." She's worked hard to break way from the trade-marked Latina "spit-fire" image that was portrayed of her, instead vying for roles that cast her as a genuine, realistic person. I was really excited to read about her time on the West Side Story set, but much to my dismay, this chapter of her life is somewhat glossed over. What I did love was how Moreno touches on fond and not-so-fond memories of the more well-known contemporaries of her time (Gene Kelly, Joan Crawford, Natalie Wood, Elvis --- to name a few) which acts as a tribute to them, in a way. Ultimately though, this book isn't about Hollywood, it's about her and appropriately so. Each intricate detail and every little story chronicles some important facet of her amazing life and incredible journey.
One of the most evident things she talks about are the hardships she's endured. The issues in her working life are nothing compared to the ones she endures in her love life though. Her tumultuous relationship with Marlon Brando coupled with constant abuse led her to attempt suicide, but it's her inner strength and determination that pulls her through it. And this is why she's so admirable. She's got the fortitude and gusto to walk away having learned something. Moreno's journey is a tragic one, but unlike many of the Hollywood greats, hers has a happier ending than the Judy Garland's and Mario Lanza's of her day. Rita is a woman who did what she had to do to survive and become successful. She's a woman who never loses sight of the end goal. She is admirable and brave. In the end, Moreno is shaped less by the characters she played and more by the experiences behind them.
Moreno is a multi-faceted woman --- she's strong, passionate, vivacious, demure and incredibly self-concious. Despite wearing a tough and sexy visage, like many of her contemporaries, she's more than just another pretty face. This book is her personal narrative on how she conqured the world and, if anything, it's one of the most authentic books I've ever read. She's had quite the journey and even though it wasn't alwasy the easiest, it was certainly an incredible one.
Food for Thought: Rita Moreno: A Memoir is the story about respected singer/actress, Rita Moreno. The story chronicles Moreno's journey from Puerto Rico to America and her struggles for fame, love and leading a fulfilling life. Featuring vignettes on her films, behind-the-scenes gossip on her fellow actors, intimate details about her love life, it's a tale of survival, reinventing yourself and overcoming crippling self doubt.