Rita Moreno has been chosen to receive one of Hollywood’s highest honors, Screen Actor Guild’s Life Achievement Award. The 81-year-old Puerto Rican performer will be the 50th recipient awarded for her 70-year-long career in show business and for her humanitarian accomplishments.
SAG-AFTRA Co-President Roberta Reardon said in a statement “Rita Moreno [is] an iconic talent whose excellent work includes hit movies, highly-rated television series, landmark public television programs and award-winning recordings. She is emblematic of the broad reach and diverse coverage of our new, merged union. She is an inspiration in every effort, but never more so than with her civil rights activism, promoting equality and diversity while ushering in a more representative depiction of the American scene on screen.”
Ken Howard, SAG-AFTRA co-president added of Moreno: “She is an extraordinarily versatile, talented and generous actor whose career is notable for its courageous choices and for the breadth, depth and quality of her many demanding and commanding roles. She is a magnificent actor, and I am honored to join all SAG-AFTRA members in recognizing the incomparable Rita Moreno.”
Moreno is one of only 12 people in history to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award also known as an EGOT. She was the first Hispanic woman to ever win an Academy Award, winning best supporting actress Oscar for her performance as Anita in the hit musical “West Side Story.” She has also been awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Medal of the Arts.
Born Rosa Delores Alverio in 1931, Moreno spent the first five years in her native Puerto Rico and moved to New York once her parents divorced. She began her start in the theater, making her Broadway debut when she was 13 in a production of “Skydrift,” co-starring Eli Wallach. She soon began acting in films such as “Singin’ In the Rain” and “The King and I.”
Moreno has starred in numerous television shows such as “The Electric Company,” “The Muppet Show,” “The Rockford Files” and “Oz.” More recently, she is on TV Land’s “Happily Divorced” in which she plays the mother of Fran Drescher’s character.
The 20th annual SAG awards will air Jan. 18, 2014, on TNT and TBS.