Role Models: Rita Moreno

Photo: Loomis Dean. Feb 11, 1954

Ladies (and gents, too), if you were ever wondering who to look up to, allow me to suggest Rita Moreno. Best known for her sassy turn as Anita in West Side Story, this strong woman made it through the assuredly murky waters of old Hollywood (with all the racism and chauvinists you could imagine). She’s an intelligent, confident person that is active in promoting the arts and humanities and is an advocate for women’s health issues, diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease, too.  Plus, I’ve seen her interviewed. She’s really funny.

She was awarded the Library of Congress Living Legends Award in 2000, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, and the American National Medal of the Arts earlier this year. That makes for an impressive trophy case considering she is an EGOT winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards). Technically, they came in this order: Oscar, Grammy, Tony, Emmy–so I guess she’s got an OGTE. All that to say that Tracy from 30 Rock would be so jealous–btw, I think Moreno would totally own a guest spot on that show.

Fun Fact: There are only 8 other people that have won all 4 awards.

Other EGOT winners include Richard Rodgers, Helen Hayes, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, and John Gielgud (technicalities would allow you to include Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, and Whoopi Goldberg). Moreno is also the first and only Hispanic to have such an honor, and she has a Golden Globe to boot.

That, my friends, is pretty awesome.

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