It may be hard to believe, considering her unflagging energy and indomitable spirit, but West Side Story actress Rita Moreno is now 90 years old. The EGOT winner celebrated her latest birthday on December 11, and everyone on social media was feeling the love — including several cast and crew members from Rita Moreno’s streaming-turned-TV sitcom One Day at a Time.
Rita Moreno memorably starred as Lydia on the critically acclaimed sitcom revival One Day at a Time from 2017 until the series’ final season in 2020. Justina Machado, who played Lydia’s daughter Penelope, took to Instagram to pay tribute to her onscreen mother. Check out her post below:
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Like TV mother, like TV daughter. Isabella Gomez, who portrayed Penelope’s LGBTQ daughter Elena on One Day at a Time, also gave her fictional grandmother Rita Moreno a social media shout-out. Take a peek at her sweet message here:
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Rita Moreno’s 90th birthday is far from the first time the cast of One Day at a Time has extolled the virtues of the West Side Story star. Justina Machado was in attendance at the West Side Story premiere to cheer on her friend, looking svelte in a black velvet blazer despite her crutches and cast from a recent injury. One Day at a Time producer Norman Lear also recently gave a rave review to the biographical documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It. In addition to Lear, Machado also makes an appearance in the documentary to talk about Rita Moreno’s incredible influence on the world of entertainment.
On their celebratory social media posts, Justina Machado referred to Rita Moreno as a “legend,” while Isabella Gomez called her a “queen.” Both titles are entirely apt: in the decades since Rita Moreno first stepped onstage, she’s become a paragon of theatrical excellence. The Puerto Rican actress is one of only 16 celebrities to claim the legendary EGOT status, in which an actor wins an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award. Rita Moreno is one of just two people to have the Triple Crown of Acting and an EGOT under her belt, the other being the classic theatre and film actress Helen Hayes.
In addition to her newly released documentary, Rita Moreno can also be seen in Steven Spielburg’s new adaptation of West Side Story as Valentina. The character is a reworking of Doc, a drug store owner and paternal figure that appeared in the stage musical and the 1961 film version. Ariana DeBose (The Prom) takes over Rita Moreno’s original Oscar-winning role as Anita.
West Side Story is now playing in theaters everywhere. The first three seasons of One Day at a Time are available to stream now on Netflix, while the fourth and final season can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video. And here's hoping for many happy returns for the excellence that is Rita Moreno.
Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.
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