Entertainment

Here’s A Quick Glimpse Into Rita Moreno’s Rise From A Little Girl In Puerto Rico To America’s Abuela

As millennials and Gen Z’ers, the only Rita Moreno we know is the one who played all our favorite abuelitas in Netflix’s One Day at a Time and The CW’s Jane the Virgin. We couldn’t imagine our television without her. We know she’s an icon and a big deal and all, but nobody will understand what a huge source of chisme she was for our parents growing up until you read this.

Rita Moreno is a wildly successful actress, spanning over 70 years of work. She also had an affair with Elvis Presley, and so much more! The tea is spilling. Get it.

Rita Moreno es puro Boricua.

CREDIT: @Harpercreates / Twitter

She was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico as Rosa Dolores Alverío Marcano. Her mother was a seamstress who was 17 years old when she gave birth, and her father was a farmer.

When she was 5 years old, her mother took her to NYC and inexplicably left her younger brother, Francisco, on the island.

CREDIT: @people / Twitter

In her autobiography, Moreno was removed from her island world of raising baby chicks and plopped into the cold Bronx.

At 6 years old, she started to take dance lessons from Rita Hayworth’s uncle.

CREDIT: @GarconsOfficiel / Twitter

She started professionally dancing at New York clubs when she was 9 years old. She recounts the applause and stage lights as the moment she knew she was meant to be on stage.

When she was 13, she was already acting on Broadway.

CREDIT: @YogaArmy / Twitter

At 16 years old, her family moved to Hollywood to continue finding her destiny. In her autobiography, she writes about how devastating it was to realize she could only land ‘ethnic’ roles. It’s all Hollywood saw in her, and she would try to cover up her olive skin with lightening powder. She was even raped by an agent when she was in her early teens.

Then, she landed the role of Anita in West Side Story.

CREDIT: @LuzCollective / Twitter

This was a huge milestone for her. Up until then, she was only playing stereotypical roles of the era.

She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story.

CREDIT: @femaleACEs / Twitter

Then she won a Golden Globe. Soon, she became the first Latino to become an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner).

Most people don’t know that her Emmy Award came from an appearance on The Muppet Show.

CREDIT: @QNS / Twitter

At the time, she was only the third person ever to accomplish an EGOT. She won a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in The Ritz (1975).

Then, she pulled herself out of the game.

CREDIT: @Anonymous1soul / Twitter

Moreno told The Miami Herald that her Oscar gave her the courage to say “no” to the belittling roles she was offered. She thought she wouldn’t have to degrade her heritage again.

”Ha, ha. I showed them. I didn’t make another movie for seven years after winning the Oscar.”

The stereotypes for Latino roles back then aren’t too dissimilar to today.

CREDIT: @fon_lost / Twitter

She told The Miami Herald, “Before West Side Story I was always offered the stereotypical Latina roles. The Conchitas and Lolitas in westerns. I was always barefoot. It was humiliating, embarrassing stuff. But I did it because there was nothing else. After West Side Story, it was pretty much the same thing. A lot of gang stories.”

Then, she met Marlon Brando on The Night of the Following Day (1968).

CREDIT: @nationalpost / Twitter

Her return to film brought her straight into the arms of the “lust of her life,” Marlon Brando. They dated on and off for eight years.

Their relationship was rocky, to say the least. He cheated on her constantly.

CREDIT: @cgvarteweb / Twitter

But the attraction was overwhelming for Moreno. According to the NY Post, she writes in her memoir, “Just meeting him that first day sent my body temperature skyrocketing as though I had been dropped into a very hot bath, and I went into a full-body blush.”

She even dated Elvis Presley as a way to make Brando jealous.

CREDIT: @Newscastpedia1 / Twitter

In her memoir, she writes, “Maybe Elvis was inhibited by inbred religious prohibitions or an Oedipal complex, or maybe he simply preferred the thrill of a denied release. Whatever put the brakes on the famous pelvis, it ground to a halt at a certain point and that was it.”

After seeing him devour a bacon and cheese sandwich and realizing he was more interested in the bocadillo than her, she never saw him again.

As if there weren’t enough men in her life, theater critic Kenneth Tynan stalked her as well.

CREDIT: @RememberThisPod / Twitter

In her memoir, she writes about how after she dated Presley, she went on a date with Tynan who suggested ‘spanking’. She literally fled after that happened and he took it upon himself to stalk her.

Moreno went back to Brando only to be forced to have an abortion and attempting suicide.

CREDIT: @SaintsOrDemons / Twitter

Brando even arranged a friend to pick her up after the illegal procedure, which was botched. The fetus never left her body and she had to go to the hospital to have it surgically removed.

Moreno found his sleeping pills and took them all. She was saved by Brando’s assistant who rushed her to the hospital where her life was saved.

Later on, she met Lenny Gordon, a Jewish doctor who was set up on a blind date by a friend.

CREDIT: @CouplesInHistor / Twitter

Moreno told him to meet on their first date right after a Broadway show. He was confused, wondering if she was going alone, or if she was on another date. When he looked at the marquee, “Rita Moreno in ‘The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window'” it finally clicked that she was the Rita Moreno.

They stayed together 45 years until Gordon died in 2010.

CREDIT: @mariajo_abel / Twitter

Together, they had one daughter, Fernanda Luisa Fisher, who has two sons, Justin and Cameron Fisher. That said, she felt claustrophobic by his possessiveness. She only felt free after he died. “After all the years of supervision, I can do whatever I want. It was a very long time to be that unhappy,” she told The Daily Beast.

Since Gordon died, she’s making up for lost time.

CREDIT: Netflix

This is why we have her as our favorite abuelita. She’s hailed for her portrayal of your average Cuban abuela in One Day at a Time. She’s absolutely regal–always dressed to the nines, like the abuelas we all know.

Her work alongside Gina Rodriguez and Jaime Camil in Jane the Virgin is the highlight of the series.

CREDIT: @JaimeCamilArg / Twitter

She’s working with people that name her as the biggest influence in their life growing up. Gina Rodriguez specifically shared her story of meeting Rita after asking her mom as a kid,

“Ma, when did Puerto Ricans come about?”

“What do you mean, Gina?”

“Well, I never see us on my favorite TV shows or movies. We must not have existed back then, right?”

And then her mom showed her Rita Moreno and Gina fell in love.

The 80-year-old icon has responded, essentially passing the inspo torch to Gina Rodriguez in this love letter.

CREDIT: @Netflix / Twitter

“In just a few years my dear, young Latinas will look up at their screens with hope in their eyes and say, “I want to be like Gina Rodriguez.” Come to think of it, I think they already do.”

😭😭😭

Rita Moreno has earned the highest civilian honor–the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

CREDIT: Wikipedia Commons

Back in 2004, President George W. Bush honored her with the medal for her lifetime achievements to the arts. Moreno has won so much more in her life–the hearts of all of us, Boricuas y todos Latinos alike. Thank you for your service to us, your community, who will lift you up for many generations to come.

Oh, and her accent on TV projects? Fake. She speaks clear American English.

CREDIT: @HNMagazine / Twitter

She’s that good an actress. The woman got lessons early on in life, mi gente. She said she just tries to imitate her mom’s accent when she gets roles like Lydia’s on One Day at a Time. Her and Justina Machado looped their own Spanish-speaking voices in for the dubbed versions. Increíble. Te quiero, mi coquí favorita.


READ: From Rita Moreno To Becky G, Gloria Estefan’s Instagram Was Lit During The Kennedy Center Honors

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A Girl In Puerto Rico Died From An Illness Because The Only Hospital In Her Area Was Destroyed During Hurricane Maria

Things That Matter

A Girl In Puerto Rico Died From An Illness Because The Only Hospital In Her Area Was Destroyed During Hurricane Maria

@ValericaCollazo / Twitter

There is sad news out of Vieques, Puerto Rico where a young teenage girl has passed away after suffering flu-like symptoms. Jaideliz Moreno Ventura, 13, died on Sunday after her condition worsened she began convulsing. Now, her family is pointing the blame on the island’s inadequate medical facilities. 

Vieques, a Caribbean island off of Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, hasn’t had a working hospital in over two years. That’s because its old primary hospital, Family Health Center Susana Centeno, was closed due to damage from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island more than two years ago.

What started out as just flu-like symptoms turned into a tragedy within the span of three days. 

It all started last Friday when Jaideliz told family members that she was experiencing flu-like symptoms. According to local media, her uncle, Carlos “Prieto” Ventura, said that she had “a fever, a sore throat, and a headache.” She was then taken to a hospital in Puerto Rico for a checkup and to be tested for influenza. While the results of the test came back negative and she returned back home to Vieques, things got worse over the weekend. 

By Sunday, Jaideliz’s symptoms only got worse as she began to have spasms and severe head pain. After the family took notice of her increasingly worse conditions, she was taken to the only health facility on the island, the Center for Diagnostics and Treatment, which was due to Hurricane Maria destroying its old hospital. According to NBC News, the clinic lacked proper medical equipment to help Jaideliz. Her cousin, José Ventura, told the news outlet that the facility didn’t have a working mechanical ventilator for oxygen, only an older manual air pump. 

By 11:30 a.m. local time Jaideliz was pronounced dead as she was being transported to Puerto Rico on an air ambulance. 

For those living on Vieques, receiving medical attention isn’t easy. Many have to take a boat to receive medical attention in Puerto Rico where trip times vary from 30 minutes to multiple hours. 

There is growing anger and blame about the teen’s death with many people pointing blame at the inadequate assistance that Puerto Rico and nearby islands have received since Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. The situation in Vieques is a perfect example of that as residents lack nearby health services and aid. 

“If we had more resources, she would be with us right now,” her cousin told NBC News. “They have forgotten about us.”

Puerto Rico’s Health Secretary, Rafael Rodríguez Mercado, says that he has ordered an immediate investigation into the death of Jaideliz and which circumstances could have caused this tragedy. Back in December, Democratic lawmakers requested an investigation into why FEMA hadn’t done anything to help rebuild Vieques’ only hospital. But lawmakers alerted FEMA about this issue in May but there was never any response. 

“In Puerto Rico, we talk a lot about how we are treated as second class citizens, but the people of Vieques and Culebra [another island off the coast of Puerto Rico] are being treated as third-class citizens,” Edgardo Román Espada, president of Puerto Rico’s Bar Association, told NBC News last May. 

Jaideliz’s family is using this tragedy as a wakeup call for health officials to do something about the deteriorating situation on the island. They are hoping for more medical supplies and equipment so this situation doesn’t happen again.

On Wednesday, a vigil was held in the girl’s honor as her family called for help. They say that they “don’t want Jai’s death to be in vain” and made the plea for more medical assistance. Her mother says the island needs to “have a dignified hospital, with medical equipment and supplies —so that no other mother will have to go through what I am dealing with now.” 

“Up to a point, the people feel abandoned, that politicians come and go, and there are no bonds of affection and our feelings are obvious. We live this problem and that is why our pain here. All this adds more regret and anguish to our people,” her uncle told local media. “This is what you live every moment on our island. We need more sensitivity. ”

This tragedy followed what has already been a tough start of the year for Puerto Rico as a 6.4 magnitude quake shook the island back on Jan.7, killing at least one person, destroying homes and leaving most utility customers in the dark. There has been an estimated $110 million in damages caused by the quake. 

READ: This Photographer Took Hundreds of Stunning Photos of the Most Endangered Indigenous Tribes Across the World

‘One Day At A Time’ Has An Update About The Theme Song That Has Fans Angry

Entertainment

‘One Day At A Time’ Has An Update About The Theme Song That Has Fans Angry

Netflix

Fans of the Netflix series One Day at a Time were likely disappointed to learn that the streaming service cancelled the show after its third season. But if you count yourself as an enthusiast, you’re probably doing a little happy dance at the news that the show will appear on basic cable TV this spring—the first time a cable network has revived a cancelled streaming series and kept it from disappearing into the ether. Pop TV announced that Season 4 of One Day at a Time will launch on Tuesday, March 24 at 9:30/8:30 CT, and the network released the following sneak peek at what’s to come:

“This season will find Penelope exploring a surprising relationship, her mother Lydia experiencing a religious crisis (as well as revealing the details of her surprise trip to Cuba with Dr. Berkowitz), and Schneider finding his relationship with Avery growing deeper. Meanwhile, Elena begins to prepare for college and Alex starts to date.”

Lots to look forward to! But as we prepare for the next iteration of the show, why don’t we take a quick look at its history? How did One Day at a Time begin, and how did it evolve into a beloved reflection of contemporary Latinx family life?

One Day at a Time first aired back in 1975, centering on a white family—a single mom and two kids, just like the current version—who lived in Indianapolis, rather than LA. It was based on the experience of Whitney Blake, one of the show’s creators, as a single mom (which, at the time, was pretty revolutionary—single parenthood was not nearly as common as it is today!). The original show explored the family’s life in the midst of divorce, something that was still pretty taboo in that era, and although it was a sitcom steeped in laughs and levity, it also highlighted the difficulties of navigating the world as a single mother.

Fast forward to 2017. One Day at a Time reemerges on Netflix, and while the same basic storyline is still there, the aura of the show is totally different (and a lot more complex). Instead of focusing on a white family, the new One Day at a Time follows the story of Penelope Alvarez, a US Army Nurse Corps veteran who struggles with her return to civilian life. Alvarez separates from her husband, who had also served in the army, due to erratic behavior caused by alcoholism and PTSD—but Alvarez herself also suffers from PTSD, a conflict that adds an important dimension to the show by offering a glimpse into a mental health reality that affects large swaths of people yet is often overlooked. So, Penelope Alvarez must not simply face the challenges of single motherhood: she must also battle with the lingering trauma of combat, all while trying to manage the stresses of quotidian life in a Cuban-American family.

One Day at a Time has been lauded for its authentic portrayal of relevant social questions that are of particular importance to the Latinx community—from immigration to LGBTQ issues, One Day at a Time gracefully addresses a wide spectrum of topical concerns.

Credit: Netflix

It’s true: One Day at a Time features characters facing the intense process of applying for citizenship. It shares the story of a character who doesn’t want to celebrate her quinceañera, who ruminates about the right time to tell her family she’s queer. It challenges gender expectations by introducing its audience to non-binary characters. In certain ways, it mirrors the original series in its willingness to address sensitive yet important issues that resemble the lives of people all over the US. Perhaps that’s part of why it’s been so well-received, and why Pop TV is willing to give it another chance.

Regarding the show’s resurrection on regular network TV, Brad Schwartz, President of Pop TV, said the following in a statement: “The enthusiastic response from fans since announcing our new season of One Day at a Time has been thrilling. “The series is more important than ever with its unmatched ability to tackle topical social issues through the lens of a relatable, loving family. The exceptionally talented team behind and in front of the camera make us proud to have One Day at a Time at home at Pop TV.”

The cast is totally lovable, super talented, and deeply engaging—so much of the praise for this show surrounds the fabulous actors at the helm. It’s been called “timely and tender,” “flat-out terrific,” “old fashioned and surprisingly new-fashioned,” and if you haven’t yet tuned in to this critically acclaimed series, make sure you catch up on Seasons 1-3 before the new season premieres in March!