from Puerto Rico with her mother when she was five years old. Rosita Dolores Alverio was soon taking dance lessons and performing in clubs.
Then, an agent told her she needed to change her name, and made a few suggestions,
humanity card game, like, “Orchid Montenegro.”
“Oh, but jeez, that’s a great name, I gotta say,
cards against humanities,” Rocca remarked.
“It is, actually,” said Moreno. “I’m sorry I don’t have that now. Orchid Montenegro!”
Rita Moreno was off to Hollywood. But she found she was consistently cast as a certain kind of character, with a certain kind of accent what she called the “universal ethnic accent.”
“Is that the accent you’re using as Tuptim in ‘King and I’?” Rocca asked.
“That’s also the same accent. I should be embarrassed,” Moreno said. “But it’s just, you know, I’m 81. I don’t have to be embarrassed anymore.”
She was hungry for film roles, but had to fight against characters that often reduced her to racial stereotypes the “Mexican spitfire.” “It’s funny now,” she said. “It was horrible then.”
In 1954, an editor at Life magazine spotted her and put her on the cover, where she was in turn spotted by Marlon Brando. They began a tumultuous eight year affair.
Moreno writes: “To say that he was a great lover,
cards againsthumanity, sensual,
places that sell cards against humanity, generous, delightfully inventive, would be gravely understating what he did not only to my body but for my soul.”