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Rita Moreno Looks Back at Her Iconic Career & Her Love For the Gays

Rita Moreno Looks Back at Her Iconic Career & Her Love For the Gays


The legendary actress and Santa Bootcamp star is taking Out down memory lane.

From West Side Story to The Ritz, Rita Moreno has established an iconic career in entertainment.

As one of the only entertainers to achieve EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) status, Moreno is beyond grateful for her success in Hollywood.

"I can't believe this. Every day I wake up, I say how thankful I am out loud. I'm trying to be 90 with grace and humor. That's what I'm trying to achieve and I think I'm doing it very well," Moreno tells Out.

Even at 90 years old, the actress is busier than ever. Her next project, timely for the holidays, is her starring role as Belle in Lifetime's Santa Bootcamp. Belle is the bootcamp's drill sergeant with a heart of gold, who helps everyone rediscover the magic of Christmas.

"If you read the description of Mrs. Claus, you imagine a little tubby and cute woman. I did not want that! I wanted her to be a bit of a smart-ass and very blunt and direct. I was allowed to do that and that made me so happy."

Beyond Bootcamp, Moreno has a full schedule with three additional upcoming films, along with voiceover work and much more.

"I'm a very joyous person. I really always have been. Through good times and dark times, I'm still here! At this age to have a resurgence of a career, it's absolutely bizarre and wonderful."

Part of Moreno's resurgence comes from her appearance in the 2021 reboot of West Side Story. The actress starred in the original 1961 film as Anita, which earned her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the 34th Academy Awards.

"My career certainly wasn't going anywhere at that time. Then, to be honored with the Oscar... I've had an astonishing life. I [also] loved playing Valentina [in the reboot]. She grabbed your heart."

The star has also been a vocal LGBTQ+ ally throughout her incredible career. Her notable role as Googie Gomez from The Ritz, which earned her a Tony in 1975, is a fan-favorite character in the community.

"I think the biggest gift I could give to the gay community is Googie Gomez. The gay community adored her. I loved her too, I thought she was very funny," she said. "When I came out to take my bow, about 150 gay men and women came up to the stage with huge bouquets of roses and laid them at my feet. That was my closing night. It was pretty astonishing and from then on, the gay community and I have been very close friends."

With Moreno's 91st birthday just around the corner on December 11, the star is sharing some important wisdom she's learned throughout her life.

"It's been quite a life. I'm very grateful for every moment, including the bad ones, because sometimes it's the bad ones that teach you the most important lessons."

Santa Bootcamp premieres Saturday, November 19 on Lifetime. To see the full interview with Rita Moreno, check out the video below.

RELATED | Rita Moreno Returns to West Side Story to Star in Spielberg's Remake

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