Saturday, June 29, 2013

RITA MORENO a memoir

Rita Moreno dated Elvis, Howard Hughes, and Marlon Brando. She worked alongside Gene Kelly, Gary Cooper, Yul Brynner, James Garner, and Ann Miller. She won an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, two Emmys, a Golden Globe, and the National Medal of Honor. Called "the Spanish Elizabeth Taylor" by Louis B. Mayer, she was typecast even after West Side Story, and fought to be seen for who she was---a feisty, honest, multi-talented performer. Her autobiography, RITA MORENO, is best heard as read by the author in her own inimitable style. What makes this biography special (and especially on audio) is that you can hear Moreno's descriptive memories come to life in real time, told chronologically from her earliest recollections of childhood in Puerto Rico to her journey to Brooklyn, and then to Hollywood. She seems unafraid to reveal herself fully, both emotionally and in thoughts and actions, and she talks at length about Marlon and about Hollywood's studio system in a way that is always personal and engaging. By the end you feel that you know Rita, an actress whose stage show is appropriately titled Life Without Makeup.

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