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February 25, 2020

Stunning Photos of a Young Rita Moreno in the 1950s and 1960s

Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer was one of the few artists in history to have won four major American entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony – the famous “EGOT” winners’ exclusive club.

Moreno acted steadily in films during the fifties, although she held no fondness for most of her film in this decade, as she felt her given roles were far too stereotypical, except for her supporting character in the 1956 musical film The King and I, in which she co-starred with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner. In 1961, she landed the role of Anita in the film adaptation of the groundbreaking Broadway musical West Side Story. Moreno won Best Supporting Actress at the 34th Academy Awards and became the first Latino Oscar winner for acting.

Let’s take a look back at the actress in the ‘50s and ‘60s through these 28 vintage photographs:

Rita Moreno jumping in a bikini, October 1951. Photo by Graphic House/Archive Photos.

Rita Moreno in a studio session sitting with her legs crossed looking directly at the camera, Hollywood, 1954. Photo by Loomis Dean/LIFE.

Rita Moreno applies make-up in a mirror, Hollywood, California, 1954. Photo by Loomis Dean/LIFE.

Rita Moreno puts on makeup in the mirror, Hollywood, 1954. Photo by Loomis Dean/LIFE.

Rita Morena smoking a cigarette during a studio shoot, Hollywood, 1954. Photo by Loomis Dean/LIFE.
Rita Moreno checking her hair and makeup in the mirror while the photographer prepares to take her photograph, Hollywood, 1954. Photo by Loomis Dean/LIFE.

Rita Moreno sitting in an Indian squat looking coyly over her bare shoulder in front of a few trinkets on the ground as she plays girl rejected by her lover, 1954. Photo by Loomis Dean/LIFE.

Rita Moreno imitating the sexy-wild actress by raising one leg in her tight and sexy semi-revealing dress, 1954. Photo by Loomis Dean/LIFE.

Rita Moreno, 1954. Photo by Loomis Dean/LIFE.

Rita Moreno at a recent Hollywood opening, 1954. Photo by Bettmann.

Rita Moreno attends a party at Ciro's in Los Angeles, September 1954. Photo by Earl Leaf.

Rita Moreno, circa 1955. Photo by Silver Screen Collection.

Rita Moreno, circa 1955. Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive.

Rita Moreno on the set of 'Untamed,' 1955. Photo via Donaldson Collection.

Rita Moreno attends a party in Los Angeles, circa 1955. Photo by Earl Leaf.

Rita Moreno decorates a section of Hollywood Boulevard sidewalk that is already decorated with portraits of the stars in concrete, Hollywood, February 1956. Photo by Bettmann.

Rita Moreno poses at home in Los Angeles, March 1957. Photo by Earl Leaf.

Rita Moreno at rehearsal for 'Alas Babylon' on Playhouse 90, New York, March 1960. Photo by CBS.

Rita Moreno finds a source of amusement during dance rehearsals for 'West Side Story,' 1960. Photo by Ernst Haas.

Rita Moreno singing in a scene from the movie 'West Side Story,' 1961. Photo by Herbert Dorfman/Corbis.

Rita Moreno poses in a strapless bathing suit on a balcony, circa 1961. Photo by Archive Photos.

Rita Moreno and George Chakiris attend an event in Los Angeles, circa 1961. Photo by Earl Leaf.

Rita Moreno at Rivoli with her fans, New York City, October 1961. Photo by NY Daily News.

George Chakiris and Rita Moreno arrive at the 34th Academy Awards in Santa Monica, April 1962. Photo by Bettmann.

Rita Moreno tearfully accepts her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the 34th Academy Awards, April 1962. Photo by Bettmann.

Rita Moreno at the 35th Academy Awards, Santa Monica, April 1963. Photo by Earl Leaf.

Rita Moreno in a tub chatting with Marlon Brando during the filming of 'The Night of the Following Day,' Lettouquet, France, December 1967. Photo by Bettmann.


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