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Rita Moreno says resilience, remedy helped her endure racism and sexual abuse

“I believe I owe an unlimited debt to psychotherapy. With out that, I wouldn’t be the Rita you already know and love.” 

That was performing legend Rita Moreno chatting with the Guardian. Moreno, 89, is operating the media gauntlet this week forward of the “West Facet Story” remake hitting theaters on Dec. 10, in addition to the documentary “Rita Moreno: Only a Woman Who Determined to Go for It,” now enjoying on Netflix

Actually, the EGOT winner (as in, scoring Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards) who turns 90 the day after Stephen Spielberg’s anticipated “West Facet Story” musical hits theaters, was real-time Google searches for many of Monday morning due to her viral interviews on “60 Minutes” and the “Today” present, in addition to a prolonged profile in the Guardian.

And that is possible as a result of Moreno has been sharing candid accounts of her 70-year profession, together with the racism and sexual abuse that she endured, in addition to her tabloid-ready relationships with icons like Marlon Brando and Elvis Presley.

“In case you have been traumatized from the time you had been a baby to consider you had been a ‘spic’, that you just had been a garlic-mouth, that you’re not worthy, it takes a very long time to do away with that,” she advised the Guardian. “I went into remedy desirous to get higher.”

Her traumas included being raped by her agent when she first got here to Hollywood as a teen. She stated that she stored him on as her agent, nonetheless, as a result of she was the breadwinner for her household — and he or she had to have the ability to preserve working.

She additionally recalled being stalked by twentieth Century Fox honcho Buddy Adler and the late Harry Cohn, the co-founder of Columbia Photos — tales of sexual harassment by highly effective males that resonate much more in mild of the 2017 #MeToo motion revival. Certainly, sexual harassment at work has helped drive the gender wage gap, and may price survivors $600 to $1.3 million over the course of their lifetimes, in keeping with the Time’s Up Foundation and Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Learn extra: Sexual harassment at work can cost survivors up to $1.3 million over a lifetime

And: A step-by-step guide to getting help if you’re sexually harassed at work

“I would like ladies to know that each one the awards on the planet won’t ever make up for the issues I’ve skilled in my life,” she advised “60 Minutes” interviewer Invoice Whitaker. “The be-all and end-all is respect and self-respect, which took me a very long time to earn.”

She additionally shared her frustration with being typecast in a sequence of roles that she described as “dusky maidens” or “males’s little island ladies,” the place her pores and skin was darkened, and he or she was requested to talk in heavy, unique accents.

Associated: Latinos in Hollywood still face an ‘epidemic of invisibility’ and stereotypical movie roles

“It hurts me to observe me doing stuff that’s humiliating,” she advised Whitaker. “I accepted lots of these, as a result of there was nothing else. And I took them with lots of disgrace.”

“I would like ladies to know that each one the awards on the planet won’t ever make up for the issues I’ve skilled in my life.”

And her Academy Award-winning function as Anita within the 1961 movie adaptation of “West Facet Story” nonetheless noticed her typecast afterward. She stated she was provided roles in lesser gangster films.

However she was in a position to got here out of “West Facet Story” with the boldness to be extra selective about which roles she took, she stated. And this led her to take extra roles in theater, tv and one-woman exhibits — resulting in her eventual EGOT standing.

Associated: ‘Underfunded and undervalued’: Stifling Black talent in Hollywood costs industry $10 billion

She additionally grew to become an activist for ladies’s rights and the rights of minorities. She joined the 1963 March on Washington and attended Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

At this time, she’s a producer on Spielberg’s “West Facet Story,” with music and lyrics written by the late Stephen Sondheim, and likewise performs a job within the film that was written for her: Valentina, the widow of Doc, who was the sweet retailer proprietor within the authentic movie.

She stated she sees indicators that Hollywood is turning into extra inclusive, though there’s nonetheless a protracted option to go. “It’s vital to make an observation of the truth that [Tony] Kushner and [Steven] Spielberg made an enormous deal of the actual fact each individual enjoying a Latino had to be a Latino” within the “West Facet Story” remake, she famous on “At this time” on Monday.

“I believe Hollywood has modified. I believe there are nonetheless issues but to be addressed. The illustration that Hispanics get is sort of nil,” she advised “60 Minutes.”

Moreno has additionally been dishing on a few of her relationships, together with her tumultuous time with Brando, who was an “unimaginable” lover, she advised the Guardian — and relationship Elvis Presley to make him jealous.

However she’s having fun with being alone in her 80s. “I love being on my own,” she advised the Guardian. “It’s not laborious to be alone. Actually, it’s nice, in case you just like the individual you reside with.”

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