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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 appearing 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 taking part in on Netflix

In reality, 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 trending amongst real-time Google searches for many of Monday morning because of her viral interviews on “60 Minutes” and the “Today” present, in addition to a prolonged profile in the Guardian

And that is probably 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. 

“When you’ve got been traumatized from the time you have been a toddler to imagine you have been a ‘spic’, that you just have been a garlic-mouth, that you’re not worthy, it takes a very long time to do away with that,” she instructed 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, nevertheless, 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 gentle 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 line 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 need ladies to know that each one the awards on this planet won’t ever make up for the issues I’ve skilled in my life,” she instructed “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 collection of roles that she described as “dusky maidens” or “males’s little island women,” 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 instructed Whitaker. “I accepted plenty of these, as a result of there was nothing else. And I took them with plenty of disgrace.” 

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

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

However she was capable of got here out of “West Facet Story” with the arrogance 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 reveals — 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 girls’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. 

In the present day, she’s a producer on Spielberg’s “West Facet Story,” with music and lyrics written by the late Stephen Sondheim, and likewise performs a task 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 an extended technique to go. “It’s essential to make an observation of the truth that [Tony] Kushner and [Steven] Spielberg made an enormous deal of the very fact each particular person taking part in a Latino had to be a Latino” within the “West Facet Story” remake, she famous on “In the present day” on Monday.

“I believe Hollywood has modified. I believe there are nonetheless issues but to be addressed. The illustration that Hispanics get is nearly nil,” she instructed “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 instructed the Guardian — and courting Elvis Presley to make him jealous. 

However she’s having fun with being alone in her 80s. “I love being on my own,” she instructed the Guardian. “It’s not laborious to be alone. In reality, it’s nice, in the event you just like the particular person you reside with.”

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