Rita Moreno is an American treasure so celebrate her 75th birthday watching some song and dance. It's what she's best known for. Clockwise from top left: Rita's duel with Animal (The Muppet Show), Rita performs "Hard Hearted Hannah" (The Jack Benny Show), Rita's showstopping "America" (West Side Story), and "Unbutton Your Heart" --it's Rita doing her best Tina Turner (The Electric Company)
Rita is one of only four Hispanic actors (and the only female) to win an acting Oscar, the most recent being Benicio Del Toro for Traffic. Her career --hot from the 50s through the 70s --includes classics like Singin' in the Rain, The King and I, Carnal Knowledge and West Side Story (and you may remember that we covered this beloved Rita's performance in detail in a Supporting Actress Smackdown some months ago). Incredibly, even in her 70s Rita is still working it. A few years back she wrapped up several seasons on HBO's Oz and was part of the impressive ensemble of Casa De Los Babys (my review)
If her filmography and parallel successes on stage and in television aren't impressive enough, consider this: She's one of only four women in history to have achieved that rare quadruple showbiz crown: An Oscar (for West Side Story), an Emmy (for both The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files), a TONY (for the Ritz), and a Grammy (for The Electric Company). The only other women to have done so are Barbra Streisand, Audrey Hepburn, and Liza Minelli (if you allow for Daytime Emmys, Whoopi Goldberg makes it a five-wide list) and only one male actor has done the same John Gielgud. The others quadruple winners are primarily known for directing or composing.
Any guesses as to who might join that tiny list in the future? Any thoughts on Rita? Chime in or kick up your heels in the comments.