Rita Moreno, Actress, Dancer, and Singer. She is one of only 12 entertainers who has won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony. She is also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, awarded to her by President Bush in 2004.
"And then one day many years later, Liz Torres, that wonderful comedienne, told me this story: She was living in Harlem at the time, Spanish Harlem, and it was a very hot night, Oscar night, and all the windows were open, and she said, 'And you know what the ghetto is like — it's noisy, people are yelling at each other, people are dropping bottles down the windows into the yard, and it's just a very noisy place, music is playing,' she said. But that night the Oscars were on ... when Rock Hudson began to announce the names of the nominees for best [supporting] actress, she said the place went dead quiet. And she said when my name was announced the place went up in smoke. There was screaming and yelling and hugging and jumping up and down and people yelling out the windows, 'She did it! She did it!' in Spanish and in English."
"You know, a friend of mine said to me, she said, 'You know what they were really saying? We did it. We did it.' And I tell you what, she told me that story the first time and I just started to cry. Because it really put me back in touch with my people, and I had a people. I had a people who knew all about me, I just didn't know about them.”
"I've always had this image of this strong, sprightly person who is undaunted by anything; on the contrary, I was one of the shyest, most unsure people you ever met in your life. But I have one very specific quality: I'm plucky. I really am. I would say that's a perfect description of my personality. I am able to get up and dust myself off and keep moving forward. I'm very stubborn. I never knew that about myself. But I realize how stubborn I am when I look at all the terrible things that happened to me and how I just get up and keep going.”
NPR, Photograph via IndieWire