Rita began her first dancing lessons soon after arriving in New York with a Spanish dancer known as "Paco Cansino", who was a paternal uncle of film star Rita Hayworth.
She had her first Broadway role—as "Angelina" in Skydrift—by the time she was 13, which caught the attention of Hollywood talent scouts.
Moreno acted steadily in films throughout the 1950s, usually in small roles, including in The Toast of New Orleans (1950) and Singin' in the Rain (1952), in which she played the starlet "Zelda Zanders".
Rita Dolores Moreno (born Rosa Dolores Alverío; December 11, 1931) is a Puerto Rican-American actress, dancer and singer.
Her career has spanned over 70 years; among her notable acting work are supporting roles in the musical films The King and I and West Side Story, as well as a 1971–77 stint on the children's television series The Electric Company, and a supporting role on the 1997-2003 TV drama Oz.
Moreno also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.
in Humacao, Puerto Rico, to Rosa María (née Marcano), a seamstress, and Francisco José "Paco" Alverío, a farmer. Moreno, whose mother was 17 at the time of her birth, was raised in nearby Juncos.
She played the family matriarch on the short-lived 2007 TV series Cane, which starred Jimmy Smits and Hector Elizondo.
She played the mother of Fran Drescher's character in the 2011–13 TV sitcom Happily Divorced.
One notable guest appearance was a three-episode arc on The Rockford Files in 1977 as former call girl Rita Kapcovic.
For her portrayal, Moreno won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress - Drama Series.
From 1971 to 1977, Moreno was a main cast member on the PBS children's series The Electric Company.