The nerve of Rita Moreno. While younger actresses were trying to lose a few pounds on whatever crash diet is all the rage these days, or sweating off the cellulite somewhere in some exclusive Beverly Hills gym or spa, Moreno had no problem squeezing into her Oscar attire for Hollywood's biggest night on Sunday.
But here's the catch. The eye-catching black and gold gown sported by the 86-year-old actress was the same outfit she originally wore back in 1962, when she accepted her best supporting actress award for West Side Story.
Moreno, who's still in prime shape for her years, said she didn't have to do any alterations on the gown, which she still had hanging in her closet all these years. If anything, the performer claimed her biggest worry was whether the item, created from the same fabric that was used to make Japanese kimonos at the time, had tarnished after more than a half-century.
Nope, it still was intact and looked no worse for wear on Moreno, who played Anita in West Side Story, a groundbreaking musical that adapted Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet premise to a New York street gang rivalry set in the 1960s. And it helped demonstrate how kind the years have been to Moreno, who went on to star in such TV shows as sitcom One Day At A Time and and the gritty HBO drama Oz.
Much of the spotlight Sunday was focused on the #metoo and Time's Up movements to correct the rampant wave of gender inequality and sexual assaults affecting women, which is subject matter very close to home for Moreno. Horrific memories of her own childhood experience flooded back to her when filming West Side Story. One scene which had her character being sexually assaulted by a gang had her in tears. Just when the physicality of the scene was a bit too much, Moreno begged the actors to stop. They did, and spent time comforting her until she was ready to continue.
Moreno, who was trained in acting, singing, and dancing, also has the distinction of being among roughly a dozen entertainers to have also won an Emmy, Grammy, and a Tony, an achievement she shares with such luminaries as Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, and Audrey Hepburn.