Why Rita Moreno thought the original “West Side Story” movie would be a box office flop – 60 Minutes

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At almost 90 years old, Rita Moreno shows no signs of slowing down. The venerable actress returns to the big screen next month in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of “West Side Story,” the same story that made her famous 60 years ago.

Moreno’s performance as Anita in the 1961 musical earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. It was an honor she didn’t expect to earn, and her acceptance speech lasted less than 10 seconds.

“I didn’t even think the movie would work so well,” Moreno told 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker. The actress was featured on the Sunday show.

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Rita Moreno and George Chakiris at the 1962 Oscars. Both won an Oscar for their roles in West Side Story.

Getty Images


While strolling through the Bronx, her former neighborhood, the actress recalled telling her “West Side Story” co-star George Chakiris that she expected people to fail. not go see the movie.

It was hardly true. The film became an American classic and won ten Oscars at the 1962 Oscars.

One of those trophies sits on a shelf in Moreno’s California home, where it’s surrounded by an assortment of other accolades, including his Emmys, Grammys, and Tony Awards. Moreno, an EGOT, is one of the few people to have won all four accolades. She was only the third actor to take the leap and has since been joined by Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks and John Legend.


Rita Moreno remembers her decorated career

02:45

Moreno’s EGOT includes an Emmy for his performance in “The Muppet Show”, a Grammy for “The Electric Company”, an Oscar for “West Side Story” and a Tony for “The Ritz”.

You can watch Bill Whitaker’s Rita Moreno full profile in 60 minutes below.


Rita Moreno: The 60-minute interview

13:35

The videos above were produced by Keith Zubrow and Sarah Shafer Prediger. They were edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.

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