I had never seen this particular photo of Rita Moreno, of West Side Story/Hollywood fame and infamy--I write "infamy" as a quick perusal of the internets led me to this Daily Mail story focused on the sordid, tawdry elements of the gifted actress's life. Here's an extract with the bulk of the article linked below--spoiler alert! Brando was great in the sack! Elvis Presley a dud!!! Every stereotype documented in my book Tex[t]-Mex gets a cameo in this sweaty piece of yellow journalism!
Few women can say they dated Elvis Presley just to make Marlon Brando jealous, but then few Hollywood stars had the voluptuous sex appeal of Rita Moreno.
Men couldn’t take their eyes off the New York girl who as a child got off a boat from Puerto Rico and went on to win an Oscar playing that émigré role — fiery Anita in West Side Story.
And while Presley left her cold, Brando almost forced her suicide, when a botched abortion and his serial infidelity during a turbulent eight-year affair drove her to overdose on sleeping pills.
‘We were locked in the ultimate folie a deux, a crazy love that lasted for years, until one day I quite literally was forced out of a coma and had to choose life over him,’ she says of Brando in a revealing new autobiography, Rita Moreno — A Memoir.
Now 81, she lays bare Hollywood’s ‘golden age’ as a tawdry and misogynistic era, while her description of her relationship with Brando is something he would hardly want on his epitaph.
Her lovers not only included two of the biggest sex symbols of their age but also actors Anthony Quinn and Dennis Hopper, and the celebrated British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan.
The latter, she reveals, frightened her off with his fetish for sado-masochism, sitting her on his lap and making her look through a photo album of men smacking women’s bottoms.
Dubbed the ‘hot Latin spitfire’ — which the hard-working actress hated — Moreno spent her career fighting a Hollywood that cast Hispanic actors in any role that required a non-white.
Moreno starred as the graceful royal Thai wife Tuptim opposite Yul Brynner in The King And I, but also played innumerable Red Indian squaws and Mexican dancers.
But her dark complexion also attracted Brando, who had never got over his first object of desire — a Danish-Indonesian nanny — and craved exotic, darker-skinned women for the rest of his life.
Born Ruby Dolores Alverio, Moreno was five when her mother took her from poverty in Puerto Rico to a new life in the U.S.
Pick your poison! Each image links to a slightly different story: