petzipellepingo (petzipellepingo) wrote in westsidestory,

Rita Moreno's crowded trophy shelf just got one more

Maria Puente, and Bryan Alexander,

What do you give an entertainer with an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony? A SAG life achievement award.

You can count on one hand the number of entertainers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony — the EGOT club, they call it — but Rita Moreno has done it and now she has another big one, the Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild.

So, she was asked backstage tonight, was this one of her best nights ever?

"Without question," she said. "The difference between an Oscar and having an honor like this, is that the Oscar is (for) a performance in a film. This is not an award. It's an honor. It's about a lifetime."

Moreno, unbelievably 82, was by turns funny, serious, wacky and wild in accepting the award — dancing, singing and joshing with old pal Morgan Freeman, who introduced her and presented the award. Taking the stage, she dropped a four-letter word, which was bleeped.

"I'm the lady that said the bad word," she told reporters backstage as she walked into the press room (the press had not heard what she said).

"I had one glass of wine and boy, am I disaster," she joked. "One glass of wine I cannot speak. Two glasses of wine and I belong to anyone."

But she still had her wits about her. When a reporter asked her, since she'd had a little to drink, if she would mind telling whether she has ever had plastic surgery, she said no. "I have to tell you the truth — if I had, I wouldn't tell you!"

But she talked about her chemistry with Freeman.

"We go back years and years," she said. "It's at least 46 years, maybe more...Morgan and I just hit it off. We had super wonderful chemistry. We make each other laugh. We're dear friends. We have enormous respect. We do make each other laugh. And we do get raunchy."

Moreno did get serious about a couple of topics, such as her advocacy for Latino Americans. Puerto Rican-born, she's best known for her Oscar-winning performance in the 1961 musical West Side Story, a movie about Puerto Ricans in which she was the only actual Puerto Rican in the cast.

"As long as you have problems with immigration and reform, in my lifetime, it's always going to be difficult (for Latinos)," she said. "The secret to me is about persevering. We'll get there. The door is ajar. We have to open that door some more. It will happen. It won't happen in my lifetime. I'm 82. I'm lucky if I have another 10 years."

What's the other serious subject?

"My grandchildren," she said. "They means everything to me. "I have turned down jobs. I have to be with those I adore and love."
Tags: rita moreno
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