Rita Moreno, “West Side Story”’s original Anita, gets new role in remake

Rita Moreno is celebrating her 90th birthday Saturday and is ecstatic that Steven Spielberg’s version of “West Side Story” makes its world premiere a day earlier.

The legendary actress played the unforgettable role of Puerto Rican immigrant Anita in the 1961 West Side Story, earning her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. 

Now, 60 years later, Toronto Star reports,she stars in Spielberg’s remake of the beloved Broadway musical in a new role that was created just for her.

The Puerto Rico-born actress plays Valentina, widow of Doc, who ran the sweet shop in the original movie, and is in awe of her character. “Isn’t she a wonderful character? Don’t you love her?” she said in a video interview. “I love her. I love my scenes. I love myself in it. My God, I don’t know when I’ve ever said that before!”

For the original film, Moreno became the first, and still only, Latina to win an acting Oscar. However, after her iconic win, she was still being offered stereotypical Latina roles and almost gave up on movies because opportunities were so limited.

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