Original West Side Story Actress Rita Moreno Explains Why She Loved Playing Anita

Hollywood has come a long way when it comes to diverse representation in film. When the original movie version of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story first premiered in 1961, most of the Puerto Rican characters were played by white actors (even romantic lead Maria, who was played by Natalie Wood). One of the major exceptions was Anita, one of Maria’s best friends and girlfriend of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. The role was played by the one and only Rita Moreno, who recently explained why she loved playing the role so much.

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