Rita Moreno just became a member of an ultra-exclusive club. The 87-year-old is set to become the third person to achieve “PEGOT” status. The Puerto Rican actress has been selected by the Peabody Awards board of jurors to receive the Career Achievement Award presented by Mercedes Benz. Rita, whose career spans over six decades, was already an EGOT winner, having won an Oscar for her role in West Side Story, two Emmys, one Grammy, and a Tony Award. She joins an elite group comprised of solely two other members: American film director Mike Nichols and Barbra Streisand.
Rita is set to be honored with the Peabody Career Achievement Award
The Peabody Career Achievement Award is presented to individuals whose work and commitment to electronic media has left an indelible mark on the field. “Rita Moreno is a unique talent who has not only broken barriers, but whose career continues to thrive six-plus decades after her acting debut,” Jeffrey P. Jones, executive director of Peabody, said in a statement. “We are delighted to celebrate her many contributions to entertainment and media, as well as her passion for children’s programming and important social issues.”
Rita’s latest achievement reinforces her Latina Powerhouse status. The West Side Story star graces the cover of HOLA! USA’s special April issue, where she opened up about obstacles she’s faced as an actress. “Being me. Una boricua. For years, I played dark-skinned girls. Ironically, I never played a Puerto Rican but always the exotic ones—the princesses, the island natives,” she shared.
Rita was already an EGOT winner, having won two Emmys, a Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award
Rita continued, “I remember sometimes I’d hear of a part I wanted to play, and I’d call my agent and tell him, ‘Can you please call [the producers]? I’d like to try for the part.’ And he’d tell me, ‘I already did, but you were rejected.’ It happened all the time. It was very hard! I could never meet with directors or producers. It really broke my heart."
Despite challenges, the actress found the strength to persevere, crediting her mother as her source of inspiration. "I blame my mommy," she admitted. "She never gave up. My mom had me when she was 17. Later, she divorced my dad, which at that time, in Puerto Rico, a Catholic [island], you just didn’t do. After the divorce, she took a ship to America. She didn’t speak one word of English, but that didn’t stop her! She worked in a sweatshop, saved her money, and then went back for me. Sometimes, she’d work two jobs, but she did it all by herself. I got my strength of character from my mom, from seeing her do it."