‘West Side Story’s’ Rita Moreno Is Rogelio’s Mother on ‘Jane the Virgin’

who is rita moreno

(The CW)

Rita Moreno joins the Jane the Virgin family as Rogelio’s mother on April 13th’s episode. The 83-year-old actress, who has won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and a Tony, will lend her talents to the show, and play “a real diva,” according to her interview with the Associated Press. Of course, fans wouldn’t expect anything less from the woman who gave birth to Rogelio.

Gina Rodriguez herself chose Moreno for the part of her other grandmother, since she looks up to her as a professional role model. “I was approached because of Gina. She told me some wonderful things about how I inspired her, great stuff that made me feel very proud,” she told Yahoo.

The seasoned Latina actress, known for playing Anita in West Side Story, said she had to research Jane before she accepted the offer, and was delighted with the new series. “I caught up on the show because I felt I had to know what I was saying yes to, and I was enchanted,” she explained to The Hollywood Reporter.

In the 1961 film West Side Story, which one 10 Academy Awards, including Moreno’s for Best Supporting Actress, she plays Anita, and in the clip below, we see her (in the purple dress) singing to “America.” In real life, Moreno immigrated to New York from Puerto Rico, and in the film, her character has endured the same cultural transition. “You know, the acting part — without trying to sound like I’m showing off — was just with my eyes closed. I knew this girl! That was part of my life, part of my experience,” she told NPR. “I didn’t have to say to myself, ‘Well, let’s see, what’s the motivation here?’ You kidding? I know the motivation! I’ve been Anita, except I wasn’t a gang member, of course, but I know this girl inside out.”

West Side Story (4/10) Movie CLIP – America (1961) HDWest Side Story movie clips: http://j.mp/1LkjWFw BUY THE MOVIE: http://j.mp/16TMZIG Don't miss the HOTTEST NEW TRAILERS: http://bit.ly/1u2y6pr CLIP DESCRIPTION: Anita (Rita Moreno) sings about the great land of America. FILM DESCRIPTION: Romeo and Juliet is updated to the tenements of New York City in this Oscar-winning musical landmark. Adapted by Ernest Lehman from the Broadway production, the movie opens with an overhead shot of Manhattan, an effect that director Robert Wise would repeat over the Alps in The Sound of Music four years later. We are introduced to two rival street gangs: the Jets, second-generation American teens, and the Sharks, Puerto Rican immigrants. When the war between the Jets and Sharks reaches a fever pitch, Jets leader Riff (Russ Tamblyn) decides to challenge the Sharks to one last "winner take all" rumble. He decides to meet Sharks leader Bernardo (George Chakiris) for a war council at a gymnasium dance; to bolster his argument, Riff wants his old pal Tony (Richard Beymer), the cofounder of the Jets, to come along. But Tony has set his sights on vistas beyond the neighborhood and has fallen in love with Bernardo's sister, Maria (Natalie Wood), a love that, as in Romeo and Juliet, will eventually end in tragedy. In contrast to the usual slash-and-burn policy of Hollywood musical adaptations, all the songs written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim for the original Broadway production of West Side Story were retained for the film version, although some alterations were made to appease the Hollywood censors, and the original order of two songs was reversed for stronger dramatic impact. The movie more than retains the original choreography of Jerome Robbins, which is recreated in some of the most startling and balletic dance sequences ever recorded on film. West Side Story won an almost-record ten Oscars, including Best Picture, supporting awards to Chakiris and Rita Moreno as Bernardo's girlfriend, Anita, and Best Director to Robbins and Wise. Richard Beymer's singing was dubbed by Jimmy Bryant, Natalie Wood's by Marni Nixon (who also dubbed Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady), and Rita Moreno's by Betty Wand. The film's New York tenement locations were later razed to make room for Lincoln Center. CREDITS: TM & © MGM (1961) Cast: Jose De Vega, Jay Norman, Jaime Rogers, Larry Roquemore, Robert E. Thompson, Gus Trikonis, Eddie Verso, Rita Moreno, Marni Nixon Directors: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise Producers: Saul Chaplin, Robert Wise, Walter Mirisch Screenwriters: Ernest Lehman, Arthur Laurents, William Shakespeare, Jerome Robbins WHO ARE WE? The MOVIECLIPS channel is the largest collection of licensed movie clips on the web. Here you will find unforgettable moments, scenes and lines from all your favorite films. Made by movie fans, for movie fans. SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MOVIE CHANNELS: MOVIECLIPS: http://bit.ly/1u2yaWd ComingSoon: http://bit.ly/1DVpgtR Indie & Film Festivals: http://bit.ly/1wbkfYg Hero Central: http://bit.ly/1AMUZwv Extras: http://bit.ly/1u431fr Classic Trailers: http://bit.ly/1u43jDe Pop-Up Trailers: http://bit.ly/1z7EtZR Movie News: http://bit.ly/1C3Ncd2 Movie Games: http://bit.ly/1ygDV13 Fandango: http://bit.ly/1Bl79ye Fandango FrontRunners: http://bit.ly/1CggQfC HIT US UP: Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1y8M8ax Twitter: http://bit.ly/1ghOWmt Pinterest: http://bit.ly/14wL9De Tumblr: http://bit.ly/1vUwhH72013-07-31T03:49:14.000Z

So what does Moreno think of the success of a show that centers around a Latino family? “There’s actually a lot of progress. I don’t think it’s enough but, my God, when you compare that to when I was a young woman in movies, it’s totally different,” she told Yahoo.