News Column

Rita Moreno Kicks Off El Paso Film Festival

August 1, 2013

Doug Pullen

Rita Moreno has won a few awards in her life -- the National Medal of Arts, Presidential Medal of Freedom, two Emmy Awards, a Grammy, a Tony and an Academy Award, or "the little gold man," as she calls her Oscar.

Moreno recently found out she'll get the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award on Jan 18. "That's a huge, huge accolade," the 81-year-old entertainer said

She will receive another Lifetime Achievement Award at the El Paso Community Foundation's sixth annual Plaza Classic Film Festival, which runs today through Aug. 11.

The singer, dancer and actor will kick off the festival with an appearance for "West Side Story," for which she won that little gold man, at 7 tonight in the Plaza Theatre. Tickets are $20.

Moreno also will sign and read excerpts, in English and Spanish, from her recently published "Rita Moreno: A Memoir," at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Community Foundation, 333 N. Oregon, She'll do another book signing there at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Both events are free.

Moreno will complete her visit with an appearance at a 3:30 p.m. Saturday showing of "The Four Seasons," in which she starred with Alan Alda and Carol Burnett. Tickets are $6.

It's something of a homecoming for Moreno, who performed at a key fundraiser for the Community

Foundation's acquisition of Plaza Theatre in 1987, and again in 2007, the year after the 1930 movie palace's $40-million restoration was completed.

"I was really touched. They were trying to do something wonderful to keep the theater functioning and open," Moreno said from her home in Berkeley, Calif.

Community Foundation President Eric Pearson said Moreno's return is important to the theater and the festival.


Doug Pullen


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