The EGOT winner has had an unbelievable Hollywood Golden Age career, appearing in Singin’ in the Rain, The King and I and West Side Story. Now as Rita Moreno gears up for a new role in Steven Spielberg’s remake 60 years on, the Puerto Rico-born actress has opened up on her memories of dating long-dead stars that have become but legends to a new generation. Most famously, the almost 90-year-old began dating Marlon Brando in 1953, in what would be a whirlwind romance lasting eight years.
Speaking with The Guardian, Moreno was totally obsessed by Brando, who was considered to be one of the most desirable men in the world at that time.
Comparing him to cocaine, the West Side Story star said: “He had a gorgeous intelligence.
“He was the funniest person I’ve ever met in my life. He was not only famous, he was the king of sexy actors.”
Asked if he was a good lover, she enthused he was the best ever: “Oh yes! That part of it was incredible. That’s all I’ll say. No other details.”
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However, Brando, who died in 2004, also had a dark side. During their eight-year romance, he had multiple flings and married twice.
The A Streetcar Named Desire star would seduce everybody he came across and when Moreno became pregnant, he forced her to have an abortion.
Arriving one day at her lover’s home, she was devastated to find a pair of knickers that weren’t hers.
So, to get her revenge, she started dating rising star Elvis Presley, who was four years her junior.
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Rita Moreno in both West Side Story movies 60 years apart
The day after finding another woman’s underwear, Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker happened to call her up.
It turns out The King had spotted the West Side Story star at 20th Century Fox where he “liked what he saw” and wanted to meet her.
Speaking with Variety, Moreno said: “I thought about that lousy underwear, and I said, ‘Yes, I would.’”
News that she was dating the Tennessee singer spread like wildfire throughout Hollywood and Brando found out immediately, which his lover was ecstatic to hear.
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Moreno said: “He was absolutely enraged and livid. He threw chairs… it was wonderful. Isn’t that hilarious?”
But when asked if Elvis, who died in 1977, was as irresistibly sexy as Brando, she told The Guardian: “Not in a million years. He was very sweet, but no.”
The EGOT winner said The King was rather shy and bumbling and their dates together would end up with a “clumsy fumble on the floor” where “a fully trousered Presley gyrated against her” as she waited for more.
Giving up on Elvis, she found that Brando hadn’t changed and soon after filming West Side Story in 1961, she attempted death by suicide at his house.
Luckily, Brando’s assistant discovered and her and took her to hospital as she cried all the time despite being unconscious.
Moreno reflected: “It wasn’t done for drama, that’s for sure. What I really wanted to do was kill the bad Rita who was always getting me in trouble, but it turned out if you’re going to kill the bad Rita, you’re also going to kill the good one.”
The star finally dumped Brando and headed off to live the rest of her extraordinary life.
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