West Side Storys Rita Moreno deeply grateful for still being here days after turning 90

West Side Story: Trailer for Stephen Sondheim adaptation

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Rita Moreno celebrated her 90th birthday on Saturday, one day after the release of the latest version of the hit musical West Side Story, for which she won an Oscar for best supporting actress back in 1961. Looking back at her life and award-winning career, she revealed her dreams for the future, hoping that she will have the “physical and mental ability” she still has, 45 years from now.

It doesn’t feel any different!

Rita Moreno

In a new interview, the icon admitted: “It doesn’t feel any different!

“On the face of it, nothing has changed.

“I’m older and deeply grateful for still being here.”

She continued to tell Deadline: “Inevitably, now there is concern about what’s next after West Side Story, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a damn liar.

“I can only hope that 45 years from today, I have half the spark, passion and love for my work, my country and humanity; as well as, the physical and mental ability to share it.”

The actress recently turned heads at the premiere of the new movie, almost 60 years after appearing in the original film.

Held at the iconic musical at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on Tuesday, Moreno put on a dazzling display as she mingled with the cast of Steven Spielberg’s highly-anticipated remake, which she also appears in.

The latest adaptation sees 27-year-old Ansel Elgort play the part of Tony and newcomer Rachel Zegler, 20, as Maria.

Moreno donned a stunning silk floor-length skirt with gold lace corset top.

She paired the glamorous ensemble with matching diamond earrings and statement necklace, along with a long cream coat.

Moreno was a executive producer on the remake, which is due to be released on 10 December, and also portrays Doc’s widow Valentina, a newly created character.

The actress became the first Latina to win a best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of Anita in the musical.

But in a new interview, Moreno admitted that she almost quit the original film after being asked to sing offensive lyrics about Puerto Rico.

During an appearance on ABC News special Something’s Coming: West Side Story, she revealed that she was against the “horrible” lyrics which branded Puerto Rico an “ugly island”.

“One day before we actually started rehearsals, I looked at the score and there it is,” she sighed.

“‘Puerto Rico, you ugly island. Island of tropic diseases.'”

She added: “It felt awful. It felt horrible.

“And I thought, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t do this to my people.’

“I got this close to not doing it.”

During rehearsals, the lyrics to the song were changed by Stephen Sondheim, which left the star hugely relieved.

“Within days, I got [a] new script,” she recalled.

“And when I looked at ‘America’, it went, ‘My heart’s devotion, let it sink back in the ocean.’ I was saved.”

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