Rita Moreno became the first Latino to receive the Peabody Career Achievement Award, making her a PEGOT


Rita Moreno made history in New York City on Saturday.

The legendary performer was awarded the Peabody Career Achievement Award over the weekend, becoming the first Latino to receive the honor.

“I am keenly aware of the high value that the Peabody places on storytelling. I am so humbled that you consider the story of my life and career worthy,” she said, according to Entertainment Tonight.

The longtime actress talked about her upbringing in the city, where her parents were recent Puerto Rican immigrants and her mother worked as a “sweatshop seamstress” to help support Moreno’s dream of performing. Moreno would go on to achieve international stardom — and an Oscar — as Anita in the hit 1961 movie musical West Side Story.

“She knew the prick of every pin,” Moreno recalled of her mother. “My fame is her fame.”

The honor makes Moreno a PEGOT, an ultra-exclusive group of people who have won a Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. Only two other people have achieved the status: Barbra Streisand and film director Mike Nichols.

Rita Moreno
Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

Moreno isn’t letting go of West Side Story anytime soon. The actress will have a role in Steven Spielberg’s new film adaptation of the musical and serve as an executive producer.

The actress will be playing Valentina in the adaptation, written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, and based on the award-winning 1957 Broadway musical.

Valentina is a re-conceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony (played by Ansel Elgort) works.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” Moreno said in a statement. “And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling! Then to work together with the brilliant playwright, Tony Kushner – what a glorious stew! I am tingling!”

Spielberg’s West Side Story opens Dec. 18, 2020.