Rita Moreno Can Tell Me, ‘Julio, Shut Up,’ Anytime She Wants

I had a “moment” this past week during the newest In The Thick episode I co-host with Maria Hinojosa. It happened a few minutes into our conversation with Rita Moreno, YES, THE RITA MORENO!

Maria admitted that she had not seen the original One Day at a Time series from the late 70s and 80s, when discussing the new Netflix “reboot” that features Moreno. To be honest, Maria’s admission got a few boos from me, because, when I was a kid growing up with TV, I was a huge One Day a Time geek.

It is at that point when Moreno told me, “Julio, shut up, I didn’t either.” As I playfully chided to two of them for not ever watching the original, I also got a little giddy because I had suddenly realized this: I WAS HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH RITA MORENO AND SHE WAS ENJOYING IT!

I have had very few opportunities to chat with living legends, let alone Puerto Rican living legends, and even though our time with Moreno was limited, it was an absolute thrill to be talking to her and asking her questions about whether she would have ever been considered for the Bonnie Franklin role in the 70s (her response was real!) or how she thinks that her Anita character in West Side Story shouldn’t have had such a heavy and over-the-top accent. And oh yeah, she told us about the time when a West Side Story makeup artist claimed she was racist. I probably would have liked to challenge her a bit more when she told us that Latinos have to “get over it” when it comes to certain issues, but such is live interviewing. I can’t go back now.

Here’s the full episode:

Two other things: I did let Moreno know off-mic that my Abuelo was from Juncos, her hometown in Puerto Rico and that Lydia, the character she plays in the new One Day at a Time, is also my Abuela’s name. That was cool.

Let me know what you thought of the show this week.