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EGOT winner Rita Moreno to receive the documentary treatment from American Masters

Rita Moreno accepting another award, a Peabody
Photo: Bryan Bedder (Getty Images for Peabody)

Since American Masters debuted on PBS in 1986, it has covered a wide variety of performers, from Maya Angelou to Bob Newhart to Neil Young. PBS announces today that the latest person to be so honored is none other than EGPT winner Rita Moreno, most recently star of the former Netflix series One Day At A Time.

“Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go For It” (working title) is a partnership between Thirteen’s American Masters “and Norman Lear’s Act III Productions in association with Maramara and executive producer Lin-Manuel Miranda.” The documentary will be directed by Mariem Pérez Riera, who enthused in the official press release, “As a filmmaker, woman and Puerto Rican, I am proud to have the opportunity to tell Rita’s story… Hopefully, this film will give strength to the women all over the world, who today, face a similar fight towards equality.”


Moreno’s career encompasses an astonishing seven decades, including an Oscar for her role in the 1956 classic musical West Side Story, a stint on PBS’ own The Electric Company, and playing a nun on the HBO prison series Oz. The special will feature those and other highlights from her long career, as well as reenactments from her childhood, and interviews with luminaries like Lear, Miranda, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, and Chita Rivera, as well as Moreno herself.

In typically peerless fashion, Moreno stated, “How I wish my Puerto Rican mother were alive to see this: her child’s story being celebrated by the likes of American Masters. It is not something she or I could ever have imagined. I’m astonished. I’m humbled.” No release date has been announced.

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Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.