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Why Rita Moreno thought the original "West Side Story" film would be a box office flop

Rita Moreno's "West Side Story" prediction
Why Rita Moreno thought the original "West Side Story" film wouldn't do well at the box office 01:32

At 90-years-old, Rita Moreno is showing no signs of slowing down. The venerable actress returned to the silver screen last December in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of "West Side Story," the same story that made her famous more than 60 years ago.

Moreno's performance as Anita in the 1961 musical earned her an Academy Award for best supporting actress. It was an honor that she did not expect to win, and her acceptance speech lasted less than 10 seconds.

"I didn't even think the movie was going do that well," Moreno told 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker. The actress was profiled on Sunday's broadcast. 

Rita Moreno and George Chakiris at the 1962 Academy Awards. Both won an Oscar for their roles in West Side Story. Getty Images

While on a walk in the Bronx, her old neighborhood, the actress recalled telling her "West Side Story" co-star George Chakiris that she expected people wouldn't go to see the movie.

That was hardly true. The movie became an American classic and garnered ten Oscars at the 1962 Academy Awards. 

One of those trophies sits on a shelf in Moreno's California home where it is surrounded by an assortment of other honors including her Emmys, Grammys, and Tony Award. Moreno, an EGOT, is one of a select group to garner all four accolades.  She was only the third actor to reach the milestone and has since been joined by the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, and John Legend.

Moreno's EGOT includes an Emmy for her performance on "The Muppet Show," Grammy from "The Electric Company," an Oscar from "West Side Story," and a Tony for "The Ritz."

You can watch Bill Whitaker's full 60 Minutes profile of Rita Moreno below.

The videos above were originally published on November 28, 2021 and were produced by Keith Zubrow and Sarah Shafer Prediger. They were edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger. 

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