Why Did Rita Moreno Change Her Name? What Prompted This Decision?

Why Did Rita Moreno Change Her Name? Rita Moreno is a beloved actress and performer, but did you know that her name wasn’t always Rita? Born Rosita Dolores Alverío, she adopted the stage name Rita Moreno early in her career. But what was the reason for this change?

Why Rita Moreno Changed Her Name

Rita Moreno changed her name for the first time because of her stepfather, Edward Moreno. When she was six years old, her mother relocated to New York City with Rita (then Rosa), and Edward started to be in her life all the time.

It made sense to adopt his last name in order to strengthen the bonds within the family.

But the real change happened when Rita, who was still a teenager, attracted the attention of Hollywood. For an ambitious actress, signing a seven-year deal with MGM Studios was a dream come true.

Bill Grady, the studio casting director, thought “Rosa Dolores” was too young for the big screen, Rita claims. A new moniker that would be more recognizable to audiences and more marketable was his advised alteration.

Here is where things get fascinating. The Hollywood actress, Rita Hayworth, whose old-fashioned name served as the source of a new first name of “Rita.”

Based on her exotic beauty and Latin background, MGM could have anticipated the pinning chance to connect with their young Latina actress during that time frame.

Luckily, among the designated names, “Moreno” got through. This gave her a connection to the father side of her family and her family’s ethnic roots inherited from Puerto Rica.

This is a moving on every occasion to who she was, and the very environment of Hollywood which is at times quite homogenized.

Are Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno Friends?

Yes, Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno were friends. There was a misunderstanding that they were feuding, which was most likely perpetuated by their similar-sounding names and their roles as Anita in West Side Story (Rivera on Broadway, Moreno in the film).

Rita Moreno paid public homage to Chita Rivera upon her passing in 2021, referring to her as a “remarkable woman and friend”.  Even more, Moreno called being confused for Rivera a “badge of honor.

Theater insiders have questioned rumors of a conflict. Liz Smith, a gossip reporter, revealed that Moreno even went to a show where Rivera talked about the role that Moreno played in the movie, Anita.

A humorous song from the satirical play “Forbidden Broadway” once made fun of the purported rivalry. This probably had a part in the public’s misperception.

Final Words

Rita Moreno’s name change was the result of both a personal connection and Hollywood’s desire to shape future stars. But Rita defied the constraints of a theatrical name.

She carved her own path, becoming a legend under the name “Rita Moreno,” which now represents strength, talent, and a refusal to be stereotyped.