Lin-Manuel Miranda honors Rita Moreno's life with new PBS documentary

“How I wish my Puerto Rican mother were alive to see this: her child’s story being celebrated,” said the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony-winning actress.
Image: Rita Moreno at The Beverly Hilton hotel on July 29, 2018.
Rita Moreno at The Beverly Hilton hotel on July 29, 2018.Willy Sanjuan / Invision / AP file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Gwen Aviles

The legendary Rita Moreno will be featured in a documentary for PBS, and "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, acclaimed television producer Norman Lear and documentary filmmaker Michael Kantor are the executive producers.

"Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go for It" will chronicle the Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer's decades-long career as well as share some of the less frequently-discussed moments about her life, including her attempted suicide a year before she became the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her iconic role in "West Side Story."

“How I wish my Puerto Rican mother were alive to see this: her child’s story being celebrated,” said Rita Moreno in a statement. “It is not something she or I could ever have imagined. I’m astonished. I’m humbled.”

The Morning Rundown

Get a head start on the morning's top stories.

Moreno, 87, grew up in poverty on a Puerto Rican farm and moved to New York City with her mother, who was a seamstress, when she was five years old. She grappled with racism and sexism in show business, and was often offered roles for stereotypical ethnic minority characters, even after winning the Oscar for her role as Anita in "West Side Story" in 1961.

The documentary, which will air as part of the PBS American Masters series in 2020, will feature interviews, archival footage, animation and reenactments of Moreno's childhood, according to the network, who made the announcement on Monday.

“Rita is La Reina. Punto. Full stop,” said Miranda in a statement. “Her life, talent and career is a masterclass in the American dream."

Moreno is currently filming the Steven Spielberg remake of "West Side Story," and will be playing the role of Valentina, a version of the store owner Doc in the original movie.

Her sitcom "One Day at a Time," produced by Lear, was recently saved from cancellation by Pop TV after three seasons on Netflix.

“As a filmmaker, woman and Puerto Rican, I am proud to have the opportunity to tell Rita’s story,” said director Mariem Pérez Riera in a statement. “Her many victories in the face of prejudice are an inspiration to me. Hopefully, this film will give strength to the women all over the world, who today, face a similar fight towards equality.”

Follow NBC Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.