She overcame racism and abuse to break Hollywood, romanced Brando, dated Elvis to make him jealous, fought hard for civil rights and won an Egot. Now in her 10th decade, she is busier and happier than ever

Rita Moreno pops up on my computer screen in a bright red hat, huge pendant necklace and tortoiseshell glasses. “Well, here I am in my full glory,” she says from her home in Berkeley, California. And glorious she sure is. Moreno is a couple of weeks short of her 90th birthday, but look at her and you would knock off 20 years. Listen to her and you would knock off another 50.

Can I wish you an advance happy birthday, I ask. “Yes, you can. Isn’t it exciting?” Moreno is one of the acting greats. But she could have been so much greater. She is one of only six women to have bagged the Egot (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards), alongside Helen Hayes, Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg and Liza Minnelli. Yet she has spent much of her career battling typecasting or simply not being cast at all.

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