Hollywood has come a long way when it comes to diverse representation in film. When the original film version of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story first released in 1961, most of the Puerto Rican characters were played by white actors (including the romantic lead Maria, who was played by Natalie Wood). One of the main exceptions was Anita, one of María’s best friends and Bernardo’s girlfriend, the leader of the Sharks. The role was played by the one and only Rita Moreno, who recently explained why she loved playing the role so much.


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