Rita Moreno Honored with Top Accolade at Imagen Awards

Rita Moreno - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Rita Moreno - H 2015

Paula Abdul presented the actress with the inaugural Imagen Legacy Award.

EGOT winner Rita Moreno added another trophy to her shelf when the actress was honored with the inaugural Imagen Legacy Award at the 30th annual Imagen Awards Friday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Paula Abdul presented to the actress who was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation. “You are an amazing woman, Miss Moreno. You sprinkle your fairy dust over everyone you meet. Thank you. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.”

“I revert to Rosita Dolores. The little Puerto Rican girl who dreamed to someday somehow be doing exactly what I’m doing right now. I would just love to take the hand that led to that boat headed to America for a better life and say, ‘Mommy, look at me," Moreno told the audience which erupted into a second standing ovation when she sang The Pied Piper’s “Dream” during her acceptance speech. "That was quite a gamble you took and look how it paid off."

Moreno, who guest starred on last season of Jane the Virgin (which took home the award for best primetime comedy), reunited with her co-stars Ivonne Coll and best television supporting actress winner Andrea Navedo on the red carpet. 

Coll, who sidled up next to Navedo on the carpet, squealed, “I didn’t know you were going to be here! This is wonderful!” when she saw Moreno, who excitedly replied, “I didn’t know you were going to be here!” “We’re having a Jane the Virgin reunion! This is great!” Navedo exclaimed as the three women embraced and took pictures.

Hosted by The Imagen Foundation, the Imagen Awards are held annually to recognize Latino achievement in entertainment. Stars including America Ferrera, Rico Rodriguez, Melissa Fumero and Richard Cabral spoke to The Hollywood Reporter on where Latinos currently stand in Hollywood.

“It’s no secret that Latinos are a growing population in this country and they’re grossly underserved and underrepresented as a community on screen — as are basically every minority,” Ferrera said. “I think we’re at a time where that awareness is increasing and people are looking for ways to represent and to reach audiences that feel underrepresented. It’s a good time to be part of the industry, but we’ve got a long road ahead.”

Cabral, who is nominated for an Emmy for his role on American Crime, told THR, “People are paying attention to Latino stories that matter right now. That’s what it’s about: Giving a voice to the voiceless. And it’s not just Latinos. African Americans, Asians, there are so many communities that need that voice.”

Fumero referred to television as the medium that is “making the big moves and really changing things.” The actress added, “I think we’re entering into a new normal. We’re finally representing what this country is. It’s a really diverse country and our television shows should reflect that.”