In her seven decades as an entertainer, Rita Moreno has won at least one Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Grammy and Golden Globe for her work in film, stage, and television. But her most memorable role was as Anita in the original 1961 film version of West Side Story, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Sixty years later, Moreno played another significant character in Steven Spielberg's 2021 West Side Story remake. Moreno, who turned 90 in December 2021, portrayed Valentina, the widow of Doc, a character in the original version. In the new version, Moreno sings "Somewhere (There's a Place for Us)," sung by Richard Beymer's Tony and Natalie Wood's Maria in the original.
Moreno’s 60-year gap may be the longest for an actor between major roles in the original and remake of the same movie. Other actors have appeared in remakes and franchise sequels, but none in such high-profile films with such a large gap in time.
Originals and remakes:
- Dick van Dyke appeared in 1964's Mary Poppins and 2018's Mary Poppins Returns a whopping 54 years later.
- Gene Barry and Ann Robinson starred in the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds and had cameos in the 2005 version, 52 years later.
- Tim Curry starred in the 1973 version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and was the narrator/criminologist in the 2016 version, 43 years later.
- Harrison Ford starred in the 1982 version of Blade Runner and also appeared in the 2017 version, 35 years later.
- Charlton Heston starred in the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes and played an ape in the 2001 remake, 33 years later.
- Burt Reynolds starred in the 1974 version of The Longest Yard and also appeared in 2005 remake, 31 years later.