West Side Story 50th Anniversary
With “West Side Story” celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, three of the film’s stars – Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn – commemorated the occasion with a reception at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel.
Soon after, friends, family and followers crossed the street to watch the trio embed their hand and foot prints in cement at the famous courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
Absent of course was the film’s leading lady, the late Natalie Wood, who tragically drowned in 1981. With the spotlight on Wood once again, due to a renewed investigation into her death, it is interesting to recall just how big a movie star she had been.
Wood couldn’t sing (her voice was dubbed in the film) and she wasn’t a professional dancer. Yet she was cast in the coveted role of Maria in the blockbuster musical, alongside the great Broadway talents, Moreno, Chakiris and Tamblyn.
West Side Story won Oscars for both Moreno and Chakiris and in remarks, both recalled their pleasure in working with Wood and the rest of the cast, including many dancers who attended the ceremony. Moreno played Maria’s friend Anita, while Chakiris and Tamblyn played leaders of rival gangs: the Sharks and the Jets.
The Nov. 15 foot-printing ceremony at the Chinese theater, where the film originally debuted, coincided with the West Side Story 50th Anniversary Blu-ray release.
Among those joining the trio were Morgan Fairchild. Lee Merriweather, Corbin Bleu, Grace Phipps, Joe Mantegna, Shirley Jones, Jason Ritter, Sharon Lawrence, Kenny Ortega, Catherine O’Hara, Moreno’s daughter, Fernanda Gordon and Tamblyn’s daughter, Amanda Tamblyn.
Photos fr0m the West Side Story 50th anniversary celebration, from top: George Chakiris, left, Rita Moreno and Russ Tamblyn; Morgan Fairchild with George Chakiris; Memorialized in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater: George Chakiris, Rita Moreno and Russ Tamblyn. (photos: Athena Houge)
IN OTHER LOS ANGELES SOCIETY NEWS:
Published Nov. 27, 2011 – Society News LA