Rita Moreno Retells Story About Night JFK Flirted With Her

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Read more

Legendary actress Rita Moreno isn’t shy when it comes to reminiscing about her love life. It’s no secret that over the years, the West Side Story star dated the likes of Marlon Brando and Elvis Presley.

While much of her love life was covered in her 2014 autobiography, “Rita Moreno: A Memoir,” the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award winner seems to enjoy watching people’s eyes light up when they hear the stories straight from the source.

During a virtual interview at the 2020 AFI Fest Tuesday evening, Moreno retold a story to screenwriter Tony Kushner, who wrote the script for the remake of West Side Story, about an evening decades ago when John F. Kennedy kept staring at her from across the room during the grand opening of a hotel in Palm Beach.

Moreno was with her friend, late actress Ann Miller, when John F. Kennedy, who was running for Senate at the time, walked into the nightclub inside the hotel with Jackie and was immediately entranced by Moreno, who did not know who he was.

“I thought, ‘I think he likes me,’” Moreno said. “All evening long, every time I looked at his direction…he was giving me a look like you wouldn’t believe. If I had been that kind of girl, I would’ve given him a look, and we would’ve ended up in his hotel room.”

A couple of months later, Moreno said she was looking through Life magazine and recognized Kennedy in a photo.

“That’s the guy who was flirting with me!” Moreno said. “He was a bad boy. He was a bad, bad boy. And I loved every minute of it.”