Screen icon Rita Moreno has used her success to raise up others. From almost quitting West Side Story due to problematic lyrics, to championing diverse representation of Latinx stars onscreen per The Atlantic, it’s no wonder Moreno was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom!
Yet Moreno’s personal life came with its own struggles. After rising to fame with her Academy Award-winning breakout performance in 1961’s West Side Story, Moreno wed cardiologist Leonard Gordon in 1965. The couple welcomed daughter Fernanda Luisa Gordan two years later. Per Closer Weekly, Gordon also acted as Moreno’s manager before his death in 2010.
Moreno openly admitted to People in 2019 that she only stayed with Gordon because of their daughter. Moreno alleged that Gordon, over a decade her senior, was a stifling force in the relationship: “In my case, it was ‘I’ll be the little girl, and you be the daddy,'” Moreno revealed. “And that stopped working, of course, cause the little girl wanted to grow up and that’s when the trouble started. So I wasn’t happily married for a very long time.” Moreno clarified to USA Today that she “ran quite an extraordinary and successful charade for many years” with Gordon, but while he was a “wonderful person,” she preferred to be independent…or with Elvis Presley. So what happened to her daughter Fernanda? Keep scrolling to find out!
Rita Moreno's daughter Fernanda Gordon is a jewelry designer
EGOT winner Rita Moreno’s love of her life is her daughter Fernanda Gordon. “I’m a family person before anything else. I have a daughter, Fernanda Louisa, that I’m insane about,” Moreno told The Spectrum. Gordon also tried her hand at acting in 1991 with roles in two TV series, per IMDb. In 1996, Gordon tied the knot with telecommunications manager David Tyler Fisher. According to The New York Times wedding announcement, Gordon worked as a “singer and dancer in her mother’s stage shows.” Gordon graduated from Tufts University before pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California.
Gordon later become a jewelry designer, and founded brand Nandiz Designs. Gordon welcomed two sons with husband Fisher, much to Moreno’s delight. “One of the best experiences of [my] life, if not the best, next to my daughter’s birth, is helping birth my daughter’s baby,” Rita told Grand Magazine in 2008. “These little boys are our hearts and souls. They are the air we breathe.”
Count Moreno as a proud mom and grandmother!
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