Rita Moreno won an Oscar for playing Anita in "West Side Story," but she felt bad about having to trash Puerto Rico — you ugly island.
There were other issues, too. Co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins wanted a big contrast between the warring gangs, the Sharks and the Jets.Here that is on YouTube, from "The Ritz," which as a Broadway show won Rita Moreno a Tony. Of course, Moreno had to fight off the accusations that she herself, with this Googie Gomez character, was trading in offensive ethnic stereotypes. Her answer seems to be: No, because it was so funny and because it was an exaggeration of a particular type of person that people recognize. Make sure you understand how to distinguish and an actual offensive ethnic stereotypes.
"So the white kids had to have their hair bleached and have extra-pale makeup," Moreno recalls, "and we had to wear all one-color makeup, almost the color of mud — and it felt like it. We all had to have accents — many of us who were Hispanic did not have them. I asked the makeup artist, 'Why do we have to be one color? Because Hispanics are many different colors.'"....
During the filming of West Side Story, she created her own Puerto Rican character with an amusing, exaggerated accent: Googie Gomez. "One day I hiccupped her," Moreno says, before singing, a la Googie: "'I had a drean, a drean about chu, bebe.'"