tv Bay Area Focus With Susan Sikora CW January 19, 2014 8:00am-8:31am PST
welcome to bay area focus. we begin this morning with a favorite returning guest and friend. born in puerto rico, the multi- talented rita moreno is legendary for winning every award, the oscar, grammy and two emmys and she just won the sag lifetime achievement award. despite that, the journey to star dom wasn't without
obstacles. rita, a memoir. welcome back. what an introduction. >> you know what? you've been at this table many times. it's been a couple years now. we have talked about a lot of the stuff that's going on. >> 81 years old, that's a lot of life. you should see the stuff i left out. i just look at myself on camera, and jesus. >> the sense of humor in the book, i'll tell you. >> i was up until three because it was a page-turner. >> i've been told it's a page- turner. >> i'm glad to hear that. >> it's very candid and revealing, and you really lay it out there. why did you decide to write
this now? >> i've been asked for years and years to write it, and i just didn't. number one, as long as i was married and attached to this really wonderful man, i just thought he knew my whole history, but do we really want to throw this in his face? i don't think so. it never occurred to me. i just turned it down all the time. then very soon after he passed away, i was doing the play about my life called at the berkeley called my life without makeup, which really inspired the book. i think i have lessons to impart to people about relationships and choices, and look at that. that's why i did it. that's why it's very revealing in certain ways. i don't like to think of it as only juicy. there's certainly juicy parts.
i mean, marilyn brando, elvis presley. >> we'll get to that in a moment. you came here from puerto rico with your mother. she left your little brother, and then you do resolve that after. i don't want to spoil it for people who want to read it, but did she ever explain why she didn't bring him with you. >> it wasn't discussed. that's the problem. at a certain point in my life i just found it too difficult. there's mommy. isn't she gorgeous. beautiful exotic looking lady. >> the apple doesn't fall far. >> i love that photo. it's so sweet. it wasn't something that was to be discussed. i just felt that she would probably get hysterical or start crying out of guilt and all that kind of stuff, and i just couldn't make myself ask her why she never saw her son. it's so hard for me to believe
it, leave a child behind. >> you were small at the time, like five years old. you came on a boat. it was not a pleasant journey. what was the name of the boat again? >> it was called the sskarabobo. literally translated means stupid face. not a good omen. >> you wondered when you got there, you were in an apartment in the bronx, and came from this tropical forest. >> forest area of puerto rico, beautiful. >> it was beautiful. i was just there a few weeks ago, and it's gorgeous. in new york it's cold and in february. my first day of school there. >> you were adorable. she said you were going to have a better life. >> and i was freezing my behind off saying, this is better? what happened to the palm trees and all that.
later on, i guess i was about 10 when i was younger because i never looked my age, that's when i started to dance. i did a lot of weddings and stuff. >> was it rita hayworth's uncle that got you dance lessons? >> it was, because her real name was margarita. >> then you got a gig. he took you on stage. >> i was six years old when i danced with him in a greenwich village nightclub. he was just so proud of me. i was seven. he partnered me in a spanish dance. it made my debut in a hispanic nightclub. >> that's woven in about breaking through the stereotype. the break was when somebody spotted you and wanted to introduce you to lewis, and at
the time he was the hollywood mogul. >> this was a talent scout who saw me. >> elizabeth taylor was the hot thing. >> i had no role models. there were none. >> no hispanic leading ladies in america at the time. >> no. so she became my role model. why not? >> but you said, and this amazes me because it comes up a lot in the book. you said in my mind i never looked better than okay. >> that's right. >> when did the confidence come then? >> something happens when you perform. i just always felt i had talent, but i really always was -- narcissistic people are like that. the world revolves around them.
i was absolutely convinced i was not terribly pretty, didn't have a very good figure. i posed the right way. >> you said you could doll up. >> exactly. >> you mother and you made you up, and it worked. you walked in, and she said she's a spanish elizabeth taylor. >> she looks like a spanish elizabeth taylor, and i almost died of happiness. >> all right. we have to take a break, believe it or not. >> it goes so fast. >> we're going to find out about rita and marlon brando, more involved than you think when we return.
>> yes, and i got scared. it was a good thing i didn't do it because i was not equipped. >> carol lawrence did it. >> there was a lot of stereotyping in terms of the casting. you played a lot of indian maidens, and then you end up with a man who is like the acting legend of america, marlon brando. before you were married, you ended up having an affair that lasted eight years. >> it wasn't an affairment it was a relationship. the affair was with elvis. >> and at one point you became pregnant, and he didn't want you to have the baby. why? >> i don't know. i guess he felt that he would then be obliged to take care of a child and all that kind of stuff, and i have to stay that i kind of willingly went along
with it. he wasn't going to mary me, that was for sure. >> he was in relationships with other women and had children with them. >> that was way later. >> during the relationship wasn't he cheating and womanizing and coming back to you? >> you really have to read the book because i'm not teasing. it's just that it was so -- it was a very complex relationship. we were truly in an obsessive relationship. we just were clinging to each other and really a neurotic way. i don't want to get -- i tried not to get into the psychological aspect of it because people say, oh, god, here we go. >> it came to an almost death moment. >> i tried to end my life over marlon brando. well, it wasn't so much really
over marlon brando. it's easy to blame the other person, but you collude. relationships do that, and anybody that tells you anything other than that are full of it. i loved his power and fame. i was very young for my age any way for years and years. >> his talent? >> his talent. he really was charismatic, the over used word. he was a god. i adored him, loved him and worshipped him, and the worshipped was the bad part. >> i didn't see in here, unless i missed it somewhere at three in the morning, you didn't have any formal acting training. you had the dance lessons.
>> yeah. >> you probably found out you could singalong the way. >> that's how it is. i found out i could sing. >> what about the acting, where did that come from? where did you learn? >> i think i was a natural actress to begin with. i did study for a couple of years with a man named jeff cory in los angeles, who was a very good teacher. that was it. it was a couple of years, and then that was it. >> you had a big devotion to your career. mother always believed in you for sure. >> she wasn't a stage mother, interestingly. i drove me. i just was convinced that some day somehow some way someone would see the talent in me and maybe not give me a dusty maiden part. >> you finally ended up moving here in the bay area after you had your daughter. he was a cardiologist.
you were afraid. he almost didn't get a shot with you. you were very nervous at that point. >> after the marlon brando thing, which was almost eight years, ending with a near suicide, i was very scared. i did something that's very telling in the book about myself. bells and whistles didn't happen when i was seeing leonard gordon. i always want the bells and whistled, and i realized just in time before he was going to give up on me that bells and whistles were not a good thing for me because that's when i would get in trouble with the wrong kind of man. that was marlon. i thought, okay, i'm going to have to accept the fact that i have to find a more sane and
natural way to be with a man. >> you seem to have defied a lot of ob strackles. there's sexism and racism and age. >> for sure. >> it's still there. >> for sure. >> it's hard to find grown-up women roles unless you're playing the grandmother in the corner knitting. >> it's true. what's interesting, too, i have a new agent that i signed up with. they'll submit me for any kind of role. they'll submit me for any kind of role, and i love that. >> what arena do you see the most possibility for you.
you're 81. >> i'm closer to 82 in december. >> okay. there's tv, film. >> there's tv, film, theater. i'm doing cabaret. i'm doing a fundraiser this weekend, in fact on saturday. i intend to do more of that. >> i love that. >> i do talks, too. i do lectures. >> i can see you're not exactly shy. >> what do you say to women particularly who are fighting some of those things still, those battles, particularly a woman who is maybe out of work, 50, 60, 70s and has gifts to offer? what do you say to keep going. >> you know, it will surprise you, but i say go do some exercise classes, and i'll tell you why. it's not for your body so much as your head. what happens as you get the
endorphin reaction, it's pretty fabulous, a hormone that kicks in when your heart starts to beat a little faster and you start to breathe a little faster, and it makes you feel hormone high and makes you feel great. you'll fold wonderful, and you'll see possibilities. >> what's your advice for someone starting out, particularly if they have an ethnicity. >> education, education, education. there is no guarantee that you'll even be a working actor or actress. you need to educate yourself in a way where you can find a job that pays well. it doesn't have to be $800 a week or something, but it has to pay well so that you can pay the rent and take acting lessons. >> okay. the book is called, rita moreno, a memoir. it really is a terrific read,
and yeah way to see what you do next for your next act. >> it's always good to see you. i love your energy. you're a crazy mom. i love that. i do. >> thank you. well, you're an inspiration. all right. stay with us. we're going to talk about fish. do you eat fish? >> yeah. >> the whole thing? >> no. >> stay tuned. >> i filet mine.
book. maria, who has written for sunset magazine, new york times and san francisco chronicle says your next fish dinner should begin with you buying the fish whole so you can use the entire animal. that's right, every part. before you witness, she claims you'll be saving the ocean and be healthy and even sexy. sounds a bit fishy. maria, welcome. >> you're a publicity dream, i guess. when you say cook the whole fish, are we talking the eyes and brains? >> well, you can use the fish heads for soup stock, which people around the world do that, and a lot of people covet the eyes and brain. i have eaten them in portland. they used to take anchovy heads and deep fry them and make a
yogurt deep. >> but i think you could deep fry anything, like this pen, and i think people in america would eat it. >> with sauce everything is fine, but no, the idea behind this is that it is an idea. the idea of eating the whole fish is kind of a metaphor. in our country we tend to waste a lot of food and just take the filet. we've seen the snout to tail movement in some restaurants and using the whole animal, like the pig head and the big heart for sandwiches. they're trying to use the whole animal because there's only so many steaks on a cow and racks
on a lamb. >> i'm not surprised that when people try this stuff perhaps, especially if it's prepared well by somebody talented in the kitchen, not me, it would be great and they'd be hooked. it almost sounds like sushi or the eel. but getting americans this particular to try this, you must be getting resistance. >> you know, not really because we're kind of entering this food culture. people love something new and the sense of adventure. we get in ruts opening a can of tuna. maybe try a local sardine. instead of shrimp, maybe get clams or muscles. using the whole fish now, people go, well, we talk about not wasting food and also saving money. if you have a salmon filet, you can make one meal out of the filet, but take the skin and
scale it and cook it with sesame oil and use it over rice for a second meal. then the salmon bones, i have a wonderful recipe, they dry them, grind them finely, mix them to one part salt so you have salmon salt. it's almost like a dry fish sauce so you can put it over steamed broccoli or anything. >> i'm hearing a lot of cooking. >> there's easy things. you can open a tin of sardines. we have a great sustainable caviar company in california. >> you do like caviar, you'd probably like the salmon eggs. >> they're a lig bigger or fishier, but once you get used
to them and figure out how to eat them, they have them smoked and it's delicious. >> you say this stuff makes you healthier. this is where the omega iiis are. same thing with this. >> you have to worry about the mercury and where this stuff comes from. you could be eating the sardines and all that, but guess what, there's mercury in the fish and might get sick. >> those are the least sustainable, so large tunas and swordfish, because they're on the top of the food chain, they accumulate a lot more of those. those tend to have more. they advise pregnant women not to eat that much of it.
smaller fish like herring, sardines, oyster, wild salmon from the pacific coast, those are all fine as far as that goes. those you don't have to worry about. >> all right. it's probably a new concept for your kitchen, certainly would be for mine. what the heck. it's called the whole fish. maria, thank you for being here. we have a look at the san francisco symphony performing throughout the year. i'm thanking you for watching. ,
19th. good morning, i'm anne makovec. i'm phil matier. nigh this is kpix 5 news on kbcw. >> good morning. it is 8:30 on sunday, january 19th, game day. thank you for joining us. i'm anne makovec. >> and i'm phil matier. >> the governor has claire ed a has -- has declared a drought emergencn with a water expert and say do we have enough water and should we be using it. >> also, it's 50 years since we began the war on poverty, marlin luther king, jr., day coming up. we're going to be sitting down and talking about the changes