Lindsay Harrison,George Chakiris

My West Side Story

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George Chakiris famously played the angry gang leader Bernardo in the film version of West Side Story (1961), for which he won an Oscar for best supporting actor. My West Side Story is an insider's look at how this theatrical and cinematic landmark evolved from a conversation in Jerome Robbins's Manhattan apartment between him, Arthur Laurents, and Leonard Bernstein to ten Oscars, three Golden Globes, two Tony Awards, and a Grammy. While also a memoir of Chakiris's long and distinguished career, the emphasis is on West Side Story. Here are profiles of the film's stars and directors, from Natalie Wood and "lovely" Richard Beymer, to the mercurial Jerome Robbins and "passionate" Rita Moreno, with whom Chakiris remains friends. "I know exactly where my gratitude belongs," Chakiris writes, "and I still marvel at how, unbeknownst to me at the time, the joyful path of my life was paved one night in 1949 when Jerome Robbins sat Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents down in his apartment and announced, 'I have an idea.' "
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