George Lopez's Mom
Belita Moreno is an American actress of stage and screen and acting couch. She is famous for her roles on the ABC sitcom “George Lopez” (2002-2007), as George's authoritarian mother, Benny, and “Perfect Strangers,” where she played Edwina Twinkacetti from 1986 to 1987 and then Lydia Markham from 1987 to 1992. Her work in the first show earned the Dallas, TX native actress an Imagen Foundation Award and two ALMA nominations. Moreno also has appeared in many films and television films as well as guest starred in various TV series. Her stage credits include “The Miss Firecracker Contes,” “The Lucky Spot,” “The Wake of Jamey Foster” and “Abundance,” all written by Beth Henley.
Moreno resides in Santa Monica, California, with her husband, two children and two golden retrievers.
Childhood and Family:
Aurabela Moreno, who would later be popular as Belita Moreno, was born on November 1, 1949, in Dallas, Texas, to Mexican parents, Abel Moreno and Aurora (née Fernandez Rodriguez). She grew up in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, TX, along with her sister Elsie. She graduated from Justin F. Kimball High School, where her mother taught Spanish, and went on to study Theatre at Southern Methodist University. She continued her training at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, California.
Ms. Moreno is married to Joel Rudnick, a talent agent. They have two children.
Belita Moreno made her professional acting debut at Santa Maria's Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts. One of the musicals she starred, “ Once Upon A Mattress,” was selected by the USO to tour Southeast Asia. She later moved to Hollywood, CA to pursue her acting career, and upon her meeting with director Robert Altman, she was cast in three of Altman's classic movies: “3 Women” (1977, as Alcira), “A Wedding” (1978, as Daphne Corelli) and “A Perfect Couple” (1979, as Eleousa). She also landed a bit part in “Remember My Name” (1978), a thriller/drama film directed and written by Altmant's protégée, Alan Rudolph. Moreno made her TV film debut in “Ladies in Waiting” (1979), opposite Sally Kirkland.
Moreno played Belinda Rosenberg in “Mommie Dearest” (1981), a biographical drama film about Joan Crawford, starring Faye Dunaway, Nurse Gonzales in “Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again” (1982), comedy film adapted from the novella “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mabel Stoddard in Jonathan Demme's comedy “Swing Shift” (1984), opposite Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell and Christine Lahti, and Mrs. Vega in “Oh, God! You Devil” (1984), a black comedy/fantasy film directed by Paul Bogart and starring George Burns, Ted Wass, Ron Silver and Roxanne Hart. From 1980 to 1985, Moreno also worked in television films like “A Gun in the House” (1981, starred Sally Struthers, David Ackroyd and Dick Anthony Williams), “Cocaine and Blue Eyes” (1983, starred O.J. Simpson, Cliff Gorman and Candy Clark), “Scandal Sheet” (1985), “Do You Remember Love” (1985, starred Joanne Woodward and Richard Kiley), “I Dream of Jeannie... Fifteen Years Later” (1985, starred Barbara Eden, Bill Daily and Hayden Rorke) and “Crime of Innocence” (1985, starred Andy Griffith, Diane Ladd and Steve Inwood) as well as in the Emmy Award nominating TV minis series “Robert Kennedy & His Times” (1985), starring Brad Davis as Robert Kennedy. She also guest starred in the television series “The Powers of Matthew Star” (1983), “Family Ties” (1983) and “What's Happening Now!” (1985).
Moreno's first big break on television arrived when she landed the role of Edwina Twinkacetti in the first season of the television sitcom “Perfect Strangers,” which debuted on ABC on March 25, 1986. She remained with the role throughout the show's second season. She went on to portray Lydia Markham from season three until the end of season seven.
1986 also saw Moreno play Jane in the comedy film “Nobody's Fool,” which was written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Beth Henley. The same year, she also guest starred in several television shows like “Mary,” “The Golden Girl” and “Melba.”She went on to appear in episodes of “Full House” (1987, as Ronnie Gardner), “Valerie” (1988, as Mrs. Thorne), “ The Slap Maxwell Story” (1987-1988, as Annie's Lawyer). In 1988, she was cast in the musical/comedy film “Two Idiots in Hollywood,” by Stephen Tobolowsky.
On stage, Moreno was Beth Henley's favorite player during the 1980s, and appeared in at least four premieres of Henley's plays. She played Popeye in “The Miss Firecracker Contes” (1980) and Lacey Rollins in the two act play “The Lucky Spot” (1987), both off Broadway, and Katty Foster on the Broadway premiere of “The Wake of Jamey Foster” (1982). She also portrayed Macon in the world premiere of “ Abundance” (1989).
While continuing her tenure on “Perfect Strangers” until 1992, Moreno took other acting roles during the early 1990s. She co-starred with Jessica Lange, Chris O'Donnell, Joan Cusack and Kathy Bates in the remake “ Men Don't Leave” (1990), helmed by Paul Brickman, portrayed Beebee Stiles on the Emmy nominated TV film “Crazy from the Heart” (1991), starring Christine Lahti, Rubén Blades and William Russ, supported Olympia Dukakis, Donald Moffat and Chloe Webb in the TV miniseries “Tales of the City” (1993) and appeared in the Oscar nominated action/drama film “Clear and Present Danger” (1994), starring Harrison Ford and Willem Dafoe. She guest starred in television series such as “Going Places” (1990, as Mme. Pushnik), “Roseanne” (1992), “ Murphy Brown” (1993, as Sidney), “Major Dad” (1993, as Ms. Whitlin), “Getting By” (1993, as Marie Enright) and “Common Law” (1996, as Ruta). In 1996, she had a recurring role on “Melrose Place,” playing Gloria Bryan. The same year, she also landed roles in two TV films: “Death Benefit” and “The Bachelor's Baby.” IN the following year, she portrayed Mrs. Kinetta in “Grosse Pointe Blank,”a black comedy film directed by George Armitage and starring John Cusack and Minnie Driver.
Moreno enjoyed another big break on television when she was cast as the main antagonist, Benita “Benny” Lopez, George and Linda's White trash mother, on the television comedy series “George Lopez,” which ran for six seasons from March 27, 2002 to May10, 2007. For her bright acting, the actress won a 2004 Imagen for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Comedy and was nominated for ALMA Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Television Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress - Television Series, Mini-Series or Television Movie in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
During her five year stint on “George Lopez,” Moreno only assumed an important part as Marion in the 2005 short “Barbara Jean,” directed and written by Mischa Livingstone. After the show's departure, she guest starred in “ Wizards of Waverly Place” (2008), co-starred with Donald Sutherland, Jacqueline Bisset and Saffron Burrows in the made for TV film “The Eastmans” (2009) and portrayed Mrs. Norton in the film adaptation of Jeff Kinney's book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (2010), directed by Thor Freudenthal.
In 2011, Moreno played Betty in two episode of the USA Network series “Fairly Legal” called “The Two Richards” and “Priceless.” Besides, she reprised her role as Mrs. Norton in the sequel “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” (2011), this time helmed by David Bowers, and played Sophia Bishop in the Fox TV film “Truth Be Told” (2011), opposite Tina Borek, Chris Brochu and Candace Cameron Bure.
Apart from acting, Moreno has pursued a side career as acting coach and advisor on a number of films since 1990s, including “That Night” (1992), “The Client” (1992), “ Operation Dumbo Drop” (1995), “ Eye for an Eye” (1996), “ A Time to Kill” (1996), “Jerry Maguire” (1996), “ The Parent Trap” (1998), “The Kid” (2000), “ Almost Famous” (2000), “ The Family Man” (2000), “ Hearts in Atlantis” (2001), “The Affair of the Necklace” (2001), “ Crossroads” (2002), “ 12 Rounds” (2009) and “ Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (2010).
Imagen Foundation: Imagen Award, Best Supporting Actress in a Television Comedy, “George Lopez,” 2004