Highlights

  • Chita Rivera, one of Broadway's iconic stars, has passed away at 91
  • She peacefully succumbed to a brief illness in New York
  • Colleagues and friends fondly remembered her for her dazzling stage presence

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Chita Rivera, Tony-Winning Broadway Star, dies at 91 after brief illness

Chita Rivera, one of Broadway's iconic stars, has passed away at 91 after a brief illness. Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to her on social media.

Chita Rivera, Tony-Winning Broadway Star, dies at 91 after brief illness

Chita Rivera, one of Broadway's iconic stars, has passed away at 91, as confirmed by her daughter Lisa Mordente. Rivera, a Tony Award-winning entertainer, enjoyed a remarkable theatre career spanning nearly seven decades. Renowned for her memorable roles such as Anita in ‘West Side Story’ and Rose in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, she peacefully succumbed to a brief illness in New York.

Tributes pour in for Rivera

Colleagues and friends of Chita Rivera fondly remembered her for her dazzling stage presence and remarkable achievements. Her impact on Broadway and her vibrant contributions to the world of theater left an enduring legacy that will be cherished by those who had the privilege of working with her and witnessing her talent.

‘The incomparable Chita Rivera was one of the greatest spirits and colleagues I've ever known,’ said actor Jason Alexander in a post on X. ‘She set the bar in every way. I will cherish her always,’ he added.

Mia Farrow called her ‘an authentic Broadway icon.’

‘No one who was fortunate enough to have seen any of her performances will ever forget the experience,’ Ms Farrow said on X.

About Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera, born in 1933 in Washington DC to a Puerto Rican father and a mother of Scottish and Irish heritage, began her illustrious Broadway career in the 1950s with roles in productions like Can-Can and Mr. Wonderful. Her breakthrough came in 1957 as Anita in the original West Side Story cast, propelling her to Broadway stardom. Rivera earned a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of Rose in Bye Bye Birdie and later played vaudeville performer Velma Kelly in Chicago.

Celebrated as a "triple-threat," excelling in singing, dancing, and acting, Rivera was a trailblazer for Latina women in the theater. Her last Broadway appearance was in 2015's The Visit. Rivera's contributions earned her two Tony Awards, with nominations for eight others. In 2002, she became the first Latina to receive the Kennedy Center Honors and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2009. Rivera, a recipient of a lifetime Tony award in 2018, also authored the bestselling autobiography "Chita: A Memoir" in 2021. Her passing marks the end of an era for Broadway, and she is remembered as a true legend and pioneer.

Her albums include 16 tracks pulled from her original cast recordings and put out as part of Sony’s Legends of Broadway series and two solo CDs — And Now I Sing for a tiny record label in the 1960s and And Now I Swing in 2009 for Yellow Sound Label.

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