Broadway Legend of ‘West Side Story’ Fame, Dies at 91 – Chita Rivera Dead

todayJanuary 31, 2024 6 1 5

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Broadway icon Chita Rivera, renowned for her exceptional contributions to the stage, has passed away at the age of 91, as confirmed by a statement from her daughter Lisa Mordente, as reported by The New York Times.

Rivera, a multifaceted talent encompassing singing, dancing, and acting, graced Broadway for nearly seven decades, leaving an indelible mark with iconic roles such as Anita in West Side Story (1957), Rose in Bye Bye Birdie (1960), Velma Kelly in Chicago (1975), and the Spider Woman in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993). Her final appearance on the Broadway stage was in 2015 as Claire Zachannassian in The Visit.

Born in Washington, D.C., to a Puerto Rican father and a mother of Scottish and Italian descent, Rivera amassed an impressive 10 Tony Award nominations throughout her career, tying with Julie Harris for the most nominations by an actress. She clinched two Tony Awards, the first in 1984 for The Rink and the second in 1993 for Kiss of the Spider Woman. In 2018, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.

Beyond Broadway, Rivera showcased her talents on the small screen, playing Mrs. Dame in a 1964 episode of The Outer Limits titled “The Bellero Shield” and assuming the recurring role of Connie Richardson in 1973 on The New Dick Van Dyke Show.

In a groundbreaking moment, Rivera became the first Latina to receive a Kennedy Center Honor in 2002. Additionally, in 2009, she was bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Reflecting on this prestigious recognition, Rivera shared her sentiments with the AP, stating, “As I was sitting among all these amazing people, I had time to really try to be comfortable because I was in awe of everyone, not believing that I was actually sitting there myself. Then I heard the president speak. And before he gave us our medals, he said that we were people who did what we did out of passion. Not for fame. Not for money. And that we have done everything in our power to be examples for the future. … (And then) I actually said to myself, ‘Yes, that is my intention. Yes, I have worked all of these years. Yes, I do look forward to being an example for the future of our children.'”

Written by: Power Radio

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