Broadway icon Chita Rivera, two-time Tony award winner, passes away at 91


New York [US]: Chita Rivera, the legendary actress and singer celebrated for her Tony Award-winning performances in Broadway classics such as “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” and “Sweet Charity,” passed away at the age of 91, CNN reported.

Rivera’s publicist, Merle Frimark, confirmed her peaceful demise in New York on Tuesday after a brief illness.

With a remarkable Broadway career spanning decades, Rivera received a record 10 Tony Award nominations and secured victories for “The Rink” and “The Kiss of the Spider Woman.” From her iconic portrayal of Anita in “West Side Story” to collaborations with Dick Van Dyke in “Bye Bye Birdie” and signature roles in Bob Fosse’s masterpieces like “Chicago” and “All That Jazz,” Rivera left an indelible mark on the theatrical world, as reported by CNN.

Despite her demanding stage commitments, Rivera also graced the silver screen with appearances in film adaptations of “Sweet Charity” and “Chicago,” as well as “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Her last on-screen credit was in Netflix’s 2021 movie “Tick, Tick… Boom!”

Born in Washington, DC, in 1933, Rivera’s journey began as a ballerina at the age of nine. She later earned a scholarship to the School of American Ballet under the tutelage of choreographer George Balanchine.

Rivera’s contributions were honoured with a Kennedy Centre accolade in 2002, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2009, and the 2018 Special Tony Award for lifetime achievement.

A published author, Rivera penned her memoir, “Chita: A Memoir,” last year.

Expressing the loss, Broadway actress Stephanie Pope, a close friend of Rivera, described her as a “legend” who set a standard of excellence that others aspire to but may never attain.

“I cherish the time I spent with her both on stage and off,” Pope told CNN, adding, “The theater community and world has lost a true star.”

Rivera is survived by her daughter Lisa Mordente and siblings Julio, Armando, and Lola del Rivero. The family has announced a private funeral for the late star.


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