One of Broadway’s most accomplished stars, Chita Rivera, has passed away at the age of 91.

Her death was confirmed in a statement made by her publicist Merle Frimark, who said: “It is with great sadness that Lisa Mordente, the daughter of Chita Rivera, announces the death of her beloved mother who died peacefully in New York after a brief illness.”

Rivera was famed for playing the original Broadway Anita in West Side Story, Velma in Chicago and Rose in Bye Bye Birdie. Rivera was a prominent fixture on the floorboards of Broadway across 60 years and, at the age of 82, she took on the role of Claire Zachanassian in The Visit.

Since the news of the passing, there has been swathes of online support to commemorate the life and legacy of the triple threat.

GLAAD highlighted “her long career advocating for LGBTQIA+ people and people living with HIV and AIDS.”

Ariana DeBose, who played Anita in the 2021 Steven Spielberg adaptation of West Side Story, wrote: “She was a force. In truth she made me nervous. To be in her presence was to behold greatness. I always got the sense that she has great expectations, but none greater than the ones she held herself to … I am heartbroken and yet ever inspired as she showed so many of us what was possible. Rest well Queen.”


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Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the film adaptation of West Side Story in 1961, paid tribute on Instagram: “Chita Rivera is eternal. I remember seeing her for the first time in Mr. Wonderful and exclaiming, “Oh my god, who IS that”? When I found out that this astonishing creature was one of my people, I crowed with pride.

“Over the years, we were sometimes mistaken for each other which I always viewed as a badge of honor. She was the essence of Broadway. As I write this, I am raising a glass to this remarkable woman and friend.
Chita, amiga, Salud!”


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Jinkx Monsoon said: “Chita Rivera is one of those names that will never fade. Her contributions to the world of entertainment and the world at large are immortal.”

See more tributes to Chita Rivera below.



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