Broadway Star, Chita Rivera, Passes Away

Broadway Star, Chita Rivera, Passes Away

( – The legendary Latina actress and Broadway great Chita Rivera died quietly in New York City on January 30th after a short illness, according to her daughter Lisa Mordente. She was ninety-one.

Both “The Rink” (1984) and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (1993) were Tony winners among Rivera’s ten nominations. Throughout her career, she received nominations for many productions, including “Chicago,” “Jerry’s Girls,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Bring Back Birdie,” “Nine,” “The Visit,” “Merlin,” and “Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life.”

Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero was born to a Catholic mother from Ireland and a Puerto Rican father in Washington, D.C., on January 23, 1933. Starting her ballerina training at the age of eleven, Rivera continued her education at the School of American Ballet at the age of fifteen. After her education, she made her way to Broadway.

As a 17-year-old, she made her stage debut in a touring production of “Call Me Madam.” Chorus roles in musicals like “Can-Can” and “Guys and Dolls” followed.

The characters that Rivera originated, such as Anita in the production of “West Side Story,” in “Chicago” as Velma Kelly, and Rose Alvarez in the play “Bye Bye Birdie,” earned her a Tony for the lifetime achievement award in theater in 2018.

On the silver screen, she made a brief appearance in the 2002 Oscar-winning movie “Chicago,” which was adapted from the stage musical. Along with Shirley MacLaine, Rivera was in the 1969 movie “Sweet Charity.” The 2021 movie “Tick, Tick… Boom!” featured Rivera in her most recent performance. The movie was about Jonathan Larson, author of “Rent.”

Joining her co-star in “Bye Bye Birdie,” Dick Van Dyke, on “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” was one of her many television appearances.

In her one marriage, she wed Tony Mordente, a man she had met onstage in “West Side Story.” Lisa was their only child during their 1957–1966 marriage.

Recalling Rivera as “eternal,” actress Rita Moreno responded to the news of her friend’s death. Moreno asserted her status as Broadway’s driving force.

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