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Chita Rivera dies at 91: A look back at Broadway star’s stellar career

Chita Rivera, a notable figure in the Broadway industry, “died peacefully” on Tuesday morning after a “brief illness.” She was 91 at the time. Rivera, who was a two-time Tony Award winner, shot to fame in 1957 after she was cast as Anita in the original Broadway production of West Side Story.

Chita Rivera died at the age of 91 following a brief illness(Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Broadway star Chita Rivera dies at 91

A representative for Rivera said in a statement, “It is with immense personal sorrow that I announce the death of the beloved Broadway icon Chita Rivera. My dear friend of over 40 years was 91. May her memory be a blessing,” per Fox News Digital.

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Rivera’s daughter, Lisa Mordente, who confirmed her death in a statement, revealed, “She [Chita Rivera] is also survived by her siblings Julio, Armando and Lola del Rivero, (her older sister Carmen predeceased her), along with her many nieces, nephews and friends. Her funeral will be private. A memorial service will be announced in due course.”

What was Chita Rivera known for?

Rivera was most famous for her iconic roles like Anita in West Side Story, Rose Alvarez in Bye Bye Birdie and Bring Back Birdie, Velma Kelly in Chicago, and Rita Romano in Mr. Wonderful, among other notable works. Apart from Broadway and theatre, Rivera also starred in various films and TV shows.

She made an appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show in seven episodes. She made her film debut in 1969 with the role of Nickie in Sweet Charity. Her later works also include voice acting as The Witch in the popular children’s show Dora The Explorer.

The late Broadway star received numerous accolades throughout her decades-long career. Rivera, who was a ten-time Tony Award nominee, received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre in 2018. She was also a multiple-time Drama Desk Award nominee and winner. In 2002, her work was celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors.

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