Chita Rivera, a Broadway legend from Chicago and West Side Story, has passed away at the age of 91 on Tuesday morning after a brief illness.
With deep regret, the publicist officially confirmed the passing of the esteemed three-time Tony winner and nine-time nominee star.
On Tuesday, her representative Merle Frimark conveyed this information 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."
Continuing the statement, they kindly request any memorial contributions to be directed towards Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in her honour, "She 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."
The versatile performer, known for her acting, singing, and dancing talents, first portrayed Anita in the inaugural Broadway rendition of West Side Story.
Additionally, she played the lead in Kiss of the Spider Woman and took on the character of Velma Kelly during the original Broadway production of Chicago.
As highlighted in a 2005 career retrospective by The New York Times, Chita Rivera: A Dancer’s Life, Rivera’s charisma lay “in her expert technique and in the infectious pleasure she derives from it. She has always been a pro’s pro in a world of exacting judgments and mythic standards.”
She introduced a variety of iconic roles that later actors embraced and personalized. However, she seldom embodied these characters beyond her stage performances.
Rivera saw herself as “a chorus dancer who went through the whole race.” “I think I can cope with anything that comes up,” she said.