Chita Rivera, a groundbreaking Broadway star who earned the distinction of being the first Latina to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor and a Tony Award winner, has passed away.
Her daughter, Lisa Mordente, confirmed the sad news, stating that Chita died in New York after a brief illness.
Born as Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero Anderson, Chita carved a remarkable path for Latina artists, making history as the inaugural actress to portray Anita in “West Side Story” in 1957 and Velma Kelly in “Chicago.”
Over six decades on stage, she amassed an impressive 10 Tony nominations and secured the Best Actress in a Musical award for both “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “The Rink.”
Chita Rivera also graced Broadway stages in notable productions such as “Threepenny Opera,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Sweet Charity,” among numerous others.
In her most recent stage appearance, she was seen dancing in the 2015 production of “The Visit,” expressing to AP at the time that she couldn’t envision a life without movement, storytelling, or singing—a sentiment where performance was described as “the spirit of my life.”
Chita, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, achieved New York Times bestseller status in 2023 with her memoir, “Chita: A Memoir.”
She is survived by her daughter, Lisa Mordente, and siblings Julio, Armando, and Lola del Rivero, along with numerous nieces and nephews.
According to her representative, Merle Frimark, a private funeral is planned, and details for a memorial service will be announced in due course.