Chita Rivera, Broadway star, dies at 91

Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera, the Tony-winning dancer, singer and actress who spent decades performing on Broadway, has died, according to multiple reports. She was 91.

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Rivera’s daughter, Lisa Mordente, confirmed Tuesday that she died in New York “after a brief illness,” People reported. No other details were immediately shared, according to The New York Times.

Rivera’s rep, Merle Frimark, also confirmed her death in a statement obtained by People.

“It is with immense personal sorrow that I announce the death of the beloved Broadway icon Chita Rivera,” Frimark said. “My dear friend of over 40 years was 91.”

Over the course of her career, Rivera appeared in dozens of stage productions in New York and London, performed in nearly two dozen films and television shows and logged 100,000 miles on cabaret tours, according to the Times and IMDb. She won two Tony Awards for her performances and was presented with a third for lifetime achievement in theater in 2018. She is tied with two other performers — Audra McDonald and Julie Harris — for the most number of Tony Award nominations at 10.

She also earned honors from the Kennedy Center, which noted that she “is universally regarded as an American national treasure.” In 2009, then-President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom calling her “sassy, electric — that rare performer who can sing, dance and act.”

Rivera earned acclaim in 1957 when she played Anita in the original production of “West Side Story,” The Associated Press reported. She was still performing on Broadway decades later, starring in the musical “The Visit” in 2015.

“I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t moving or telling a story to you or singing a song,” she told the AP at the time. “That’s the spirit of my life, and I’m really so lucky to be able to do what I love, even at this time in my life.”

Rivera is survived by her daughter, three siblings and several nieces and nephews, CNN and Variety reported.