Tony-Winning Broadway Legend, Chita Rivera, Dead At 91

At the age of 91, Chita Rivera, a trailblazing Tony-winning Broadway star and the first Latina to receive the esteemed Kennedy Center Honor, has passed away. Her daughter, Lisa Mordente, confirmed the awful news, stating that her mother passed away suddenly in New York after a brief illness. Chita, real name Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero Anderson, is renowned for having paved the way for Latina performers, having been the first to portray Velma Kelly in “Chicago” and Anita in “West Side Story” in 1957. Over her 60 years on stage, she had an incredible 10 Tony nominations; she won Best Actress in a Musical for both “The Rink” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

Among many other Broadway shows, Chita starred in “Threepenny Opera,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Sweet Charity.” She was most recently seen dancing on stage in the 2015 production of “The Visit.” She told AP at the time that performing was “the spirit of my life” and that she didn’t know what she would do if she wasn’t moving, telling a story, or singing a song. In 2023, Chita released her book “Chita: A Memoir,” which made her a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In addition to her numerous nieces and nephews, she is survived by her daughter Lisa Mordente and her siblings Julio, Armando, and Lola del Rivero. An announcement about a memorial ceremony will be made soon, according to a statement made by her representative, Merle Frimark.

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