CALIFORNIA: Glee star Naya Rivera was found dead on Monday, July 13 in a Southern California lake. She was 33.
Rivera rose to fame after playing a gay cheerleader on the hit TV musical comedy Glee. She played a lesbian teen on Glee which aired from 2009 until 2015 on Fox.
Rivera’s body was discovered six days after she disappeared on Lake Piru, where her son, Josey, was found July 8 alone on a boat the two had rented, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said, as reported by an international news agency.
Police confirmed that the body was of Rivera.
She is survived by her parents, Yolanda and George; a younger brother, Mychal; a sister, Nickayla; and her 4-year-old son.
“Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were,” wrote Glee co-star Jane Lynch on Twitter.
Steven Canals, who co-created and produced the FX television show Pose, tweeted that he was “heartbroken over all the stories that will remain untold.”
“Naya Rivera was a fierce talent with so much more to do and this is such a terrible tragedy. We are forever grateful for the indelible contribution she made to Glee, from the first episode to the last,” said a statement from 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment.
Rivera was from Santa Clarita, California. She began her acting career at 4 appearing in series such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters and The Bernie Mac Show.
When she was a teenager, she struggled with an eating disorder and had breast implants put in at 18 (“a confidence thing, not a sexual thing,” she would later write in her autobiography).
“I had the lowest self esteem in high school possible. I wasn’t popular, I didn’t have friends, but I would say it’s really important that you know who you are and you’re going to win in the end because of that,” Rivera said in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press.
She worked odd jobs as a telemarketer, a nanny, a waitress and an Abercrombie & Fitch greeter before landing the role of Santana Lopez on Ryan Murphy’s Glee.
Rivera also a singer, will be remembered for memorable songs on the show including a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” with guest star Gwyneth Paltrow, “Here Comes the Sun” with Demi Lovato, and a tearful cover of The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young.”
She and actor Ryan Dorsey were married in 2014 and their son, Josey, was born in 2015.
Rivera was arrested and charged in West Virginia in 2017 with misdemeanor domestic battery after she allegedly hit Dorsey. The charge was dismissed because Dorsey did not wish to press charges. They divorced soon after.
Naya Rivera’s death is the latest death in a tragic arc of Glee actors. Monteith died in 2013 — exactly seven years to the day after Rivera’s body was identified — from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin, and Rivera’s ex-boyfriend Mark Salling, who played a jock on the series, killed himself in 2018 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
Rivera and Salling dated for three years and broke up in 2010.
(Inputs from AP)