Celebrity EPCOT Narrator & Broadway Legend Chita Rivera Passes Away at 91

chita rivera

Celebrity EPCOT Narrator & Broadway Legend Chita Rivera Passes Away at 91

Chita Rivera, the adored Broadway icon renowned for her roles in West Side Story, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman, passed away yesterday in New York after a brief illness at the age of 91. The news of her passing was shared by her daughter, Lisa Mordente, who conveyed that Rivera’s death occurred peacefully.

As one of America’s leading Latina artists, Rivera made significant strides in her career, captivating both critics and audiences with groundbreaking performances in iconic Broadway numbers like “America” and “A Boy Like That” from West Side Story, as well as “All That Jazz” from Chicago. A prominent figure in Tony Award history, she earned 10 nominations, securing victory twice (for The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman) and receiving the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.

Related: Disney Celebrates Cast Members with a Special Night

chita rivera

In 1953, Rivera skyrocketed to stardom with Guys and Dolls, solidifying her position as a leading lady on Broadway in 1954 with Can-Can, followed by Mr. Wonderful in 1956. However, it was in 1957 that she attained both a personal signature and a revered place in Broadway history by portraying Anita in the original Broadway production of West Side Story—a role she reprised in London.


Additional career milestones encompass leading roles in Bye Bye Birdie (1960), Jerry’s Girls (1985), and the inaugural Broadway ensemble of Seventh Heaven (1955). Rivera also headlined in touring renditions of Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, and Can-Can alongside The Rockettes.

Rivera is survived by her daughter, the singer, dancer, and choreographer Lisa Mordente, born during her marriage to West Side Story co-star Tony Mordente from 1957 to 1966. Additionally, she is survived by her siblings Julio, Armando, and Lola del Rivero, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Celebrate the life of Chita Rivera by letting us know your favorite film or show in a comment.

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Podcasting on Chip and Company Podcast Network. Northeast USA Entertainment and Events media correspondent. Covering Broadway, conventions, film, and television.
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