The best of Naya Rivera’s ‘Glee’ moments and 29-year career highlights

The best of Naya Rivera’s ‘Glee’ moments and 29-year career highlights

“Glee” actress Naya Rivera, 33, has been confirmed dead after going missing July 8 during a Southern California boating trip with her 4-year-old son, Josey, with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, 36. She’s survived by her brother Mychal Rivera, 29, a former NFL tight end, her model sister Nickayla Rivera, 26, and her parents.

In the wake of this tragedy, here are some of Rivera’s career highlights and best moments on “Glee,” where she’s remembered for her beautiful singing voice and for pioneering an iconic LGBTQ character.

“The Royal Family”

At the tender age of 4, Rivera was already a rising star, playing Hillary Winston on CBS sitcom “The Royal Family.” She got a Young Artist Award for the role. In 1991, while on that set, she witnessed star Redd Foxx suffer a fatal heart attack at 68.

“The Bernie Mac Show”

Between 1992 and 2002, Rivera had small episodic roles on shows such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (she was in the 1993 episode “Bundle of Joy,”) “Family Matters,” “Baywatch,” “Smart Guy” and “Even Stevens.” In 2002, she won her biggest recurring role yet playing Donna on “The Bernie Mac Show” (from 2002-2006). Star Bernie Mac would later die of complications from phenomena in 2008, at 50.

During her stint playing Donna, Rivera also appeared on “8 Simple Rules,” (in the 2004 episode “Halloween”) a year after star John Ritter fell ill on the set and died of a congenital heart defect.

“Glee”

From 2009-2015, Rivera had her breakout role playing Santana Lopez. This led to her releasing “Sorry,” a single in 2013 featuring her then-fiancé, Big Sean.

On “Glee,” Santana started as an antagonist, a mean-girl cheerleader spying on the glee club for Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). She dates Puck (Mark Salling, who died tragically in 2018 by suicide) and Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith, who also died tragically in 2013 of drug-related causes).

Santana soon became a more complex character as she realized that she was a lesbian with feelings for her best friend, Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris), leading to their eventual wedding in Season 6.

“Not afraid to cut a b–ch”

Aside from her singing, the scene in which Santana comes out is a particular stand-out, where she candidly tells the cheerleaders that she’s gay. “It’s who I am … it doesn’t doesn’t change the fact that I’m a natural-born leader and I’m not afraid to cut a b - - ch,” she says.

“Landslide”

As Santana starts to come to terms with her feelings for Brittany, Rivera did a beautiful rendition of “Landslide” with guest star Gwyneth Paltrow.

Her Adele medley

Rivera got the chance to show off her powerhouse singing chops doing a medley of Adele songs, including “Rumor Has It” and “Someone Like You.”

“If I Die Young”

Now extra tragic in retrospect, Rivera did an emotional rendition of the Band Perry song in 2015, as a tribute to co-star Cory Monteith.

The Demi Lovato duet

Rivera did a duet of The Beatles’ hit “Here Comes the Sun” with Demi Lovato, who guest-starred as one of Santana’s love interests in Season 5.

“Smooth Criminal”

Rivera showed off her flawless stage presence in this rendition of the classic Michael Jackson song.

“Valerie”

Rivera did a haunting and emotional rendition of “Valerie,” from another icon gone too soon, Amy Winehouse.

In the years since “Glee,” her biggest role was playing Collette Jones on the YouTube/ Starz show “Step Up: High Water,” based on the Channing Tatum movie franchise of the same name.


Source : Lauren Sarner Link

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