Update: Naya Rivera's family and members of the Glee cast have gathered in memorial of the actress, who has been pronounced dead at the age of 33. Rivera's family members and her Glee co-stars were photographed linking hands on the bank of Lake Piru in Ventura, California, where Rivera presumably drowned while swimming with her four-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, last Wednesday. Josey was found sleeping in the boat Rivera had rented and told authorities that he and his mother had jumped in the lake to go swimming, but she never surfaced. Authorities led an extensive search for Rivera, with her body finally being recovered and identified today.
Cast of ‘Glee’ and family members gather at lake where Naya Rivera’s body was found. pic.twitter.com/qKPhtAKFz8— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) July 13, 2020
Being cast in Glee (2009-2015) changed the trajectory of Naya Rivera's career. Rivera played a mean girl cheerleader "Santana Lopez," and was really just more of a recurring comedic relief character in season 1. However, her performance helped her character become a fan-favorite, leading to Rivera being upgraded to a regular on the show in season 2.
When Santana got a bigger role on the show, her character was expanded in a big way. It was revealed that beneath Santana's mean-spirited attitude, the cheerleader-turned-singer was actually struggling with deep LGBTQ+ identity issues. Santana developed feelings for her airhead best friend Brittany (Heather Morris), and the former comedic relief duo suddenly morphed into a story of female love, and Naya Rivera's performance got her the favorable reviews of her career and numerous award nominations for both her and the show.
Tributes from the Glee cast are still being posted on social media (at the time of writing this):
Josh Sussman posted: "Naya, you will be missed so much."
While Max Adler posted a string of heartbreak/crying emojis.
After Glee Naya Rivera had moved into family life and was working on ventures like a kids' clothing line in addition to being a mom. As she told People:
“First and foremost, everything I do is for Josey. He’s at the best age! He’s talking so much and [he’s] so cool, kind and sweet,” Rivera explained. “Josey inspires me in so many ways that it felt natural to want to create this [clothing line] for him and I. Starting this company from the ground up is something I’m really, really proud of. I know that my son is proud of it too. It’s a sweet bond that we share together.”0comments
I’ll take things to Josey for his input, especially the capes. He really loves the capes and thought he was a superhero. He kept running around the house saying, ‘I’m a superhero!’” Rivera added. “It’s really, really fun. It’s something that is new and something that is a different creative outlet that I don’t get to do outside of acting, singing, or dancing. And I do get to do it with my son. It’s been a great experience."
Our Condolences go out to Naya Rivera's family, friends, and fans, during this tragic time.