Glee actor, Naya Rivera (33), who played the character of a singer and a gay cheerleader on the hit TV musical comedy, was found dead on Monday in a Southern California lake. The Glee actor’s body was discovered six days after she disappearing on Lake Piru, where her son, Josey, was found July 8 alone on a boat the two had rented, said the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. Naya Rivera acting journey began at a young age, but the aspiring actor rose to national attention playing the lesbian teen on Glee.
Condolences pour in for late Naya Rivera
Production house 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment released a statement earlier saying, “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.”
Glee actor Jane Lynch tweeted, “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were,” . 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.”
Rivera’s acting career began at just 4 years old, she appeared in the popular comedy sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters and The Bernie Mac Show. During her teenage years, the actor struggled with an eating disorder and had breast implants put in at 18 (“a confidence thing, not a sexual thing.”).
“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.
Before her shot to fame in the musical comedy, Glee, Rivera worked odd jobs as a nanny, waitress and telemarketer and also as for Abercrombie & Fitch. Her star role in Glee, as the nasty cheerleader character, led to her featuring as regular in the second season as she struggled to reveal Santana Lopez’s sexual identity.
“Honestly, I never thought I’d actually be playing a teen lesbian,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 2011. “I didn’t think it was going to go this far. But I’m glad that it did, because there have been a lot of fans who have expressed that they’ve been going through similar situations in their lives. I’ve heard from girls that are in high school, they’re 16, 17, and they’re like, ‘I came out to my mom,’ or ‘I came out to my friends, and thank you for helping me do that.’”
Naya Rivera is survived by her parents, Yolanda and George; a younger brother, Mychal; a sister, Nickayla; and her 4-year-old son.
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