Remembering Naya Rivera's Career: Looking Back at 9 Of Her Most Memorable Roles
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Remembering Naya Rivera's Career: Looking Back at 9 Of Her Most Memorable Roles

Hollywood is grieving the loss of actress Naya Rivera, whose body was found on Monday. She first disappeared after renting a boat with her son in Lake at California’s Lake Piru. Officials have theorized that Rivera and her son were caught in a current. They believe she was able to grab him and put him on the boat before disappearing into the water.

In remembrance of Rivera, we’ve taken a look back at some of her career highlights:


Rivera is best known for her role as mean cheerleader Santana Lopez on FOX musical comedy Glee. She became a household name by starring in Glee throughout the series’ entire run from 2009 to 2015. Her character was also part of one of the few lesbian relationships on-screen, as Santana and fellow cheerleader Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris) routinely had a friends-with-benefits relationship before finally becoming a couple.

2. Devious Maids

After Glee, Rivera appeared as Blanca Alvarez on Lifetime’s primetime soap opera, Devious Maids. Blanca had high aspirations, including plans for attending college, but in a fatal twist of fate, was framed for murder.

3. The Bernie Mac Show

Throughout The Bernie Mac Show‘s run between 2002 and 2006, Rivera starred in a recurring role as Donna, friend to Bernie Mac’s niece Vanessa (Camille Winbush). Donna initially became friends with Vanessa after hearing her uncle’s comedy on the radio, and afterward, the two traversed the ups and downs of high school life together.

4. Girlfriends

After The Bernie Mac Show, Rivera starred in an episode of Girlfriends, “Stand and Deliver,” as Karin, one of the students Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) interacts with when she tries to read them a letter from her husband and the students’ teacher, Aaron (Richard T. Jones), who was deployed to Iraq. As the episode’s title suggests, the class is one of the archetypal hard-to-reach classes found in many school dramas, and Joan has to jump through hoops in order to get the students to pay attention to her. Once she does, she realizes that the reason they seem “bad” is because no one seems to care about them except for Aaron, who can’t be with them.

5. The Royal Family

One of Rivera’s early child roles was starring as Hillary Winston, the youngest grandchild of Victoria Royal (Della Reese) and Alfonso Royal (Redd Foxx) in the short-lived sitcom The Royal Family. The series only lasted for two years and was Foxx’s last starring role.

6. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Rivera starred in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Bundle of Joy,” in which the Banks family imagines what Vivian’s new baby will be like once it arrives. Hilary (Karyn Parsons) imagines the child as Cindy (Rivera), a girl she can use as her personal assistant.

7. Family Matters

Rivera had a three-episode guest role on Family Matters as Gwendolyn, a young girl who has a crush on Harriette (Jo Marie Payton) and Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) Winslow’s nephew Richie Crawford (Bryton McClure).

8. Soul Food 

Rivera played Lauryn in multiple episodes Showtime’s Soul Food, the television adaptation of the classic Black film.

9. Step Up: High Water

Rivera’s last starring role was as Collette Jones in YouTube Red’s Step Up: High Water. Collette is the head of High Water Dance Academy, and even though she is a leader of her students, she constantly finds herself in drama. Rivera was set to return to lead the third season of the show when it moves to Starz next year.



‘Glee’ Star Naya Rivera Dead At 33, Officials Confirm


Photo: Fox/Warner Bros Tv

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