“Glee” Co-Stars, Celebrities, & Fans Share Tributes To Naya Rivera
Many people expressed how much Rivera’s character Santana, an openly queer cheerleader, meant to them on the hit series “Glee.”
Fans, celebrities, and former “Glee” co-stars are paying tribute to Naya Rivera in the wake of her tragic death.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Monday that authorities recovered the body of the 33-year-old actor and singer in Lake Piru after a six-day search. Rivera had rented a pontoon boat on the Southern California lake for her and her 4-year-old son, Josey, on July 8.
When her rental time was up, a leasing agent found the boat drifting on the lake, with Josey asleep and alone. All of Rivera’s belongings were on the boat, and an adult-sized life vest likely intended for Rivera was also onboard.
Josey told officials that he and his mom had gone swimming, and that Rivera had helped him onto the boat. But when he turned around, he said, he saw her going underwater. Sheriff Bill Ayub said Rivera “mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.” He also said there was no indication of foul play or suicide.
Following Rivera’s tragic death, several “Glee” stars and fans gave heartfelt tributes to the actor, who for six seasons played Santana Lopez, an openly queer cheerleader on the musical show.
Rivera’s death was confirmed by authorities on July 13, which is also the seven-year anniversary of her “Glee” co-star Cory Monteith’s death. Monteith died in 2013 of an accidental heroin and alcohol overdose. He was 31.
Lea Michele, who played one of the series’ main characters, Rachel Berry, shared a tribute to both Monteith and Rivera in an Instagram story with black and white photos. Michele was dating Monteith at the time of his death.
Heather Morris, an actor who played cheerleader Brittany S. Pierce and Santana’s love interest for most of the series, was in contact with authorities throughout the search for Rivera, she said on Twitter.
Other “Glee” actors posted their own tributes for Rivera:
Jane Lynch, who played Sue Sylvester:
Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel:
View this post on Instagram
How can you convey all your love and respect for someone in one post? How can you summarize a decade of friendship and laughter with words alone? If you were friends with Naya Rivera, you simply can’t. Her brilliance and humor were unmatched. Her beauty and talent were otherworldly. She spoke truth to power with poise and fearlessness. She could turn a bad day into a great day with a single remark. She inspired and uplifted people without even trying. Being close to her was both a badge of honor and a suit of armor. Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be. 💔 Sending all my love to her wonderful family and her beautiful son.
Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones:
Alex Newell, who played Wade “Unique” Adams:
Now more than ever we must lift her family and friends up especially Josey! My heart is sent to them... Josey you are truly loved by every single person who loves your mommy! I love you Naya!— Alex Newell (@thealexnewell) July 13, 2020
Harry Shum Jr., who played Mike Chang:
Kevin McHale, who played Artie Abrams:
7 years ago today, she and I were together in London when we found out about Cory. We were so far away, but I was so thankful that we had each other. A week ago today we were talking about running away to Hawaii. This doesn’t make sense. And I know it probably never will.— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
Kristin Chenoweth, who guest-starred on “Glee”:
Demi Lovato, who guest-starred on “Glee,” playing Rivera’s girlfriend:
RIP Naya Rivera. I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee. The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted (at the time) queer girls like me, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world. pic.twitter.com/oCML03M9Kw— Team Demi (@ddlovato) July 14, 2020
Many people and advocacy organizations commented on the positive impact of Rivera’s character Santana on the LGBTQ+ community, also noting Rivera’s own contributions:
Naya Rivera will be missed so much by so many. She was a friend of GLAAD and even hosted the GLAAD Media Awards twice. She was kind, gracious, and personally used her platforms and voice to tell LGBTQ youth that they are loved. Our hearts are with her loved ones.💔 pic.twitter.com/FBL2wy6PQm— GLAAD (@glaad) July 13, 2020
naya rivera. didn’t realize the impact u had on my life growing up, being the first poc, lgbtq character i saw on screen. i grew up listening to u sing, being inspired by the girl on glee who looks like me & is unapologetically herself. you changed so many lives. rest easy angel.— Bryana Salaz (@bryanasalaz) July 13, 2020
make fun of glee all you want but that show changed so many peoples lives. naya changed so many young girls lives by playing santana so beautifully and truthfully. today is so fucking painful for an entire generation that watched that show and felt a little less alone— jc (@captnmarvl) July 13, 2020
santana lopez saved my life. she was the first explicitly canon lesbian character i ever saw and was the reason i realised that i was into girls. naya rivera was a part of my entire childhood, me becoming comfortable in who i am, and the fact that she’s gone is breaking me— phee ミ☆ (@dykeaIvarez) July 13, 2020
as a closeted queer kid, santana is the only representation i remember having. naya rivera was so so important to me. i know i’m not alone, and i hope she knew how many people felt this way.— “rachel” (@rachellobaugh) July 10, 2020
i’ve been looking for words all day, but this is all i have for now. just... devastated. pic.twitter.com/OswMTFQ84x
THIS was the scene that changed my life. Naya made it feel so real & genuine. I used to watch this on repeat as a young closeted lesbian so that I would feel less alone. I knew that if I came out, I would be disowned/kicked out. Thank you naya rivera. I love you. pic.twitter.com/4yS2udEYpY— nadia ツ (@fineIinelesbian) July 13, 2020