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Naya Rivera

Naya Rivera (1987–2020), actress who starred as Santana Lopez in “Glee”

by Linnea Crowther

Naya Rivera was an actress best known for her role as Santana Lopez in the hit musical TV series “Glee.”

  • Died: July 8, 2020 (Who else died on July 8?)
  • Details of death: Died by drowning in Fillmore, California at the age of 33. Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed her death at a press conference on July 13. Her body was disovered seven years to the day her “Glee” co-star Cory Monteith died from a drug overdose.
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A lifetime on television

Rivera was featured in commercials for Kmart when she was a baby, and her first television role came when she was just 4 years old, appearing in the short-lived sitcom “The Royal Family.” She had small roles in popular series including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Family Matters,” and “Baywatch,” and she had a recurring role on “The Bernie Mac Show.” In 2009, Rivera landed the role that would make her famous, playing the mean-girl cheerleader Santana Lopez on “Glee.” She became a series regular in the second season, with solo performances and opportunities for her character to grow, including her coming out story as a lesbian. After “Glee,” Rivera starred in the YouTube Red series “Step Up: High Water.” Rivera had a brief music career that included the 2013 Top 40 track “Sorry,” featuring Big Sean.

Rivera reminiscing about “Glee”

“I’m so blessed to have been a part of such an amazing show. I’ve made lifelong friends, grew in my craft, and made some of the most beautiful memories because of Glee.” —from a 2019 Instagram post

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What they said about her

Full Obituary: E! Online

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