Stars pay tribute to Chita Rivera after her death at 91

Broadway legend Chita Rivera died on January 30, one week after her 91st birthday. Her daughter, Lisa Mordente, announced Rivera's death in a statement but gave no further details, The New York Times reported.

The ten-time Tony Award nominee has created a string of classic stage roles, from Velma in Chicago to Anita in the first West Side Story . She won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical twice, for "The Rink" in 1984 and "Kiss of the Spider Woman" in 1993 .

Rivera became the first Latina woman to receive a Kennedy Center Honor in 2002. In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2018 she received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Rivera's fans, many of them A-listers, quickly turned to social media to celebrate the actor's life.

Tribute to "West Side Story" and "Chicago Star"

Rachel Zegler, who plays Maria in the 2021 film adaptation of West Side Story, shared a photo with Rivera on X (formerly Twitter). "To the woman who showed me I could do it, and who believed in me when I did it, I miss you already," she wrote. "RIP Chita."

She went on to tell the story of seeing Rivera in the Broadway show "The Mysteries of Edwin Drood" when Ziegler was a teenager. "That's Anita. I've played Anita to death from the original cast album of West Side Story ," she wrote.

Seven years later, they met on the set of the West Side Story remake. "Chita looked at me and said, 'You're so silly and cute,'" Ziegler added on X, "Life is made."

Lynne Ross, Chita Rivera and Carmen Guiterres in the original Broadway production of "West Side Story." John Springer Collection/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Ariana DeBose, who played Anita opposite Zegler in the 2021 film, posted a touching tribute on Instagram. "She was a force. In fact, she made me nervous," she wrote. "Her greatness was just there to see in front of her. I always felt like she had big expectations, but nothing bigger than the expectations she had for herself."

Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the first 1961 film adaptation of "West Side Story , " called Rivera "timeless" in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.

" I remember seeing her for the first time in Mister Fantastic and exclaiming, 'Oh my God, who is that?'" she wrote. "Over the years we have sometimes been mistaken for each other, and I have always considered it a badge of honor. She is the essence of Broadway. As I write this, I raise a glass to this remarkable woman and friend."

Rita Moreno visits Chita Rivera during the Broadway show of "Chita Rivera: A Dancer's Life" on January 9, 2006 in New York City. Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Actor Debbie Allen, who played Anita in the 1980 Broadway revival, shared a photo of herself with Rivera on X, calling her "my mentor, My friend, our inspiration and goddess of joy”.

Catherine Zeta-Jones, who won an Oscar for her role as Velma in the 2002 film adaptation of "Chicago," in which Rivera also guest-starred, shared a tribute on Instagram Feelings. "There are no words to describe what an incredible impact you have had on my life," she wrote. "From dreaming of being you as a kid, to meeting you, to forming a deep connection with you by playing Chicago's one and only Velma Kelly. There will never, ever be anyone like you Chita, ever."

Broadway Fans and Stars Honor Rivera

"Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda called her a "Puerto Rican trailblazer" on Instagram and shared the story of how she came to appear in his film "Tick, Tick... Boom!" .

"When we were shooting the restaurant scene, she wasn't available for the shoot, so I left an empty chair in the restaurant for three days," he wrote. "Eight months later, while we were reshooting, she joined us and held court all day long. It's still one of the greatest joys of my life. She was great. She was amazing, she just wasn't ready for the past tense state."

Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth shared what she thinks of Rivera. "It was just you. Then everyone else," she wrote. "I respect you and will always admire your talents and especially as a person! You are an amazing woman. The rest of us want to be you."

Oscar-nominated actor Colman Domingo paid tribute, writing: "A wonderful life. An icon. A friend. Well done Chita Rivera."

Chita Rivera performs at the Chicago 10th Anniversary Gala in New York City. James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images

Only "Murder in the Building" actor Jackie Hoffman has a special memory. "My personal experience with Chita Rivera is that when she came to Hairspray she said to me: You are so funny," she said.

Rivera's "The Rink" co-star and "Seinfeld" actor Jason Alexander posted a photo with Rivera , calling her "one of the greatest spirits and colleagues" he's ever known. . "She set the standard in every way," he wrote. "I will cherish her forever. Dance in heaven, my friend."

Mia Farrow calls her a 'true Broadway icon' and shares throwback photo "No one who had the privilege of seeing any of her performances will ever forget the experience," she said. "Thank you to the great and irreplaceable Chita Rivera."

Star Trek actor George Takei, who stars in the musical Allegiant , posted a photo of the last time he saw Rivera, when he visited her backstage at a show. "A legend on the stage," he wrote. "What a pure force of talent and energy. She will be truly, truly missed. Now dance among the stars, Chita."