Chita Rivera

Actor, Dancer, Singer
Dynamic Latina dancer-singer-actress, a staple of Broadway musicals for four decades. Shortly after studying for several years at George Balanchine's American School of Ballet, Rivera made her Broadway debut in "Call Me ... Read more »
Born: 01/23/1933 in Washington, Washington D.C., USA

Filmography

Actor (46)

Kalamazoo? 2014 (Movie)

Giannina (Actor)

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life 2012 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

The 33rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors 2010 - 2011 (TV Show)

Performer

Broadway: The Golden Age 2004 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

The 58th Annual Tony Awards 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Chicago 2002 (Movie)

Nickie (Actor)

My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Dick Van Dyke: Put on a Happy Face 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Shirley MacLaine: This Time Around 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Fosse: The E! True Hollywood Story 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The 53rd Annual Tony Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The Kennedy Center Honors 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

A Walk Down 42nd Street With David Hartman 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Music of Kander and Ebb: Razzle Dazzle 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Broadway '97: Launching the Tonys 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The 47th Annual Tony Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

America's Dance Honors 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Night of 100 Stars III 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Celebrating Gershwin 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The 42nd Annual Tony Awards 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Broadway Sings: The Music of Jule Styne 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The 41st Annual Tony Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The 40th Annual Tony Awards 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The 39th Annual Tony Awards 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The Night of 100 Stars II 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The 38th Annual Tony Awards 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

Broadway Plays Washington! 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

The George Burns Special 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

The Stars and Stripes Show 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

The New Dick Van Dyke Show 1973 - 1974 (Tv Show)

Actor

Sweet Charity 1969 (Movie)

Nickie (Actor)

Mayflower Madam (TV Show)

Actor

Pippin (Movie)

Fastrada (Actor)

The 69th Annual Tony Awards (TV Show)

Performer

The Golden Eagle Awards (TV Show)

Actor

The Marcus-Nelson Murders (TV Show)

Actor
Music (1)

Think Like a Man Too 2014 (Movie)

("Big Spender") (Song Performer)

Biography

Dynamic Latina dancer-singer-actress, a staple of Broadway musicals for four decades. Shortly after studying for several years at George Balanchine's American School of Ballet, Rivera made her Broadway debut in "Call Me Madam" (1952). A sinuous dancer very much in the vein standardized by Jerome Robbins and later Bob Fosse, Rivera brought her fiery energy to many Broadway and regional productions, including originating the role of Anita in "West Side Story" (1959), "Can Can", "Mr. Wonderful", "Bye, Bye Birdie" (as Spanish Rose), "Shinebone Alley", "Chicago" (as Velma), "Merlin", "Jerry's Girls" and a Tony-winning turn opposite Liza Minnelli in "The Rink". Although she has had her fair share of shows which quickly closed ("Bajour", "Bring Back Birdie"), Rivera has typically been worth watching.

Relationships

Katherine Anderson del Rivero

Mother
died in 1983

Pedro Figueroa

Father
played clarinet and saxophone died when Rivera was seven

Anthony Mordente

Husband
married December 1, 1957

Lisa Mordente

Daughter

EDUCATION

Taft High School

Bronx , New York

School of American Ballet

New York , New York
attended on scholarship between the ages of 14 and 17; school run by George Balanchine

Milestones

2005

Headlined "Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life"; earned a Tony nomination

2001

Reunited with Kander & Ebb to headline the musical "The Visit"; opened in Chicago in October

2001

Had rare dramatic role on stage in the play "Venecia", adapted and staged by Arthur Laurents

2001

Starred in the stage musical "Casper"

2000

Starred in the Paper Mill Playhouse revival of "Anything Goes"

1999

Headlined a Las Vegas production of "Chicago" playing role of Roxie Hart

1993

Returned to Broadway after a seven-year absence to play the title role in the musical version of "Kiss of the Spider Woman", book by McNally and score by Kander & Ebb; had originated role in London; received second Tony Award

1987

Appeared in rare dramatic role on primetime TV in a supporting role in the CBS TV-movie, "Mayflower Madam", starring Candice Bergen

1986

Was in a severe accident when her car collided with a taxi on West 86th Street in Manhattan; injuries sustained included the breaking of her left leg in 12 places

1984

Earned first Tony Award for portrayal of the owner of the titular establishment in "The Rink", book by Terrence McNally and score by Kander & Ebb

1983

Played the Queen in the musical "Merlin", starring magician Doug Henning

1981

Reprised role of Rosie in the short-lived flop sequel "Bring Back Birdie"

1978

Made a guest cameo appearance along with many other stars in the teen rock'n'roll musical, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

1975

With Gwen Verdon, headlined the Bob Fosse-John Kander-Fred Ebb musical vaudeville "Chicago"; cast as "merry murderess" Velma Kelly

1973

Played a dramatic role in the TV-movie, "The Marcus-Nelson Murders", a pilot for the series, "Kojak"

1972

Had rare non-singing stage role in Philadelphia production of "Born Yesterday"

1968

Feature film acting debut, as Nickie in the film version of the Broadway musical, "Sweet Charity"

1967

Toured USA and Canada in title role of "Sweet Charity"

1964

Had leading role in "Bajour", choreographed by Michael Bennett

1960

Co-starred as Rosie in the hit Broadway musical "Bye Bye Birdie"; also reprised role in London in 1961

1957

Breakthrough stage role, Anita in "West Side Story"; reprised part in London production in 1958

1955

Appeared in the ensemble of the Off-Broadway show "The Shoestring Revue"; for three days billed as Chita O'Hara before adopting current stage name

1953

Was briefly featured in "Guys and Dolls" before moving to the chorus of "Can-Can"

1952

Performed in the national touring show of "Call Me Madam", first with Ethel Merman, then Elaine Stritch in lead role; billed as Conchita del Rivero

Appeared in nightclubs around the USA

Last Broadway show for seven years, "Jerry's Girls", a revue spotlighting the music of Jerry Herman

Appeared on "The New Dick Van Dyke Show" in a recurring role as Connie Richardson, who, along with husband Richard (played by Richard Dawson), was the next-door neighbor to Van Dyke's character

Was active on TV variety shows of the late 1950s and early 1960s; also made occasional dramatic appearances on such anthology shows as "The Outer Limits" (as Mrs. Dame in the episode, "The Bellero Shield")

Bonus Trivia

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Rivera has also been nominated for Tonys for Best Featured (Supporting) Actress in a Musical for "Bye, Bye, Birdie" (1961) and for Best Actress in a Musical for "Chicago" (1976), "Bring Back Birdie" (1981, which opened March 5 and closed March 7), "Merlin" (1983), and "Jerry's Girls" (1986).

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