Naya Rivera has died at age 33 after drowning in Lake Piru, California, where she had gone on a boating trip with her four-year-old son, Josey Dorsey. Rivera was reported missing on Wednesday, July 8 after Josey was found alone in their rental boat. On Monday, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department confirmed that recovery teams had found her body after a five-day search.
(Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for Libertine)
The actress — of Puerto Rican, African American, and German descent — is the daughter of George and Yolanda Rivera, and was born in California. She began her career as a child actress and model, and has said that her mother, a former model, got her into showbusiness. At age four she made her television debut, playing Hillary Winston on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family. She played various small roles as a teenager before her big break in 2009, when she landed the role of Santana Lopez on Fox's musical dramedy Glee. She earned much praise for her portrayal of Lopez, a witty (and sometimes snobby) high-school cheerleader who realizes she's gay after she falls in love with her best friend.
(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Rivera also starred as Blanca — a young maid framed for a murder she didn't commit — in the third season of Lifetime's popular series Devious Maids. She made her big screen debut in 2014 in the horror film At the Devil's Door and was briefly signed to Columbia Records as a singer, releasing the single "Sorry" with rapper Big Sean in 2013. In 2016, Rivera debuted as an author with her memoir Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up, where she recounted her romances with rapper Big Sean and her late Glee co-star Mark Salling, who committed suicide in 2018. She also wrote candidly about having an abortion during her relationship with actor Ryan Dorsey.
(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
In 2014, Rivera married Dorsey, and they welcomed their son, Josey, in 2015. The couple divorced in 2018, having shared custody of their son. After the actress was reported missing on July 8, the 36-year-old actor joined her parents at Lake Piru in the frantic search for Rivera.
A post shared by Naya Rivera (@nayarivera) on May 28, 2020 at 12:40pm PDT
Her death came as shock to loved ones and fans around the world. In late May, the actress shared her excitement over a new work project, a new series inspired by the Step Up movie franchise. "We're going to bring it like never before!" she wrote on Instagram.
A post shared by Naya Rivera (@nayarivera) on Jul 7, 2020 at 3:15pm PDT
Rivera's last post on Instagram was a tender photo of her kissing her son, captioned "just the two of us."