In a press conference today, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Dept. confirmed the horrible news that they found Naya Rivera in Lake Piru. Naya drowned on July 8 during a boating trip with her 4-year-old son Josey Hollis Dorsey. She was only 33.
Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said in today’s press conference that they are confident the body they found at the surface of Lake Piru today is Naya Rivera’s. They will confirm confirm through dental records. Sheriff Bill said there were a lot of currents in Lake Piru that day and the boat may have started drifting while Naya and Josey were swimming. Naya was not wearing a life vest but her son was. Sheriff Bill then delivered a double punch to the soul by saying that Naya saved her son before drowning. via People:
“He and Naya swam in the lake together,” Ayub said. “It was during that time that her son described being helped onto the boat by Naya. … He told investigators he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water.”
After the Sheriff Dept. announced that they found a body at Lake Piru, Naya’s family and friends went to the lake to pay their respects to her. This tweet says that the picture is of the Glee cast, but Page Six says it’s a picture of Naya’s Glee co-star Heather Morris and Naya’s family. Whatever the case may be, it’s another double punch to the soul. (UPDATE: People Magazine says that along with Heather, Glee’s Kevin McHale, Amber Riley, and Chris Colfer are also in the pic)
This photo of the cast of #Glee gathering together at Lake Piru today where #NayaRivera’s body was found is incredibly powerful — especially when you consider today is the 7 year anniversary of Cory Monteith’s death. I’m a mess. pic.twitter.com/RhY9hUb78E
— Dave Quinn (@NineDaves) July 13, 2020
Naya Rivera was born in Santa Clarita, CA. And like some children who grew up in the Los Angeles area, including me, she got into the business that is show as a child. Naya’s mother Yolanda Rivera was a model and got her agent to represent Naya. While my Hollywood career peaked at me “modeling” in some hair show (and I’m pretty sure my mom paid to get me in), Naya did a little (read: a fucking lot) better than me by booking a KMart commercial as a baby. And things really started for Naya at the age of 4 when she got cast as a regular in the sitcom The Royal Family opposite THEE Redd Foxx, THEE Della Reese, and THEE Jackee Harry.
From there, Naya continued to regularly work and was in many TV shows like Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Baywatch, The Bernie Mac Show, Soul Food, 8 Simple Rules, Girlfriends, and CSI: Miami. And in 2009, Glee debuted and Naya became a TV STAH! Naya played cheerleader Santana Lopez and was recurring for season one, but Ryan Murphy probably figured out she was one of the best parts of the show, and she became a regular in season two. She was on the show until it ended with its six season. Some of the characters on Glee were more annoying than a smoke alarm’s low battery chirp, but not Santana. Santana was the voice of the wisdom, regularly checked a trick, and the role was pretty grounding since she was a popular girl who came out and ended up falling in love with her fellow cheerleader Brittany (played by Heather Morris).
People keep bringing up a “Glee curse” because Naya is the third cast member to die at a very young age. Seven years ago today, Cory Monteith died of an overdose at 31. Naya sang If I Die Young in the Glee episode dedicated to Cory. And in January 2018, Mark Salling died by suicide at 35 after he was arrested on child porn charges and was headed to prison after taking a plea deal.
After Glee ended, Naya guest-starred on Devious Maids and was in the Step-Up TV show for YouTube Red. Naya also got into music, putting out the song Sorry with her then-boyfriend and later fiance Big Sean.
Naya married Ryan Dorsey in July 2014. In September 2015, Naya gave birth to their son Josey. Naya and Ryan’s marriage was messy, with her getting arrested for domestic violence in 2017 (the charges were later dropped at Ryan’s request), and they were on-and-off until they divorced in June 2018.
I’m sure everyone is sharing some of Naya’s best Glee performances, but here’s a couple:
Rest in peace, Naya Rivera.