– Naya Rivera‘s former Glee costars are honoring the actress, who was pronounced dead by authorities days after she went missing at Laki Piru in Ventura County, CA.
– Heather Morris, who played Rivera’s love interest on the hit TV show, was reportedly seen at the lake with friends after offering to help in the investigation.
– Other stars including Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch, and Alex Newell shared their condolences after police identified Rivera’s body.
Stars of Glee are sharing their support and love for their former costar Naya Rivera, who was pronounced dead today after she went missing at California’s Lake Piru last week. The 33-year-old actress had gone swimming with her four-year-old son, Josey, at the lake on Wednesday but never returned. Her son was found safe but alone sleeping on the boat they had rented. Today, after days of searching, a body was recovered at the scene and authorities are “confident” it is Rivera’s.
Ever since the actress’s disappearance last week, fans, Glee viewers, and Rivera’s former cast mates have been sharing touching messages in her honor. The actress and singer starred as tough cheerleader Santana Lopez for six seasons on the hit TV series created by Ryan Murphy. Here are just some of the ways her costars have been paying tribute to her amid news of her passing.
Morris, who starred opposite Rivera as Santana’s best friend-turned-spouse Brittany, offered to help police with the investigation over the weekend. “I’m Nayas close friend and co-worker, and I’m trying to conduct an on foot search and rescue mission along with a small group of friends at Lake Piru,” she tweeted at the Ventura County sheriff on Sunday.
People also reported today that Morris was at the lake with friends. She was apparently spotted in footage from an ABC7 news report at the site, holding hands with a group by the water. Fans on social media believe the others include more Glee cast members, but that remains unconfirmed.
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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
The actress and Goop founder, who made recurring appearances on Glee as teacher Holly Holliday, shared a clip on Instagram of her singing “Landslide” with Rivera and Morris.
“Getting to sing in this trio with her was such a special moment,” Paltrow wrote in the caption. “I am in utter shock and disbelief that someone so full of life and passion and talent is no longer with us. And completely heart broken for her family.”
Known as Will Schuester (or Mr. Shue) on the series, Morrison wrote on Instagram that “Naya was a such a powerful force, in both her personal life and in her work.” He later added, “I’m confident that her positive influence will be continuously felt, and that her beautiful spirit will carry on in the lives of so many. I’m devastated by this immense loss.”
The actor who played ed Sam Evans on Glee remembered his first time meeting Rivera in his Instagram tribute. “You Walked straight up to me, grabbed me by the face and [dragged] me around until I met every single person on set, introducing me as ‘new booty,'” he wrote. “You were one of the first people who made me feel like family when others saw me as an outsider. I didn’t know then that you would become my family and that’s just who you were to everyone.”
Potter, who portrayed Becky Jackson on the show, tweeted a photo with Rivera and Morris from the series with the caption, “Cheerios Forever,” referring to the name of their onscreen cheer squad. In an earlier tweet following news of Rivera’s disappearance, Potter recalled how she had just spoken to her former costar on her birthday in May.
Cheerios Forever pic.twitter.com/eQoogTJmIv
— Lauren Potter (@TheLaurenPotter) July 14, 2020
RYAN MURPHY, BRAD FALCHUK, AND IAN BRENNAN
The trio who created Glee honored Rivera’s legacy in a public statement and announced they’re working on a college fund for her young son.
“She could nail a joke as well as she could crush you with an emotional scene,” they said in a statement, per NBC News. “She could move between being scary tough and deeply vulnerable with ease. She was a joy to write for, a joy to direct and a joy to be around.”
They also acknowledged the significance and legacy of Rivera’s character Santana and her onscreen love with Brittany (Heather Morris). “Naya always made sure that Santana’s love for Brittany was expressed with dignity, strength and with pure intentions,” Murphy, Falchuk, and Brennan added. “Naya was always moved by the girls who reached out to her to tell her how much Santana and Brittany’s love affected them.”
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Agron, who starred alongside Rivera as cheerleader Quinn Fabray, shared a behind-the-scenes photo with the actress and recalled their friendship both on the Glee set and beyond. In a loving Instagram caption, Agron revealed that she had been revisiting some of Rivera’s performances and fondly remembering their 36-hour trip to Paris. She called the star her “first friend and ally on our show” and praised “her work ethic, her fearlessness, her talent.”
“I cannot make sense of this tremendous loss,” Agron concluded. “I will hold onto her and these memories for the rest of time, alongside our Glee family. Please hold space for her, her family, her beautiful boy.”
The show’s official account shared a tribute to Rivera on Twitter. “Naya was a fierce talent with so much more to do and this is such a terrible tragedy,” the post began.
Naya was a fierce talent with so much more to do and this is such a terrible tragedy. We are forever grateful for the indelible contribution she made to GLEE, from the first episode to the last. Our hearts are broken and our thoughts go out to her family, friends and young son. pic.twitter.com/fV6BvQFZzJ
— GLEE (@OfficialGLEEtv) July 14, 2020
Criss, who played Blaine Anderson on the show, wrote that he was “gutted beyond description” over Rivera’s passing. “I was constantly moved by the degree to which she took care of her family, and how she looked out for her friends,” he shared via Twitter thread. “She showed up for me on numerous occasions where she didn’t have to, and I was always so grateful for her friendship then, as I certainly am now.”
She played by her own rules and was in a class of her own. She had a brashness about her that I couldn’t help but be enchanted by. I also always loved her voice, and savored every chance I got to hear her sing. I think she had more talent than we would have ever been able to see.
— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) July 14, 2020
And even as I sit here, struggling to comprehend, gutted beyond description- the very thought of her cracks me up and still brings a smile to my face. That was Naya’s gift.
And it's a gift that will never go away.
Rest in peace you wild, hilarious, beautiful angel.
— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) July 14, 2020
On Instagram, Riley, Glee‘s Mercedes Jones, shared a video of Rivera sweetly singing with her son. “My favorite duet partner,” Riley wrote. “I love you. I miss you. I don’t have words right now, just lots of feelings. Rest In Peace Angel, and know that your family will never have to worry about anything.”
Known as Artie on the series, McHale tweeted that he “legitimately can not imagine this world” without his friend and costar. He recalled how seven years prior, he and Rivera leaned on each other when they learned of Cory Monteith’s death and how just a week ago, he and the actress discussed going to Hawaii. Praising the actress’s talent and humor, he remembered how she would memorize monologues the morning before filming and would make him “[grow] an ab muscle from laughing so hard.” Read his whole thread here.
7 years ago today, she and I were together in London when we found out about Cory. We were so far away, but I was so thankful that we had each other. A week ago today we were talking about running away to Hawaii. This doesn’t make sense. And I know it probably never will.
— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
Later, McHale added, “I’m not religious by any means, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that Cory didn’t help find our girl today.”
I'm not religious by any means, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince me that Cory didn't help find our girl today. These 2, in many ways, were the male and female versions of one another. So nice, cared deeply, were stupidly talented, the most fun, and really really good people. https://t.co/qsvThOJxL7
— Kevin McHale (@druidDUDE) July 14, 2020
HARRY SHUM JR.
Shum, who flaunted his dance skills as Mike Chang on Glee, wrote a letter to Rivera in which he said he’s “failing miserably to process this news” of her death. “You deserved more,” he added. “I’m so sorry but you deserved more.”
— Harry Shum Jr (@HarryShumJr) July 14, 2020
The Supergirl star, who played Marley Rose on Glee, wrote of Rivera in an Instagram post, “There was an undeniable beauty that she radiated inside and out, and I consider myself incredibly lucky that I got to witness that up close even for the short period of time that I did. I was so intimidated by her, yet she had a way of disarming that just made you want to be around her, hear what she had to say (because it would undoubtedly be the sharpest and most real thing you would hear all day).”
Tobin, who later joined Glee as head cheerleader Kitty Wilde, recalled how Rivera welcomed her when she arrived midway through the show. “I joined the cast of Glee in the third season and as the newcomer, I was intimidated and terrified. The cast was already such a tight-knit group who had been working incredibly hard together for over three years to make it a hit show and I never expected any of them to have time for me. To my surprise, Naya, one of the most beloved by the rest of the cast (and the entire world), showed me instant warmth and kindness. She invited me to parties and gatherings and was always there to give advice.”
The actor who portrayed Jake Puckerman on the series remembered meeting Rivera for the first time. “I was a fish out of water and her warmth was disarming,” he tweeted. “For all her gifts as a performer she was also gifted as a person and made anyone feel seen and included.”
i was so intimided meeting naya for the first time. i was a fish out of water and her warmth was disarming. for all her gifts as a performer she was also gifted as a person and made anyone feel seen and included.
celebrating your mark on the world today🕊🤍 pic.twitter.com/h5lJ1pcCiW
— Jacob Artist (@jacobartist) July 14, 2020
The actress, who starred as Rachel Berry, shared black-and-white behind-the-scenes photos of Rivera, one of which included a group photo with other Glee stars. Michele also shared a photo of Cory Monteith, who passed away seven years ago today.
Colfer, who portrayed Kurt Hummel, shared a moving tribute to Rivera on Instagram. Posting a black and white photo with the late actress, he wrote, “Being close to her was both a badge of honor and a suit of armor. Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be. 💔 Sending all my love to her wonderful family and her beautiful son.”
“Naya, you were a ⚡️ force and everyone who got to be around you knew it and felt the light and joy you exuded when you walked into a room,” wrote Ushkowitz, who portrayed Tina Cohen-Chang on Glee.
“You shined on stage and screen and radiated with love behind closed doors,” she added, captioning a sweet photo with Rivera. “I was lucky enough to share so many laughs, martinis and secrets with you.”
The actress who played Coach Sue Sylvester on the series tweeted heartwarming words for Rivera. “Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family,” she wrote.
Rest sweet, Naya. What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) July 13, 2020
Newell, who joined Glee in 2012 as Unique Adams, posted an uplifting note with Rivera’s young son, Josey, in mind.
Now more than ever we must lift her family and friends up especially Josey! My heart is sent to them… Josey you are truly loved by every single person who loves your mommy! I love you Naya!
— Alex Newell (@thealexnewell) July 13, 2020
The actor who played football player David Karofsky expressed his sadness with emojis. He also referenced the significance of the date, which Monteith’s death anniversary.
— Max Adler (@Mr_Max_Adler) July 13, 2020
Hey, July 13th….🖕
— Max Adler (@Mr_Max_Adler) July 13, 2020
Sussman, who made brief appearances on the TV show as Jacob Ben Israel, wrote, “Naya, you will be missed so much.”
💔 Naya, you will be missed so much. 😞
— Josh Sussman (@JoshSussman) July 13, 2020
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.
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