Born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero in Washington, D.C., Chita Rivera has had a successful career as an actress, dancer, and singer - and is best known for her roles in musical theater.
Rivera's father was a clarinetist and saxophonist for the United States Navy Band. He was Puerto Rican and her mother was of Scottish and Italian descent.
In 1944, Rivera's mother enrolled her in the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet (now the Jones Haywood School of Dance). Later, when she was 15, a teacher from George Balanchine's School of American Ballet visited their studio and Rivera was one of two students picked to audition in New York City. She was accepted into the school and given a scholarship.
In 1952, Rivera accompanied a friend to the audition for a Broadway production of Call Me Madam and ended up winning the role herself. She followed this by landing roles in other Broadway productions such as Guys and Dolls and Can-Can.
In 1957, she was cast in the role which was destined to make her a Broadway star, the firebrand Anita in West Side Story. (Rita Moreno stared in the 1961 film version).
Rivera also starred in a national tour of Can-Can and played the role of Nicky in the film adaptation of Sweet Charity with Shirley MacLaine.
In 1963, Rivera was cast opposite Alfred Drake in Zenda. In 1975 she appeared as Velma Kelly in the original cast of the musical Chicago.
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In 1986, Rivera 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 twelve places, requiring eighteen screws and two braces to mend. After rehabilitation, Rivera continued to perform on stage.
She appeared in a filmed for the television version of the musical Pippin in 1981, as "Fastrada." In 1993, she received a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Aurora in the Tony-award winning musical Kiss of the Spider Woman. Rivera starred in the Goodman Theatre production of the Kander and Ebb musical The Visit as "Claire Zachanassian in 2001.
|With Gwen Verdon in Chicago.|
In November 2009, Rivera released a new album titled, And Now I Swing to rave reviews.
For more about Chita, visit her Website at -