Naya Rivera Dead at 33, Body Recovered From Lake Piru

After several days of searching, Naya Rivera’s body has been recovered from the California lake where she went missing.

Ventura County officials said Monday that a body had been found at the lake. Law enforcement sources have confirmed to TMZ that it is, in fact, her.

A press conference sharing the news publicly is forthcoming.

via TMZ:

Law enforcement sources tell us that Ventura County’s search and rescue crews recovered the “Glee” actress’ body Monday morning … 5 days after she went missing in the water.

As we reported … Naya and her 4-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, were swimming in Lake Piru when something terrible happened. Josey got back in the boat and when authorities arrived for a check, he told them he and his mom were swimming and he didn’t know what happened to her.

Naya made a name for herself as a child actress and model, who appeared in various national TV commercials. She landed the role of Hillary Winston on “The Royal Family” at just 4 years old. She received a nomination for a Young Artist Award.

Naya’s big break came in 2009 when she landed the role of Santana Lopez on the FOX hit series, “Glee.” She was a talented singer … signing with Columbia Records in 2011. That same year … she was part of the “Glee” ensemble nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

In 2013, she released a single, “Sorry,” featuring Big Sean, whom she dated and was briefly engaged to in 2013, before ending the relationship in 2014.

Naya later dated Josey’s father, actor Ryan Dorsey, marrying him in Cabo San Lucas in July 2014. They divorced in 2018 and had been sharing custody of Josey.

She was also no stranger to the big screen … making her debut in 2014 in the horror film “At the Devil’s Door.” She also appeared on Lifetime’s “Devious Maids.”


Body of Naya Rivera Reportedly Recovered from California Lake [via TooFab]

A search for the actress began after her son was found alone, sleeping in a boat on California’s Lake Piru.

The body of Naya Rivera, the actress best known for her work as Santana Lopez on “Glee,” has been recovered, law enforcement sources told TMZ.

A formal press conference will be held later today.

The discovery comes after the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department searched the area in and around Lake Piru in California, where Rivera rented a pontoon boat with her 4-year-old son Josey on Tuesday, July 8. The boy was later found alone, asleep on the boat in “good condition.”

According to authorities, the two had gone swimming but she didn’t get back on the boat. He was wearing a life jacket, she was not.

“Glee” costar Jane Lynch was one of the first to share their condolences on social media after the discovery. “Rest sweet, Naya,” she wrote, “What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.”

Max Adler, who played Dave Karofsky on the series, also reacted with a series of heartbroken emojis.

Dwyane Wade tweeted, “Rest in Heaven.”

Rivera, 33, got her start as a child actress, first starring on CBS’ short-lived sitcom “The Royal Family” before making appearances on “Family Matters,” “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Baywatch.” After a stint on “The Bernie Mac Show,” she got her big break with “Glee.”

While Santana began as more of a background character, she began to appear more frequently on the show, before becoming a series regular in Season 2. Santana became a fan favorite, especially among LGBTQ+ viewers, after she came out as a lesbian and began dating her best friend, Brittany S. Pierce (Heather Morris).

In addition to her work on “Glee,” Rivera also appeared on “Devious Maids” and was starring on “Step Up: High Water” at the time of her death. The show, which initially aired on YouTube Red, was picked up in 2020 for a third season on Starz. It’s unclear whether the show will continue without her.

Rivera released a single, “Sorry,” with Big Sean in 2013, though a full record never materialized. She and Sean got engaged that same year, before calling it off in 2014. She wound up keeping her wedding date, however, and married Ryan Dorsey that day instead. They welcomed son Josey in 2015, before on-and-off divorce proceedings from 2016-2018, when it was finalized.

She also appeared in the films “At the Devil’s Door” and “Mad Families” and released the memoir “Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up” in 2016.

In the book, she revealed for the first time she was pregnant with Dorsey’s child in 2010, but got an abortion to put her career — which was taking off on “Glee” — first. She also spoke about her strained relationship with costar Lea Michele on the series and vandalizing ex-boyfriend Mark Salling’s car after he cheated on her.

Her death makes Rivera the third series regular from “Glee” to die since the show’s debut. Corey Monteith died at the age of 31 from an alcohol and heroin overdose in 2013, while the show was still on the air. His death occurred seven years to the day Rivera’s body was recovered.

Mark Salling committed suicide at the age of 35 in 2018, after he was found guilty of possession of child pornography.

Share This Post