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Naya Rivera: 5 Best Performances On “Glee” As Santana Lopez

Naya Rivera

Naya Rivera

Movie lovers are still reeling from the tragic death of actress Naya Rivera who drowned in Lake Piru on July 8.

Her body was found floating in the northeast area of the lake yesterday, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said.

Authorities say that the 33-year-old’s body was most likely trapped in the vegetation under the lake for several days before floating to the top.


The deceased was a mother of one and on the day of her death, she had rented a pontoon and gone on the water with her son according to a security video released by the sheriff’s office.

Her son was later found alone and sleeping in the boat. He was wearing a life jacket with a second life jacket also found in the boat at around that day.

Authorities also believed she saved her son before she drowned.

“She must have mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself,” Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said at a news conference.

Her son told police they had gone swimming but the actress never returned.

Naya Rivera performing as Santana Lopez

Naya Rivera performing as Santana Lopez | Los Angeles Times

Rivera began her acting career at age four when she made her debut on the 1991 CBS sitcom “The Royal Family.”

The late star is best known for playing the cheerleader Santana Lopez in the hit series “Glee,” which ran on Fox from 2009 to 2015.

In tribute to the late screen star, we take a look at five of her best performances on “Glee” that brought millions of viewers across the globe so much glee.

If I Die Young

In light of her death, her performance of The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” is more poignant than ever.

In the show, Santana dedicated the song to character Finn Hudson, who was killed off screen following the tragic death of actor Cory Monteith in 2013. In the emotional performance, Naya sang:

“If I die young, bury me in satin, lay me down in a bed of roses.

“Sink me in the river at dawn, send me away with the words of a love song.”

The acoustic performance also included the lyrics:

“Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother

“She’ll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colours, oh and life ain’t always what you think it oughta be, no ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby.”

Don’t Rain On My Parade

Rivera’s character in “Glee,” Santana Lopez sang this song in the fifth season of the show. The episode is “Frenemies” and it features Barbra Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl.”  This performance sees Santanna leave Racheal stunned with her audition performance to be the latter’s understudy in a Broadway revival of “Funny Girl.” Santana’s rendition easily rivals Rachael’s.


Santana takes the centre stage in the “Special Education” episode of season two of “Glee.” Her talent shines bright at the Western Ohio Sectional Championship show choir competition where she leads the group to sing Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.”

‘Back to Black’

Santana’s smooth performance of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” in the “Funeral” episode of season two is her attempt to win a solo part ahead of the national show choir competition.

The Boy Is Mine

The viewers are introduced to Santana’s raw talent in this episode of the very first season of “Glee.” The episode “Laryngitis” sees a duet between her and Amber Riley who played the character of Mercedes. The duo competes for the affection of Mark Salling’s character, Puck with a cover of Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine.”

The “Glee” cast has been struck by tragedy before.

Actor Mark Salling took his own life in 2018, weeks before being sentenced for possession of child pornography.

Canadian castmate Cory Monteith died in July 2013 of an overdose of drugs and alcohol.

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