Chita Rivera & Toby Keith
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Rivera, a Hispanic American dancer, singer, and actress who was the original star in some of Broadway’s most famed productions, died Jan. 30 aged 91. After growing up in Washington, D.C., and training as a ballerina, Rivera broke into the New York theater scene as a dancer in the original cast of Guys and Dolls. But her portrayal of Anita in the original 1957 Broadway production of West Side Story made her famous. She later starred opposite Dick Van Dyke in the stage version of Bye Bye Birdie (1960) and played a jailed nightclub singer in Chicago (1975). In all, she was nominated for a Tony 10 times and won twice for her work in The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
An oil-worker-turned-musician who sold more than 40 million country music albums, Keith died Feb. 5 after a battle with stomach cancer. He was 62. Keith, a prolific songwriter, got his big break when a flight attendant passed his demo to a Mercury Records executive. His single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” debuted in 1993, propelling him to stardom and providing a new soundtrack for Oklahoma State University Cowboys sporting events. Several of Keith’s 42 Top 10 hits reflected a proud patriotism, and he toured extensively with the USO in the Middle East. In September, the People’s Choice Country Awards honored him as a country music icon. Keith shared three children and several grandchildren with his wife of nearly 40 years.