Chita Rivera: A Career Retrospective

Happy birthday, Chita Rivera! The legendary Broadway star, who was born in Washington, D.C. in 1933, turns 81 today. In honor of Chita's birthday, we're highlighting some of the biggest and most inspirational moments throughout her career. Take a look:

1. 1957

West Side Story

In 1957, Chita was cast for the role of Anita in the Broadway version of West Side Story. Although the role would later bring fame and an Oscar to fellow Puerto Rican, Rita Moreno, for the 1961 film version -- it was clear Chita was destined to be a Broadway star after her portrayl.

2. 1960s: Recorded an album

And Now She Sings

In the 1960s, Chita hit the studio to record her first album Chita Rivera: And Now I Sing and the hit single "Get Me to the Church on Time."

3. 1975


The year was 1975 when Chita appeared as Velma Kelly as part of the original cast of the musical Chicago.

4. 1984

Tony Award

In 1984, Chita starred alongside Liza Minnelli in The Rink. She won her first Tony Award for her role as Anna in the musical.

5. 1993

Tony Award: The Sequel

Chita portrayed Aurora in the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman, and it was for this role that she would go on to receive her second Tony Award in 1993, for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.

6. 2002

The First

In 2002, Chita became the first Hispanic woman to receive a Kennedy Center Honors award.

7. 2009

Medal of Freedom

In August 2009, Chita was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.