About one month following the death of her Glee co-star Naya Rivera, Jane Lynch appeared on the Today Show Wednesday (August 12) with Jenna Bush Hager to talk about what she remembered of her late co-star.
Lynch said that Rivera was widely regarded as a “force of nature” on the set of the Fox series, and that she perhaps never received the kind of credit for her talent that she deserved. “I think that one of the things that kind of got lost when we were doing the show was what a force she was because there were so many talented people,” she said. “She was one of those people. She wasn’t in every scene, but when she was … she just blew everybody away.”
Back in July, Rivera was reported as missing after her son was found on a boat that the actress had rented at Lake Piru in Southern California. Four days later, a body was found in the lake, and police confirmed that it was 33-year-old Rivera. “It’s just gut-wrenching and heartbreaking that she’s gone,” Lynch said in her interview.
Along with being a good friend, Lynch also pointed to Rivera’s portrayal of Santana Lopez and her lesbian relationship with Brittany Pierce (played by actress Heather Morris) as an example of the star’s work to properly represent the LGBTQ community. “She was a great advocate and loved the fact that she and Heather Morris had the lesbian relationship on the show and how much that meant to so many young people,” she said.
Lynch also remembered Rivera’s friendly nature on the set, to both the other actors and the crew — including Lynch’s niece. “My niece Megan [Doyle, who worked as an assistant on Glee] was very close with Naya, and Megan always said that with Naya you felt like somebody had your back,” she said. “She was somebody who wasn’t going to let anybody mess with you.”
Check out the clip of Jane Lynch remembering Naya Rivera on Today below.