Broadway legend Chita Rivera released her memoir on April 25th. The book, called “Chita” (Harper One, written with Patrick Pacheco), regales readers with stories about her encounters with names from Bob Fosse and Leonard Bernstein to Gwen Verdon and Liza Minnelli. Rivera made an appearance on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to promote her bigger-than-life story.
“I’m really a very private person, and I just don’t like talking about myself,” the three-time Tony Award recipient told Berman and Riedel. “Finally, Patrick Pacheco talked me into it, and so I said it was time. You know what, it really is exciting when you go through the past, and you’re reminded of what you’ve done.”
Rivera, whose credits include being the original Anita in West Side Story and the original Velma in Chicago, also touches fondly upon her affair with another all-around entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr. “I learned to respect him so much, and I learned that a person could do so much, that he could do. I mean, he could sing, he could dance, he could play instruments, and I was a snob when I first heard he was going to do the show (Mister Wonderful). I went, ‘Sammy Davis Jr.? I mean, he’s not theatre; he’s nightclubs.’ And I learned that he was far more than that, and he was a fabulous human being.”
When pressed if she has any regrets, Rivera simply stated, “I honestly don’t think so, including the movie of West Side (which went instead to Rita Moreno). If I hadn’t done Bye-Bye Birdie, I never would’ve met Dick Van Dyke. I never would’ve had that wonderful experience of Bye-Bye Birdie. So, I have no regrets at all.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images