Jane Lynch Remembers Her Glee Costar Naya Rivera a Month After Her Death: 'A Force of Nature'
The late Glee actress died last month in an accidental drowning during a trip to a California lake with her 4-year-old son
While appearing on the Today show on Wednesday, Lynch, 60, shared her thoughts on Rivera, who died last month in an accidental drowning during a trip to a California lake with her 4-year-old son, Josey.
"She was a force of nature, and it's just gut-wrenching and heartbreaking that she's gone," Lynch said.
"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," Lynch added. "She was one of those people. She wasn’t in every scene, but when she was she just blew everybody away."
Rivera starred on the hit Fox television series as sassy cheerleader Santana Lopez while Lynch played alongside her as William McKinley High School cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester.
As @janemarielynch fills in for Hoda as guest co-host with Jenna, she remembers her late “Glee” co-star Naya Rivera with a moving tribute, saying she was a great advocate and a force of nature. pic.twitter.com/Z479g9L1fX— TODAY with Hoda & Jenna (@HodaAndJenna) August 12, 2020
During her time on the morning show, Lynch also touched upon Rivera's acting talents, including her ability to steal a scene with her impressive take on the show's script.
"I had three-page monologues, so did she," the Hollywood Game Night host shared. "It took me a week to get mine, she would do them right off the bat. And they would be changing them and she had no problem with it."
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JC Olivera/WireImage;Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic Jane Lynch; Naya Rivera
Lynch also revealed that Rivera's role on the show, where she played a lesbian who came to terms with her sexuality over the run of the series, was as important to her as it was to Glee fans, who saw Rivera as an LGTBQ trailblazer.
"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," Lynch added.
The actress then shared that Rivera was also a friend of her niece, Meg Doyle, who worked as an assistant on the Glee set.
"My niece Megan was very close with Naya, and Megan always said that with Naya you felt like somebody had your back," Lynch said. "She was somebody who wasn't going to let anybody mess with you."
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PLUS: Rivera’s ex Ryan Dorsey "can't imagine raising Josey without" her
Doyle previously remembered her friend in an emotional Instagram post last month, where she wrote that Rivera, "took me under her wing" and "brought me into her crew."
"It didn’t matter that I was a lowly assistant at the time," Doyle added. "When I think of my first four years in Los Angeles, I think of Naya. Being in Naya’s presence made me feel larger than life."