The family, friends and fans of Glee actress Naya Rivera are, obviously, still mourning her sudden and tragic passing after she drowned in California's Lake Piru last month. In the weeks since Rivera's death, several of her former Glee co-stars have come out to talk about their memories of her and what it was like to work with her, and now Jane Lynch, who played cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester to Rivera's Santana Lopez on the Fox hit, has spoken out about what it was like to work with Rivera, calling her "a force of nature."
Jane Lynch recently stepped in to co-host the fourth hour of Today with Jenna Bush Hager while Hoda Kotb was out, and talked openly about her experiences while working with Naya Rivera on Glee. After noting how "gut-wrenching and heartbreaking" it is that Rivera is no longer with us, 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. She was one of those people. She wasn't in every scene, but when she was... she just blew everybody away. I had three-page monologues, so did she. It took me a week to get mine, she would do them right off the bat. She'd be changing them and she had no problem with it.
Well, Jane Lynch certainly has a point about the Glee cast being stacked with impressive young talent. The socially relevant comedy didn't win several Emmys and Golden Globes, along with a Screen Actors Guild Award and Peabody Award, for nothing, after all. But, among all the fuss over some of the other cast members, Lynch thinks that Naya Rivera's performance as the smart, snippy Santana often got lost in the shuffle. Still, there's no denying that she made a big impact on the show, as evidenced by the number of Santana rants you can find catalogued online, like this one:
Oh, man. That is so good, right? As Lynch noted, Naya Rivera was quite capable of making the very most of her time on screen, and shined in all of her scenes, even with so many others doing such great work around her. This particular rant probably wasn't quite one of the three-page monologues which Lynch spoke of, but it's certainly close enough to help remind us all how much self-assured flair Rivera brought to Glee with Santana.
Heather Morris, who played Rivera's on screen friend-with-benefits turned girlfriend turned wife, Brittany, for all six seasons of Glee, opened up recently about how much their characters meant to the fans, and Jane Lynch echoed her sentiment, noting that Rivera was "a great advocate" who understood the importance of portraying a lesbian relationship on the series. So, it would seem that the young star truly landed in the right role at the right time.
You can revisit Naya Rivera and Jane Lynch's work on Glee by streaming the show on Netflix, but for more to watch in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our guide to fall TV.