The late Naya Rivera’s final television appearance is now available for fans to stream, as the former Glee star appears as a guest judge in a new episode of the Netflix baking series Sugar Rush. Now available to watch on the streaming service as of July 31, the third season of Sugar Rush — dubbed Extra Sweet — brings in a variety of celebrities to guest judge the show’s unique dessert dishes. Rivera had filmed her guest appearance for the show back in February before television productions had been shelved, making it her final television appearance and the last thing she shot before her shocking death months later.
Naya Rivera’s death came just weeks after Netflix announced the July 31 premiere date for the third season of Sugar Rush on June 24. Reportedly, there was discussion behind the scenes at Netflix as to what to do with the episode to best honor the memory of Rivera. Following “careful consideration in consultation with Rivera’s manager Gladys Gonzalez, who has been working closely with the actress’ family following Rivera’s death, a decision was made to move forward and release the episode as planned.” The episode featuring the late actress has also been dedicated to Rivera, which includes adding a message before the opening credits paying tribute to the TV star.
A lifelong performer, Naya Rivera had literally been appearing on television since she was a baby shown in Kmart commercials. At the age of 4, she appeared in the sitcom The Royal Family, and as a child actress, she also had memorable appearances on shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, and Baywatch. She is perhaps best known for portraying teenage cheerleader Santana Lopez on the Fox musical series Glee, a role she played for six seasons between 2009 and 2015. Her Glee success would also lead to a record deal with Columbia Records as a solo artist, releasing the single, “Sorry,” in 2013.
Sadly, Naya Rivera’s life was cut short earlier this month when she went boating with her son in California’s Lake Piru on July 8. She was declared missing when rescuers found her 4-year-old son alone on their rented boat, with the boy telling investigators that Rivera had helped him climb back into the boat while swimming before she disappeared under the water. It has been speculated that the boat had started drifting because of a rip current while the two were swimming, and that Rivera had “mustered enough energy to save her son, but not enough to save herself.” Her body was recovered on July 13, and Rivera was laid to rest after a private memorial service in Los Angeles on July 24.
Just 33 years old at the time of her death, Rivera left us far too soon. With such immense talent and so much more left to give, the pain of her loss was felt by fans all across the world. It’s certain that she will always be remembered by those fans, and it’s definitely bittersweet to see her one last time on Sugar Rush. Some details of this story come to us from Deadline, and you can watch Rivera’s final TV appearance on Sugar Rush on Netflix.