|Born||Shannon Skye Tavarez
January 20, 1999
Bellerose, Queens, New York
|Died||November 1, 2010
New Hyde Park, New York
|Cause of death||Acute myeloid leukemia|
Shannon Skye Tavarez (January 20, 1999 – November 1, 2010) was an American child actress. She appeared in the Broadway theatre production of The Lion King by Walt Disney Theatrical, where she played the role of the young lion cub Nala.
Tavarez was a resident of Bellerose, Queens, New York City, and attended P.S. 176. She was chosen to play the role of Nala after a cattle call audition in 2008 at the Apollo Theater. She became one of two girls who split the role, with each girl performing four shows weekly. Several months after debuting in the show in September 2009, she was forced to leave the production after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. The daughter of an African American mother and a Dominican father, Tavarez faced much greater difficulty in attempts to find a match for a bone marrow transplant as minorities are significantly underrepresented in donor registries, despite efforts by such performers as Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent to recruit prospective donors from among their fans. Unsuccessful in finding a bone marrow donor, Tavarez underwent an umbilical cord blood transplant in August 2010.
On November 1, 2010, Tavarez died at the age of 11 at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, due to acute myeloid leukemia. The lights at the Minskoff Theatre, where The Lion King was playing, were dimmed the night she died. In a statement released following her daughter's death, Odiney Brown said that "Shannon's dream was to perform on stage, and that she did."
- Weber, Bruce. "Shannon Tavarez, Nala in ‘Lion King’, Dies at 11", The New York Times, November 3, 2010. Accessed November 3, 2010.
- Croghan, Lore. "Young 'Lion King' star Shannon Tavarez recalled as 'selfless' day after death", Daily News (New York), November 3, 2010. Accessed November 3, 2010.
- Young Lion King star Shannon Tavarez loses leukemia battle from The Daily Mail 2 November 2010.
- Nudd, Tim. "Rihanna Mourns Shannon Tavarez", People (magazine), November 3, 2010. Accessed November 3, 2010.
- Foundation in Shannon Tavarez's memory
- Match Shannon
- Shannon Tavarez, Nala in ‘Lion King’, Dies at 11
- Shannon Tavarez Obituary
- Young 'Lion King' star Shannon Tavarez recalled as 'selfless' day after death
- Shannon Tavarez Lovingly Remembered at Funeral
- Funeral for 'Lion King' Star Who Died of Leukemia
- Rihanna Mourns Shannon Tavarez