Today, Ryan Murphy and Lea Michele gathered the cast, crew and producers of Glee, along with colleagues from the network and studio, to share memories and music in an emotional celebration of the life of Cory Monteith. We thank the public for their continued outpouring of love and support as we grieve our friend and colleague during this difficult time.
Ryan Murphy Explains How Glee Will Return Without Cory Monteith: Lea Michele Is the Strongest 26-Year-Old I Know
How would you like for Cory to be remembered?
It’s very difficult and emotional for me to talk about that. I just feel like the thing about Cory is that…Cory really was in many ways like that character. Cory was in the first scene of Glee that we shot that I directed in the pilot, he was the first person on camera and it was a very nerve-wracking time, and no one knew what would happen with the show because a musical had never worked. I was particularly unsure about it and I remember after the first take, he finished his thing and came up to me and leaned down to me and said, ‘This is going to be fun.’ And I think that’s the way he was on the show, on the set; he was a real leader. He was very beloved by the crew. I think Cory was very much like Finn [in] that Cory really was a champion of young artists and the underdog. I hope that that’s how he’s remembered and I think he will be because that’s how he was in real life with his causes and his outreach programs. Also I think a lot of people, a lot of young kids, have watched that evolution of that character and have been touched by it and hopefully that’s his legacy.
Look at that face! He always had that sweet face. I love his hands are like “what? what am I supposed to do with these?”
going through a million memories and emotions today. ill love you always Brother Cory.
Cory Monteith: A Reporter Remembers His Revealing Interview on Addiction Struggle
In the spring of 2011, Parade writer Shawna Malcom sat down with Cory Monteith, who wanted to discuss something he had never spoken about in detail before: his struggle with addiction, which started when he was a teenager. Here, Malcom remembers that revealing conversation and the thoughtful, articulate, talented man she met.
A week before I interviewed Cory Monteith for a June 2011 Parade cover story, I went to see him play a show in Los Angeles with his fledgling Cali-rock band Bonnie Dune. Soon he would be traveling around the world via private jet to perform in packed arenas for the “Glee Live!” summer concert tour, but for this small gig on a college campus, Cory, the band’s drummer, had happily driven himself and his bandmates to the venue in a white rental van and unloaded his own gear. Near the end of the show itself, he decided to take advantage of the intimate setting and invite the audience, comprised mostly of enthusiastic female Glee fans, up onstage—a move that, in the absence of any hired security, had promptly led to his being mobbed, stripped of his drumsticks and accidentally whacked in the head with a microphone.
It probably hadn’t been the best idea, he admitted later with a laugh, but the actor-musician, whom I’d first met in 2010 while reporting another story, thrived on connecting with people—something he was getting fewer and fewer opportunities to do, thanks to the insulating bubble of fame. In two short years, Cory had gone from little-known Canadian actor to breakout TV star and international heartthrob, but he wasn’t like most fast-rising young-Hollywood types I’ve encountered. He was humble. Articulate. Genuinely nice. And he had the talent to back up the bright future full of challenging film roles and major-label albums he envisioned for himself.
Sadly, that promising future was unexpectedly cut short last weekend when Cory died in a Vancouver hotel room at age 31 from what has since been ruled an overdose of heroin and alcohol. Cory first detailed his struggle with substance abuse as a teenager in the interview I did for Parade. I hadn’t really known what he planned to say when he arrived for the interview at a favorite restaurant on a Saturday night, fresh off a plane from New York, where he’d been filming an episode of Glee. His publicist had said he wanted to talk about how he’d turned his life around after a troubled youth, though what that “troubled youth” entailed was never explicitly stated. I was told only that Cory would reveal as much as he felt comfortable.
Over the course of several hours, he gradually revealed his eye-opening journey—the feelings of alienation and unworthiness that had led to heavy drug use, the interventions, the first stint in rehab at 19 and the rock-bottom moment of facing the threat of prison after getting caught stealing to support his increasingly “dire” habit. “The underlying problem was that I wasn’t ok with myself,” he said. “The drugs were symptomatic of me not being in a good place. Things got really bad, really ugly.”
He answered every question I posed candidly, thoughtfully and on the record, save for naming the hard drugs he’d used. He’d only discuss that off the record. He was keenly aware that the revelation that the seemingly clean-cut kid from Glee was a recovering addict would be big news, and he said he didn’t want the media to focus on those particular “buzzwords.” “What is just one part of your story, paraphrased and taken out of context, can be a headline in someone else’s,” he said. “And everything that comes out of my mouth is gonna be repeated in two-sentence-long bites for the next years of my life. Certain words travel far and wide.”
Instead, Cory hoped his decision to speak out on his own terms would serve to help others struggling with similar issues. It was also clear that, while he was grateful for the success that had come with Glee, he was eager to make the distinction between himself and his naive character Finn Hudson, who’d led a largely charmed life at McKinley High as a popular jock and show-choir standout. ”I feel like a bit of a fraud sometimes,” he admitted. In his own teen years, he’d been a self-described “loner, outcast,” and he’d been known to joke that some of his best acting had come from appearing as if he knew what he was doing when he held a football or basketball.
I also got the strong sense that he was struggling to reconcile his public persona with his private self. “At the end of the day, who everybody meets in the public eye, the public image, and myself are two different people in a way,” he said. “It’s a very accessible version of me. I’m definitely more introverted. I’m definitely darker. I’m definitely more, at times, pessimistic in real life. I shouldn’t say pessimistic. That’s a little strong. I’m more pragmatic in real life because I come from a whole different body of experience.” Despite showing up to the interview wearing a disguise of sorts—a baseball cap emblazoned with the logo of his beloved Vancouver Canucks hockey team and a pair of nerdy black Clark Kent-esque glasses—Cory seemed to want to be seen that night for exactly who he was.
He said he was committed to not letting the glossy glare of Hollywood blind him to the hard lessons he’d learned long before moving there. ”It’s a trap,” he said of using drugs. “Because when you choose that lifestyle, you unchoose everything else. You don’t realize you’re doing it, but you’re distancing yourself from the rest of the world. You’re putting up walls and burning down bridges and alienating yourself from everybody. It’s very lonely.”
He seemed to be at his best when he had a set or a gig to show up to every day, something that would keep him busy and creatively challenged, though even then, he admitted, there were times he could be thrown “off track” by the thoughts that ran through his head. Among them: “Thinking about doing other things, thinking about buying a yacht and sailing the Mediterranean and quitting the show.” It was in those moments that he relied heavily on his support system, which at that time included other sober-living people, his “closer than close” mom Ann, the roommates who shared his seven-bedroom rental house, his Bonnie Dune bandmates, and his “family” of cast and crew at Glee. “I have the fortune of being surrounded by people I love and who love me and will remind me of what is important,” he said. “They’ll say, ‘This is what you want.’”
We’ll likely never fully understand what led Cory to succumb to the demons he’d fought so hard against. But he seemed to leave our interview that night buoyed by the experience of sharing where he’d been and owning those choices, for better or worse. All that was left was to find a way home. Having been dropped off at the restaurant earlier in the evening, he asked if I’d mind giving him a ride. Soon he was sitting in the passenger seat of my car, his laughter filtering out of the open windows and over Laurel Canyon. I can still vividly picture him tapping out a beat on my dashboard and enthusiastically singing along to a Beatles track blasting from the speakers. Here’s hoping that, wherever he may be, he still is.
I understand where you’re coming from so I can’t get mad at your question. But I want to get you to understand and I also want followers of this blog to understand why it’s OKAY to cry.
In the span of four years, since we became aware of who Cory was, we have seen him play a character that we loved. We heard Cory sing, play drums, and try to dance. We watched videos and interviews of him being himself, laughing and being a goofball. We followed him on twitter where he reached out to us, his fans. Many of us were lucky enough to even meet him in person. We post and reblog pictures and gifs of him on this website.
You think he didn’t know us, but he you’re wrong. He knew his fans were always there for him. He didn’t know us all individually but he has always shown love for his fans, and vice versa.
This person we have admired and cared about passed away tragically. It’s okay for us to cry, and I know you might not understand, but please don’t judge or belittle us for doing so.
"That smile never changed." x
"I feel like we have a responsibility to make it known to the public what everybody could do, how everybody can make a difference. And I think that revealing these different charitable causes, like Virgin Unite or PETA or any of these other causes, are how people can contribute, they can help out. Even if it’s small, everybody can do something."
Don’t use the last chapter to judge someone’s life […], because his life is full of beautiful stories and triumphs and failures and successes that it doesn’t matter about his problems, it matters about the lives that he’s changed and it matters that he was genuine.
If there’s one thing that has made me smile in the past 24 hours, it’s the fact that you all understand. We are all going through this loss together because we all went through loving Cory together these past 4+ years. Our friends and families may not understand completely why we’re mourning for an actor/musician like this but you all know he was more than that to you. He was our Cory.
so i know we’re all sad, and it’ll probably hurt for a really, really long time, but i want to take a minute to appreciate
this man was
Cory’s managment company has asked that donations in his memory go to