When a young celerity parties too hard or too much, Americans no longer gasp at the news. However, when a young celebrity with a heart of gold who has become an American heartthrob dies, it becomes the cry heard around the world, or at least in the world of teenage girls. Cory Monteith, the Canadian actor and musician, died from a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol this past summer on July 13. He lived for 31 years and in that time he managed to do great things while being haunted by powerful demons.
Cory Allan Michael Monteith was born May 11, 1982. He grew up a child of divorced parents, with his mother having primary custody. His early life is rocked by the same problem that caused his death: substance abuse. He began drinking and smoking weed at the age of 12 and would drop out of school by age 16. The turning point for his life came with an intervention; his family and close friends staged for his drug abuse problems when Monteith was 19. He thereafter began a rehabilitation program. Monteith stated to People Magazine about the intervention, “I’m lucky on so many counts. I’m lucky to be alive.” He received his high school diploma in 2011 from an alternative school in Canada after recognizing a need to finish school properly.
While his early life was less than glorious, Monteith would go on to become a household name. His acting career began after he met an acting teacher who gave him a script, some pointers, and told him “You could have a career doing this.” After working odd jobs in the city of Vancouver, Monteith landed his first television role on the show ‘Stargate Atlantis.’ It was only a bit part, but it was enough to encourage him to keep reaching. He would eventually land other minor roles on the American TV show ‘Smallville’ and the film F’inal Destination 3.’ His biggest gig before ‘Glee ‘was a recurring role on the ABCFamily show ‘Kyle XY.’
On May 19, 2009, Fox broadcasted the pilot episode of ‘Glee,’ and with this broadcast the lives of the stars of the show were shot forward into the realm of stardom.Monteith won the role of Finn Hudson, the high school quarterback with a secret passion for singing, after a long audition process. He first sent in a video of himself playing percussion on a set of Tupperware containers to prove that he had musical ability, but Ryan Murphy, the show creator, said that Monteith also had to prove that he had singing chops. Monteith then created a cover of REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” It took several more live auditions for Monteith to get cast, but when he did it would be the role that defined his life.
Monteith created a character who America could not help but fall in love with. He brought a naivete to the character that one could sense was not simply acted, but was a part of the larger personality of the actor.
Glee creator Ryan Murphy and the shows writers are currently in the works to have a tribute episode of the young actor. Murphy told E! that the show would not include Finn’s cause of death in the episode.
“The idea being, how somebody died is interesting and maybe morbid, but we say very early on in the episode, ‘This episode is about a celebration of that character’s life.’ That might be weird for some people, but it felt really exploitative to do it any other way,” Murphy told E!.
Monteith was engaged to fellow ‘Glee’ star Lea Michele. Michele did not speak on the matter, but was very supportive of Monteith through this rehab treatment for his substance abuse. Many of his cast members were supportive of Monteith’s desire to get clean and were devastated by the news of his passing.
“I have no words! My heart is broken Cory was not only a hell of a friend he was one amazing men that I will hold close to my heart forever,” Dot-Marie Jones, who plays Coach Shannon Beiste on ‘Glee’, tweeted.
Monteith once said: “I think if you show up and you work hard and you’re straightforward, you can always create your own opportunities. I hope I’m right.” Monteith died a troubled man, but he also died a good man, and that is the best that any of us can hope to be.