Within the last week, the one year anniversary of Glee star Cory Monteith’s tragic death has been remembered and celebrated by his former co-stars. Many of the show’s cast members have been turning to Twitter to share and express their heartfelt words about their deceased friend and acting partner.
The most recent posts were by the cast members Darren Criss and Amber Riley. Criss stated, “He was a wonderful guy. Thanks for all the good times, pal. Miss ya.” Riley shared in her post, “I remember your smile and your warm hugs! 1 year without you and your presence is still felt. Miss and love u everyday big bro. Our Angel.”
Monteith first made his way into the hearts of fans in the summer of 2009 when the Fox Television Network aired its pilot episode of Glee, a musical dramedy about ambitious outcasts who try to escape the rough realities of high school by joining the glee club. Audiences were introduced to Monteith’s character, football quarterback Finn Hudson.
At first, it seemed that Hudson was what a typical sports jock would be to the public’s eye. But as the episode moves along, it is learned that there is more to him, such as his ability to sing. His talent gets discovered by his Spanish teacher and new glee club instructor Will Schuester, portrayed by Matthew Morrison. Schuester makes a deal with his student; if he joins glee club then he will not have to do any detention. After some thinking Hudson accepts.
Before getting cast on the show, the struggling actor sent to series creator Ryan Murphy a video of him using Tupperware and sticks as drums for his audition. It was his energy and enthusiasm that won Murphy over, despite his lack of experience in singing and dancing, so he gave him the role of Finn.
The show became an instant hit on the Fox Network. This was highly due to its marketing strategy, which included the pilot airing after the season finale of American Idol, and the cast’s recording of the Journey hit Don’t Stop Believing getting released on iTunes and becoming the most downloaded song at the time. Young audiences reacted to the show with great enthusiasm because of what it had to offer. It touched on major issues that youth deal with such as bullying, admitting to being gay, suicidal thoughts and attempts and being different than others. At last, the oddballs of youth had a show that was about them. Adding to the appeal was the use of classic and contemporary pop and rock hits for the musical numbers.
As the series got famous, so did Montieth and the rest of its young cast members. The price of fame was getting too high for the young actor. While it was not so clear to the public and media’s eye, underneath his smiles he was battling personal demons, including an addiction to heroin. Nobody knew of this, not even his former co-stars.
Before publicly admitting to his addiction, he and fellow cast member Lea Michelle made the announcement that they were a couple. When they broke their news, the media was not surprised in the least, due to the fact that rumors were going around that they were dating since the show first took off. The couple portrayed on-camera love interests on Glee.
The actor admitted to the press that he was an addict and had entered into rehab. By the year 2013 it looked as if he had a new lease on life. Glee was still going strong, he was good friends with his cast members and had just gotten engaged to Michelle. By what his former co-stars have remembered, Cory Monteith was a new man ready to take on whatever the world had to offer him.
But then, on the evening of July 13, 2013, news broke that the Glee star was found dead in a Vancouver, Canada hotel room. The cause of death was later confirmed to be a lethal combination of alcohol and heroin. Fans were shocked and devastated by the news.
Even more devastated was the show’s entire cast. Some made statements about the news, but the media and the public were waiting to hear from Michelle. The actress stepped away from the public eye for nearly a month so that she could take the time to grieve over the loss of her deceased fiancé.
When the news broke the creators and writers of Glee had to quickly meet up after grieving to ponder over what to do with Monteith’s character, Finn Hudson. They wanted to not only pay a tribute to their lost cast member and friend, but to also leave a good stamp on the character. This process got the Fox Network to delay a few episodes in the show’s upcoming season.
Their hard work eventually lead to the episode titled The Quarterback, which aired on October 10, 2013. In the show audiences learn that Finn Hudson had died, but not as a result of drugs or alcohol. The episode takes place during the aftermath of Hudson’s funeral. It can clearly be seen that the tears of the cast members were real tears and that they were not acting at all.
The most pivotal of them is when glee club instructor Will Schuester is seeing sitting on his couch and crying with his arms tightly wrapped around Hudson’s lettermen’s jacket. Audiences could feel the hurt that was coming off the screen in Matthew Morrison’s performance.
One year after the death of the actor, cast members are still feeling his presence. In a recent Twitter post, actor Kevin McHale, who plays the role of Artie, wrote, “It’s been 1 year & it’s still so surreal, but today is just a reminder of how damn great you were and how much you mean to us all.”
“I often think of the good memories I shared with Cory and it makes me smile. He was a one of a kind gentleman and will forever be missed.” said actor Harry Shun, Jr. And actress Lauren Potter added, “One year later and I miss Cory every day. I hope we make him proud.”
Of course, it cannot be ignored that Lea Michelle also paid tribute to her late boyfriend. On July 13, 2014, the actress posted a picture of the young couple that was taken some time before Monteith’s death. In addition, she also stated, “We hold you in our hearts today, and every day we remember your smile. We love you and miss you always.”
Like James Dean and Heath Ledger, Cory Monteith left this world too soon. At the young age of thirty-one, he left just when the world was starting to see what he had to offer as an artist. Many episodes of Glee can show audiences how strong a performer he was. Two good examples are his solo performances of I’ll Stand by You by The Pretenders and Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl. Cory Monteith will forever be remembered by fans and former co-stars.
By Andrew Cerecedes