Home CN Features Cory Monteith: Remembering Glee’s Quarterback,10 years on

Cory Monteith: Remembering Glee’s Quarterback,10 years on

by Conor O'Brien
Cory Monteith Glee

2023 marks 10 years since the sudden death of Canadian actor Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson in Glee.

When Glee premiered in 2009, it seemed Cory Monteith had a glittering Hollywood destiny.

He could act, sing, play music and had leading man good looks.

Then, the unthinkable happened.

Monteith died on July 13, 2013, at 31 years old.

Staff at Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel found Monteith’s body after he failed to check out of his room on time.

A Coroner’s report ruled the cause of death as a “mixed drug toxicity” of heroin and alcohol.

Their findings stated that it appeared to have been accidental.

In addition, the actor had codeine and morphine in his system at time of death.

Meanwhile, the room itself showed further evidence of drug and alcohol use.

This included two empty bottles of champagne, a spoon with drug residue and a used hypodermic needle.

Cory Monteith Glee
Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson with Lea Michele as Rachel Berry (Image courtesy of FOX)

The coroner added that Monteith’s on-off abstinence from drugs use may have also been a contributing factor.

In fact, the final report said that “after a period of cessation from opioid drug use, a previously tolerated drug concentration level may become toxic and fatal.”

Monteith’s death came as a shock to many.

Not only had a bright television star lost his life, Cory Monteith had succumbed to longstanding addiction problems.

From 13 years old, he used alcohol and marijuana.

By 16, the drug and alcohol dependency had worsened and he dropped out of school.

Before dropping out, Monteith had attended 16 schools and participated in programmes for troubled teens.

At the lowest point, he stole to fund his addictions.

In now haunting quotes, Monteith addressed this aspect of his life in a 2011 Parade interview:

“I’m lucky on so many counts — I’m lucky to be alive.”

Cory Monteith, Parade (2011)

In January 2023, ID and Discovery+ released a docuseries focusing on Monteith titled The Price of Glee.

Despite the title, none of the Glee cast participated, but others close to the late actor did.

Among the contributors was Justin Neill, who had formerly been Monteith’s roommate.

At the time of his death, Monteith had starred in four seasons of Glee. Production for season 5 began on August 5, 2013.

Immediately after his death and in the years since, Monteith’s colleagues and friends have paid tribute.

Glee titled the third episode of season 5 “The Quarterback.” In the episode, the character Finn Hudson also passed away.

Here are some other tributes below:

Lea Michele/Instagram

Glee found itself on a trajectory where its cast soon became worldwide stars.

The show’s popularity ended Monteith’s time as a semi-recognisable guest actor.

While Glee made Cory Monteith a household name, it was far from his first project.

Monteith began his acting career earlier in the 2000s by auditioning for roles in Vancouver.

He had grown up in nearby Victoria, British Columbia.

Before playing football for McKinley High, Monteith recurred as a cocky basketball player on ABC Family’s Kyle XY.

Even before that, he appeared in minor roles on Supernatural, Smallville and the Stargate franchise.

These were all filmed in Vancouver which often doubles for US towns and cities.

Cory Monteith Supernatural
Cory Monteith in a Season 1 episode of Supernatural (Image courtesy of The CW)

Before breaking into acting, Monteith made his living through a series of odd jobs.

At different points, he worked as a roofer, school bus driver, Walmart greeter, mechanic and drummer.

Due to Glee’s pop culture impact, Monteith made appearances as himself on The Simpsons, The Glee Project and MasterChef.

He voiced a version of Finn in an episode of The Cleveland Show and landed film roles along the way.

One of the more notable was in Monte Carlo, a 2011 adventure-romantic comedy set in Paris.

It was directed by Thomas Bezucha and released by 20th Century Fox.

In the film, Monteith starred opposite Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Andie MacDowell and Katie Cassidy.

Cory Monteith has been gone for ten years but his legacy lives on.

Through Glee, his other projects and those who loved him.

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