Obituary: Cory Monteith / Actor on 'Glee' battled substance abuse

May 11, 1982 - July 13, 2013



Cory Monteith, who played an upbeat and outgoing young student and singing coach on the hit Fox musical comedy television series "Glee," but who battled substance abuse problems in his personal life, was found dead Saturday in a hotel room in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was 31.

The police said Mr. Monteith was found dead in his 21st-floor room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver at about noon after he missed his scheduled checkout time. They said there was no indication of foul play and that people Mr. Monteith had been with earlier were being interviewed, but that they believe he was alone when he died.

The coroner will try to establish the cause of death, a police statement said.

Mr. Monteith, a 6-foot-3 performer with a youthful countenance and a soft-spoken demeanor who described himself on his personal Twitter page as a "tall, awkward, Canadian, actor, drummer, person," gained worldwide attention when "Glee" made its debut on the Fox network in 2009.

On that series, Mr. Monteith played Finn Hudson, an Ohio high school student and football star who initially had no interest in joining his school's struggling glee club for fear it would cost him his popularity and social standing.

But once drawn into the singing squad, Finn became a crucial member, sharing vocal duties on its signature cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," and also sharing romantic tensions with his fellow students Rachel (Lea Michele) and Quinn (Dianna Agron). In recent episodes, Finn graduated from high school but returned to coach the glee squad of which he had once been a member.

"Glee," which recently finished its fourth season, is one of Fox's biggest hits of recent years, especially with younger audiences, although its ratings have been dropping for the last two seasons.

A press representative for Fox said Sunday that production on the new season of "Glee" was not scheduled to begin until later this month or early August, and that no decision had yet been made about how the show might address Mr. Monteith's death.

Earlier this year, Mr. Monteith announced that he had voluntarily checked himself into a treatment center for an unspecified substance addiction. He had acknowledged in a past interview that he also sought rehabilitation when he was 19.

Cory Allan Michael Monteith was born on May 11, 1982, in Calgary, Alberta, and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, after his parents divorced. He dropped out of school at 16, having attended 16 different schools by that time, and worked at many jobs before gaining his first professional acting roles in his early 20s.

Mr. Monteith appeared on television shows like "Stargate Atlantis," "Supernatural" and "Smallville," then landed his role on "Glee" with the help of an audition tape on which he sang REO Speedwagon's 1985 No. 1 hit, the love ballad "Can't Fight This Feeling."

The news of Mr. Monteith's death elicited an outpouring of grief and remembrances from friends and colleagues.

Dot-Marie Jones, a "Glee" co-star, wrote on her Twitter account that Mr. Monteith "was not only a hell of a friend" but an "amazing" man "that I will hold close to my heart forever."

Mr. Monteith's media representatives at Viewpoint Public Relations said in a brief statement: "We are so saddened to confirm that the reports on the death of Cory Monteith are accurate. We are in shock and mourning this tragic loss."

The Fox Broadcasting Co., 20th Century Fox Television and the executive producers of "Glee" said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened by this tragic news. Cory was an exceptional talent and an even more exceptional person. He was a true joy to work with and we will all miss him tremendously. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."

According to some news reports, Mr. Monteith is survived by his parents and a brother.

In an interview in 2011, Mr. Monteith had said he hoped his struggles with addiction would offer an example to others.

"I don't want kids to think it's OK to drop out of school and get high, and they'll be famous actors, too," he said. "But for those people who might give up: Get real about what you want and go after it."

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First Published July 14, 2013 1:00 PM


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