After Chris Kelly in May, yet another Hollywood star has gone too soon, apparently due to personal demons, though the cause of death has not quite been established yet. Cory Monteith, the good looking actor who shot to fame with his portrayal of an American teenager in the musical-comedy TV hit ‘Glee!’, was found dead in a hotel room on Saturday. He was 31. Police have ruled out foul play and news reports point to drug overdose being a possible reason for Monteith’s untimely death. The star was found dead in his 21st-floor room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver, B.C.
On screen, he played Finn Hudson, the charming show-tune crooning star quarterback, with a good head on his shoulders. Though still an entertainer with a good heart, the Canadian-born actor could not have been more different from his character on ‘Glee!’ In his work and personal life too, he struggled with overcoming obstacles. He wasn’t a high school football star. He was a high school dropout.
Owing to the divorce of his parents when he was just 7 years old, Monteith had a difficult childhood, which gave way to a troubled adolescence fraught with substance abuse and social strains at school. At the age of 13, he began consuming alcohol, marijuana and often played truant from school, before finally dropping out at 16. By this time, he became so dependent on the drugs and alcohol that he resorted to stealing money from friends and family, to fund his addiction. This marked a turning point in his life because upon being caught, he was given an ultimatum: to get clean or face the law. This intervention by family and friends compelled him to turn his life around and check himself into a drug rehabilitation centre at age 19.
His battle with addiction was so fierce that he once said he was lucky to be alive. March 31, 2013 saw Cory Monteith admit himself into a treatment facility for substance addiction for the second time in his life. His treatment was completed on April 26, 2013.
In addition to appearing in other popular series, like Supernatural (2005), Smallville (2005), Stargate SG-1 (2006) and Flash Gordon (2007), he featured in two horror films, Bloody Mary (2006) and Final Destination 3 (2006), and the comedy Deck the Halls (2006). There were regular TV roles as Charlie Tanner in the first two series of the sci-fi teen drama Kyle XY (2006-07) and Gunnar, drummer in a rock band, in the short-lived MTV series Kaya (2007).
He finally got noticed and shot to stardom with ‘Glee!’ which brought Monteith a 2010 Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (shared with the cast). The pilot of ‘Glee!’ was one of the greatest of television history, full of energy and promise. Monteith’s raw passionate voice was a good pairing with Lea Michelle’s character Rachel Berry (Finnchel, like they were tagged) – his off-screen girlfriend too.
Hours after his death was reported, social media was flooded with posts about how his stint with ‘Glee!’ may have had something to do with his death. Comments like “These poor Hollywood children, they want fame but don’t know how to handle it”, “Lea should be busy planning a wedding, not a funeral”, kept dominating the digital sphere for a while; with #RIPCoryMonteith, #PrayForLea, etc. trending on Twitter. However, it has been previously reported that the actor had been dealing with personal demons years before being cast on ‘Glee!’ Though Hollywood may have not helped, given Monteith’s rather subdued and mellow post-fame style, it really doesn’t seem like he deliberately headed towards a Lohan-style downward spiral.
To his fans and other Gleeks like yours truly, Cory Monteith isn’t dead. He just ‘took the midnight train goin’ anywhere’.