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rebeljean (rebeljean) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

Remembering Cory Monteith: a roundup post

Cory Monteith was every bit as sweet as the character he played on Glee.

“He was Finn,” said Patrick Gallagher, the veteran Vancouver actor who played Finn’s gruff coach Ken Tanaka in Season 1 of Glee. “I don’t ever remember him without that grin on his face.”

But while Finn Hudson was an all-American quarterback turned glee club star from Ohio, Monteith was an all-Canadian kid turned superstar who never forgot his Vancouver roots.

Speaking to The Vancouver Sun from Los Angeles, Gallagher recalled bonding with Monteith on-set over hometown memories.

“We’d worked at the same White Spot on Cardero,” says Gallagher. “We both had our hearts broken by the Canucks.”

Monteith was often spotted at Canucks games, most recently during the quarter-final series against the Sharks, where he was seated with his onscreen and off-screen girlfriend, Lea Michele (both were wearing Canucks jerseys).

Born in Calgary in 1982, Cory Monteith’s family moved to Victoria when he was two years old.

He grew up in and around Victoria and attended several schools before dropping out. He was admitted into rehab for alcohol and drug issues when he was 19.

After getting out of rehab, Monteith moved to Vancouver to study acting.

Early roles included bit parts on shows like Stargate: Atlantis, Young Blades, Smallville, Whistler, Flash Gordon and Supernatural.

His first recurring role was on the cult hit Kyle XY, as the love interest of one of the series leads. He was cast as a series regular on Kaya, an MTV series about a singer who becomes an overnight sensation.

With the launch of Glee in 2009, Monteith found himself living Kaya’s imagined scenario. He received the ultimate pop-culture kudos when he was invited to appear on The Simpsons as “Flynn” in 2010.

Monteith’s Vancouver connections ran deep and members of the local film and TV community were clearly shaken by news of his unexpected death on Saturday night.

Monteith’s manager Elena Kirschner was scheduled to speak Monday evening at Monday Night Live, a regular fundraising event for Project Limelight, a Vancouver charity Monteith was involved with that encourages children in the Downtown Eastside to get involved in the arts.

The event was cancelled immediately after the news of Monteith’s death broke. Kirschner was not prepared to speak to the media at press time but issued an email statement saying, “We are in shock and mourning this tragic loss.”

Andrew McIlroy, Monteith’s longtime acting teacher, had nothing but praise for the young actor.

“I am so proud of Cory that his legacy includes a commitment to the humility required to be of service to his craft,” McIlroy said in an email to The Vancouver Sun. “He began as an actor in classes, cleaning the studio to pay for them. He respected all of his auditions, often staying up most of the night to learn his lines after restaurant shifts.

Monteith had publicly spoken about how he was at risk of ending up on the streets when he connected with the veteran Vancouver acting teacher, and that local actors became his family — which sounds a lot like the premise of a Vancouver version of Glee.

“His Glee character was a mirror of his own experience — strength and hope,” McIlroy added. “Cory found his way to the acting room — the place of creation and expression, the place for orphans and rebels — and found a home.”

“He truly was lovely, kind, down to earth, generous and eager,” said Vancouver actor Robert Moloney, who worked with Monteith on Kaya. “The last time we saw each other in L.A. was at the launch of Kaya and he was absolutely thrilled and terrified at the same time. That series never had legs, but it wasn’t too long after that his career shot into the stratosphere with Glee.”

Moloney seemed to speak for every local actor who shared their heartbreak when he added, “The Vancouver acting community was so inspired and thrilled by his success, and now it’s really feeling the loss. He was one of the good ones.”

Fiona Forbes, who interviewed Monteith several times for various incarnations of her Shaw TV talk show (now known as The Rush) said she was shaken by the news because Monteith was always such a delight to deal with. She first met Monteith when he was shooting Kaya. During their interview, a joking exchange about playing the drums — one of Monteith’s passions (he was the drummer for the band Bonnie Dune and in the pre-Glee days for the band Porch Life) — turned into an impromptu drumming lesson.

She says that when Monteith was last on her show with his band Bonnie Dune he was equally down-to-earth, despite his new-found fame.

“He was just the same guy he was when I first met him — such a nice, kind, sweet Vancouver boy.”

When Glee first began to take off, Toronto-based awards show producer Lynn Harvey invited Monteith to participate in the 2009 Gemini Awards. She said he didn’t just agree to a small cameo appearance where he played the drums, he seemed genuinely delighted to have the opportunity to fly to Calgary to be part of the show.

A year later in 2010, when Glee was one of the hottest pop-culture phenoms on the planet, she suggested Monteith as host.

And even though no one thought he’d agree to fly back to Canada to do the show, Monteith not only hosted but when he discovered that Harvey’s young daughters were diehard Gleeks, he invited the family to visit him onset in Los Angeles.

Harvey assumed Monteith was just being sweet, but when he emailed her his thanks for letting him come home to Canada to host the Geminis she realized the invitation might be genuine.

Harvey and her two daughters arrived on set to discover that there were three directors chairs set aside for “Cory’s friends from Canada.”

Whenever he wasn’t shooting a scene, Monteith squired Harvey’s daughters around the set to collect photos and autographs.

“He was such a sweetheart. He was just a genuine down to earth nice guy. And today,” said Harvey choking back tears, “I can’t stop thinking about his mom. I’m so sad for his mom.”

Monteith kept coming home to Canada to work. He was one of the stars of Sisters & Brothers (2012), a movie by Vancouver’s Carl Bessai that featured some of the city’s top talent including Jay Brazeau, Tom Scholte and Gabrielle Rose.

He had recently completed work on Gia Malani’s ensemble drama All the Wrong Reasons (2013), which was shot in Halifax.

“He was always this kid from Vancouver on this great ride, enjoying every second of it,” Gallagher said. “I hope people remember him as Finn and as Cory.”

Cory Monteith’s death has stunned members of a Fredericton production company that worked with the 31-year-old Glee star last summer.

Tony Whalen, the owner of Shore Road Pictures Inc., hired Monteith last year to act in their soon-to-be-released movie, All the Wrong Reasons.

Whalen said he agreed to be in the small budget film, which was shot in Halifax, once he read the script.

It is an ensemble film about co-workers at a big-box department store and Monteith plays the store manager.

Whalen said they enjoyed working with Monteith.

"We were very happy with it, he was really good, really intense," he said.

Denis Theriault, a Fredericton-born actor, appeared in the movie with Monteith.

He said he was expecting to see Monteith in a few months at the film’s premiere.

He said working with Monteith was a life-changing experience.

“It was inspiring for me, just to be on that set with him,”
he said.

Whalen and Theriault said Monteith was extremely committed to the project and regularly flew back and forth from Los Angeles and Halifax so he could continue the movie but also appear at Glee photo shoots.

Monteith had another New Brunswick connection.

His father Joe Monteith lives in Oromocto.

He told CBC he's expecting to leave for British Columbia soon for his son’s funeral.

But he said he was too overwhelmed to comment further.

Monteith was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room on Saturday afternoon.

The B.C. Coroners Service completed both an autopsy and toxicology tests on the Glee star on Monday.

The results of both the autopsy and the toxicology tests are not expected to be released for several days.

Investigators have said there is no sign of foul play and no obvious indication of what caused his death.

Police said Monteith had been out with people earlier, but video and electronic records from the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel indicated he returned to his room by himself early Saturday morning. He was believed to be alone when he died.

Monteith had spoke in the past about previous problems with addiction issues.

The actor had admitted himself to a treatment facility in April for substance addiction. He had also received treatment when he was 19.


VANCOUVER — As the coroner, police and media search for answers around the cause of death for Glee actor Cory Monteith, one of his close friends cautions against jumping to conclusions.

“Fame happened to the right person,” said actor Joe MacLeod of his friend Monteith.

While Monteith had a hard childhood, he was completely grounded and didn’t let fame go to his head, MacLeod said in an interview Monday.

“It’s easy to jump to conclusions and think that he just went on a bender and OD’d, but it doesn’t seem to add up,” said MacLeod. “But I don’t know, that’s all speculation, and at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. It’s all the same result.”

The BC Coroners Service said Monday that an autopsy and toxicology tests will be performed on the body of the 31-year-old man, but results from the tests could take several days.

“We do understand there’s a lot of public interest in this case,” said Coroner Barb McLintock. “We will try and get it done in as good a time as we can without compromising the integrity of the investigation or the testing.”

MacLeod met Monteith at the first wardrobe fitting for an MTV show, Kaya, that was filmed in Metro Vancouver in 2007. The two Canadians became good friends during production, and remained close following the show’s cancellation.

“He was always awkward,”
MacLeod remembered, laughing. “I think that’s what I initially liked about him, because he’s a tall dude and really good looking, so it’s easy to have preconceived notions of who he’s going to be or who he should be.”

For MacLeod, Monteith’s history with addiction does not necessarily mean his death was drug-related.

He said that Monteith had been sober for eight or nine years when they met on the set of Kaya, and he was amazed by Monteith’s resilience.

“We partied a lot,” MacLeod said. “We were all in our mid-twenties doing this MTV TV show about being in a rock band and we would go out almost every night in Vancouver. We were all living in hotels and we had a great time, and he was there with us, and never once was it ever awkward that he wasn’t drinking.”

Even when Monteith was cast in Glee and moved to L.A., MacLeod said he resisted the urge to drink.

“He would have parties at the mansion he was living at and there’d be booze around all over the place, and he would be having the fake beers,” says MacLeod. “I always thought that was so great.”

MacLeod was so inspired by Monteith’s sobriety that he did not drink for an entire year.

“If Cory can go down to Vegas with us for 48 hours and be fine, I’m sure I can do that,” said MacLeod about his decision to give up alcohol for all of 2011.

Although Monteith’s sobriety lapsed and he eventually went to rehab earlier this year, MacLeod said he thought the actor was back in control of his life.

“I still don’t really believe that it happened,” MacLeod said.

Vancouver police said Monday that they are stepping back from the investigation into Monteith’s death after ruling out foul play.

Sgt. Randy Fincham said police see bad drugs in the city on occasion and officers recently noted two teenagers died of overdoses as a result, but so far there is nothing to indicate Monteith’s death was due to illicit drug use.

Others who also knew Monteith continue to show their support.


Matthew Perry has spoken of his sadness following the death of Glee star Cory Monteith, a fellow recovering addict.

The actor was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver on Saturday and the former Friends star was particularly touched by his passing as they had both battled substance abuse issues in the past.

Perry is now sober after seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction twice, in 1997 and 2001, while Monteith recently completed his second stint in a rehab facility in April, after having admitted that he started using drugs at 13.

Speaking to NBC News on Monday, Perry admitted he has been struggling to find any positive angle to the 31-year-old star's passing, saying, "When something like this happens, it's so sad and tragic... it's just sad and tragic. The upside of it, I can't even talk about because there is no upside to this man losing his life."

Perry also noted that addiction is a nationwide epidemic, adding celebrities often wait too long before seeking help.

He explained, "Fame does one thing that really hurts alcoholics which is it makes them feel, if they buy into the press, it makes them feel that they're different. And that's something that we can't have."

The autopsy results which will determine the cause of Monteith's death are pending.

Glee star Darren Criss was scheduled to appear on Good Morning America and Live with Kelly & Michael on Tuesday, but he canceled at the last minute because of the passing of his co-star Cory Monteith.

The grief-struck star, who is promoting his new movie Girl Most Likely, looked somber Monday night when he attended his movie premiere at Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York City.

The 26-year-old wore a black ribbon on the collar of his gray suit in honor of Cory, who died suddenly Saturday.

Cory was found dead in his Vancouver hotel on July 13 at the age of 31.

Tags: actor / actress, cory monteith, darren criss, death, glee (fox)

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