Cory Monteith was only 31-years-old when he died, supposedly alone, in a Vancouver hotel room. As a poor, drug addicted youth, he had roamed its city streets and gotten to know the city’s hardcore side. In 2013 just before he died, he was living in the lap of luxury in the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. But still within walking distance of those mean streets he knew so well. He was the up and coming star of TV’s hugely popular Glee. He was supposedly all loved up with his co-star Lea Michele and, apparently, had everything to live for. But in the background was a long history of drug and alcohol abuse. As one of his friends said, the Canadian actor fought hard against the demons, but in the end, the demons won. In the days before he died, he appeared happy and healthy. In fact, many said he looked better than he had in a long, long time. No one will ever know exactly what happened that fateful night in July of 2013, when Monteith returned to his luxury hotel room after a night on the town with friends. Staff found his body the next day. The official story said it was an accidental overdose of a lethal cocktail of heroin and alcohol. Here are 15 things about his life and death he and Lea would not want you to know.
15. Those Rumors
Rumors are just that. Rumors. Some gossip websites claim Canadian actor Monteith had boyfriends in Vancouver, Canada. Maybe gay or bi-curious? Certainly his first modeling pictures in 2004 channel a “soft” vibe. He was only 22-years-old when he walked into a Vancouver modeling agency. He was tall and charismatic and they pretty much signed him straight away. Behind him was a stint in rehab while still a teenager and ahead of him a banging on Tupperware drumming audition tape for Glee. And there are those still persistent stories that the whole thing with Lea Michele was nothing more than a publicity stunt. There was even talk of Lea dating another Glee co-star, Dianna Agron. Dianna has called it a “special friendship”. Just how special we’ll leave you to figure out.
14. Those Unanswered Questions About The Night He Died
Lea Michele must have known what Cory got up to when he returned to Canada, in general, and Vancouver in particular. Dubbed Hollywood North because of its many film production facilities, Vancouver is a bustling town with a hard drug core. There are just parts of the city even the tough police force won’t go into. Reportedly, as a youth, Monteith spent time on the streets there. Many of his Vancouver “friends” go back to those druggy days. So, the first question is why on earth was Lea in Mexico, vacationing with friends while he was in Canada? The second question. Why were there open champagne bottles and multiple glasses, together with drugs and drug paraphernalia found in his room? Who was he with that night? The official story? He was with sober friends who were a good influence on him. Hard to believe that one.
13. I Just Want To Know If My Father Loves Me
When he was very little, Cory used to love dressing up just like his Army dad and riding in that cool green military Jeep. He and older brother Shaun, appeared happy and loving. Then, in 1989, Cory’s mother Ann McGregor divorced his father Joe. Cory was only 7-years-old. And, even worse, after the divorce she (reportedly) did everything she could to cut her military ex out of his sons’ lives. In 1991 she sent back the Christmas presents Joe sent to his sons. People magazine reported that Cory didn’t know about those presents and other attempts at contact until years later when he started communicating with his father, telling his second wife: “I just want to know if my father loves me.” The bitter divorce of his parents hit him hard. That’s when the trouble started. By the time he was 12, Cory was into drugs and alcohol. Would steady contact with his father had helped him? Some say, almost certainly.
12. Lea’s Publicity Grief
She was in Mexico with “girlfriends” when she heard the news of Cory’s death. Pretty soon afterwards, she was giving tearful interviews on TV. She was “grieving with his family”. Only thing was, his dad was not even invited to the funeral by an apparently still bitter Ann. And then we learn of Lea’s “5” tattoo (his character Finn’s football jersey number) and a “Finn” tattoo that, oops, gets displayed in a near naked photoshoot in August of 2016. “It’s been three years since Cory Monteith died,” gushed Entertainment Weekly, “but his Glee co-star and girlfriend Lea Michele continues to honor him in permanent ways.” Well, that is one way of looking at it. It’s like the many ex-girlfriends of died-too-young-superstar Heath Ledger. When they come out with a Heath story, they steal the headlines. Did we mention the “Finn” necklace? We get it. We really do.
11. Skipping School And Getting Drunk
Just over the border from Washington State, Canada’s Victoria, British Columbia was Monteith’s childhood home. It is only about an hour’s drive from sin city Vancouver, where teenage Cory Monteith spent so much time. But five years after his parents nasty divorce, Cory was already out of control big time. It’s just a fact: By the time he was 12-years-old Monteith was skipping school and experimenting with alcohol and drugs. By the time he was 16-years-old, he was a card carrying addict, who tended to get both very drunk and very high, often at the same time. It was that tendency to double dip that eventually killed him. He was reportedly in and out of some sixteen schools and reform programs before he finally dropped out of school when he was 16-years-old.
10. Those Missing Three Years
From the age of sixteen when he left school to when he was nineteen, Cory drifted around and did a number of dead end jobs. He would get sober for a time and then fall back into substance abuse. He spent time on the mean streets of Vancouver doing “whatever” he needed to do to get money to buy drugs. The rumors aren’t very nice. Then, finally, his family intervened when he was 19-years-old and he entered his first stint of rehab. Some ask why his loving mother waited so long. Some wonder why his father knew nothing of what was going on in his life. Years later when they reunited, Joe Monteith was surprised that he even smoked cigarettes. The picture? From his last movie McCanick. He played Simon, an addict. No, it wasn’t a very good film, but it was his last.
9. Anything And Everything, As Much As Possible
He was leading a kind of double life. In Los Angeles and Hollywood, he was the clean-shaven, apparently sober star with his loving girlfriend on his arm. He talked of kicking the demons that had plagued him early on. But back in Vancouver, all bets were off. Before he found fame and fortune and reportedly had well-heeled friends buy drugs for him, Cory was a young and poor addict roaming the streets of Vancouver, going into un-policed areas, where junkies slumped against walls with needles in their arms was the bizarre norm. Vancouver spelled home for Cory. But it also spelled big, big trouble. And going back there, with all his “friends” and dealers and junkies around, meant that the relatively sober life he led in Los Angeles could go out the window. And, as we’ve seen, some question why his “loving girlfriend” left him to hang out with all those demons unaccompanied.
8. Lie And Steal, Do Anything, But Get The Money To Buy
Back to Monteith’s youth. How did he fund his habit? Well, he himself has admitted that he lied and stole from friends and family. He would do just about anything to get money to feed his habit. It was that kind of criminal activity that forced his family to call a halt and get him into his first stint of rehab when he was only 19-years-old. Why they waited so long, as he had been on a downward spiral since his was 13-years-old, is a question that some still ponder. What else did he get up too on those seedy Vancouver streets? Well what would a young, good looking boy/man do on the mean streets to fund his deal with the devil? The rumors are not nice. But they are there.
7. Tall, Awkward, Canadian, Actor, Drummer, Person
Monteith’s own description of himself from Twitter. For a time, he was a drummer in a band. In fact, his audition tape for Glee was of him drumming like mad on Tupperware containers. Cute idea, the show’s creator thought. Fun, cute. Let’s hire the kid. Maybe that was the beginning of the end. There are some people who were born for the spotlight. People describe Monteith as awkward, insecure, sensitive, sweet even. He found the pressures of fame and his growing fortune (he was worth nearly 1 million dollars when he died) intolerable at times. He worried. He fretted. And meanwhile, all around him were people who used him. As someone has said, “Hollywood eats its young.” It’s sad but it’s true.
6. Dead Man Walking: I’m Lucky To Be Alive
When in Hollywood, we have the Cory Monteith who had kicked his demons. Well, who would want to admit what was really going on? He gave interviews to rags like Parade, detailing his troubled, drug-fueled past, saying he was lucky even to be alive. Throwing in how he had changed his life. Nice spin. The truth? He had probably never stayed off drugs and alcohol for a very long time. All those smiling, sober pictures with Lea. Those vacations together, where some say they stayed in separate rooms with their “real” between the sheet partners, and got together for those loved-up shots. Getting onto four years on, some say Lea is still playing the Cory/Finn legend.
5. Final Message To Fans: Stay Out Of Trouble
Cory really wanted to help kids, particularly kids, who like him, had grown up disadvantaged. He really did want to be a role model. And his public pronouncements were right on message. His final video to a fan advised the young boy to stay out of trouble and stay in school. Even as he taped it he was on his way to Vancouver. In the end, the double life he was leading was bound to end in tragedy. It was probably not much of a surprise to those who were close to him, despite all the on-camera tears and tributes. As one friend said: He fought his demons all his life and in the end the demons won. He died alone with his drugs and his booze.
4. Death Of The Man. Birth Of The Legend
It’s just a fact: When Hollywood stars die young, they are recycled as legends. All his cast members from Glee were lining up to cry for the camera. That memorial service. All those tears and all those hugs. The truth: The ratings of Glee got a much needed boost. Lea Michele got her Cory/Finn tattoo and took her clothes off for a photoshoot to show it all off. His mother got most of his nearing-a-million estate. His last movie, McCanick, was helped by the “tragedy” that no one admitted they could have seen coming. And everyone talked about what a bright future lay ahead of the up and coming actor. Never mind the truth. The legend is born.
3. The Tragedy That Rehab Caused?
The coroner’s verdict was that Cory Monteith had died from a lethal heroin and alcohol overdose. And that it was an accident. Drugs, drug paraphernalia and alcohol were found in his luxury hotel room. He was sprawled out on the floor, dead for several hours when concerned hotel staff went into his room at noon on the 13th of July 2013. The night before, he had reportedly partied with friends in his room, before going out to clubs. His old dealers and drug friends would have been lining up to sell him whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it. He was only a few months out of his second attempt at rehab and some have speculated that perhaps his body, once accustomed to high levels of drugs and alcohol, could no longer tolerate those levels. And that’s what ended up killing him.
2. His Final Days
Ironically, Cory Monteith lobbied hard to play the just-released-from-prison drug addict Simon Weeks in McCanick. He had lived it and wanted to bring that experience to his portrayal. At first, director Josh Waller thought it was a very bad idea, but then changed his mind and cast the troubled young actor. According to The New York Daily News, the last time Waller saw the actor was only weeks before his death when he showed the finished film to Monteith. “I never… suspected anything was wrong,” he said. Monteith seemed “upbeat and excited about the film”. Those kinds of stories, of Monteith being in a very good place at the time, make some wonder if there is more to the story of his tragic death than has been made public. Or if it is more Hollywood spin to increase the tragedy levels.
1. The Demons Won
Days before his tragic death, he appeared happy and healthy. He had lunch at Vancouver’s East of Main Cafe where he sipped lemonade and ate and laughed with casting director and friend Maureen Webb, and his manager Elena Kirschner. Kirscher took what was probably the final picture of the star, in profile and staring out the window of the eatery. Then that night out with friends that nobody seems able to name. And then he was dead. Who he was with and what he was doing have remained, at best, vague. All that seems to be known for sure is that he went out with friends and came back to his 21st floor penthouse and died.
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