Cory Monteith Death: Wetpaint Staff Reflects on the Tragic Loss of Finn Hudson
This is all extremely difficult for us to write, but since the moment that we at Wetpaint found out about the tragic loss of Glee’s first son, Cory Monteith (Finn), we’ve been devastated. You see, although our website features photos, gossip, spoilers, and the like, we are first and foremost fans of the shows we cover.
When this editor first came to Wetpaint, I bonded over my love of Glee with my peer Beth Douglass. We had both been watching Glee since it debuted online a few months before its September 21, 2009 Fox debut. The second we saw Cory, Lea Michele (Rachel), and the rest of the cast singing “Don’t Stop Believin,” we knew the show would be a hit and — most importantly — that we had new heroes.
We knew from the very first moment that Glee was something truly special and beautiful. Still, this show’s impact on fans was even greater than we could ever imagine. Gleeks have created entire communities around their favorite characters, moments, relationships, and love for the show.
Cory was a huge part of that, and is the biggest and first great loss of our lifetime, our generation. Many great singers and actors have left us, but Cory’s passing is a cascading sort of pain, the kind that returns again and again, with each new piece of information about his death reminding us that he's dead, each sentiment tearfully given by someone close to us about what he meant, and each remembrance of a moment when Finn and Cory made us smile or laugh or yearn to change the way he has in the last four years.
We miss Cory for Lea, for his family, for his Glee co-stars, his friends, his fans, and for ourselves. We can’t imagine a world without Cory Monteith in it. We can’t picture the show he helped create going on with this shadow cast over it. We’re heartbroken trying to picture life knowing that we lost someone so young and so influential on the people who loved him. Rest in Peace, Cory Monteith. We will miss you and think of you forever.
I never met Cory Monteith, so I can’t shake the thought that the Glee star’s sudden and tragic passing probably shouldn't affect me on a personal level as much as it has been. Of course Cory’s death is heartbreaking. But aren't celebrity deaths the sort of thing you're sad about for a bit, but then get over? Because I can't stop thinking about Cory.
I didn't know him. I've never joked playfully with him about his height, which at a towering 6’3” earned him the nickname Frankenteen. I've never seen his eyes light up when a hockey game came on. I've never experienced in person — only seen photos and read about — the way he looked at girlfriend Lea Michele, a woman he'd had feelings for since the very first day they met. It took her a bit longer to realize it, but once she did, their relationship quickly became perhaps my favorite in all of Hollywood. Every girl dreams of having a boy so clearly in love with her as Cory loved Lea.
All of this I only know through photos, video, and Twitter. Cory and I weren't close, so why do I feel like I've lost a friend?
The truth is, I've watched Glee every week for the last four years of my life. I've followed Cory on Twitter, and I've spent my days writing about his TV show. He's been an almost daily presence in my life, even though I never got the chance to speak a word to him.
Glee, by its very design, makes you feel like a part of something. It makes you feel worth it, however different you might seem to others; whatever the world might say about you. Cory Monteith is, and forever will be, a key part of that. It's no wonder so many fans feel close to him.
I still don't think I've fully grasped that he is gone. I'm not sure when it will fully sink in. But Cory was a kind and gentle soul who inspired legions of fans and provided hope for do many people. Without a doubt, he has left a mark on this world. And we are so much better for it.
Glee has always had the ability to put a smile on my face — something that is increasingly difficult to do in today's world. If Lea Michele is the voice of the show, then Cory Monteith was Glee's heart. His kindness and goofiness seemed to transcend the TV screen, just as Lea's powerhouse vocals still do.
I feel like Glee really taught me how to grow and accept myself, and I think so many people quickly identified with the characters because, like the kids of New Directions, everyone is an underdog in his or her own way.
Everyone has baggage, no one is perfect.
Cory was refreshingly candid about his own struggles, which only made him that much more accessible to fans, and has in turn made his passing so difficult to comprehend. Part of growing up is learning to deal with unspeakable tragedy, and unfortunately his death is all too real.
Who didn't love Cory Monteith from the moment Finn Hudson decided to try out his awkward dance moves on the McKinley High stage? Cory perfectly played the boy we all dreamed of dating in high school — the cute jock with a sensitive side whose naive innocence was not only believable, it was surprisingly endearing.
But even more honorable than Cory's excellent acting was his connection to the Gleeks. When he made the decision to enter rehab in March 2013, his only public announcement was to graciously thank his fans for their support. Glee is a show about acceptance and following dreams, and Cory was a perfect representation of that mission.
And now that he has passed away, Cory has left behind a legion of loyal fans, members of the acting community who respect his work, and writers like me who will always appreciate the impact he's made in pop culture and the world around him.
I must admit that I rarely cry, but I was in tears upon hearing about Cory Monteith’s tragic death on Saturday night, and then again today when listening to some of my favorite Cory songs from Glee. Having written Wetpaint’s Glee recaps since we first started covering the show, I — like his countless fans — have felt connected to Finn Hudson because of the vulnerable, caring, and passionate way Cory portrayed him. When Finn grieved for his father or worried about his own future, you felt for him in particular because of how universal and accessible Cory made the feelings feel.
For me, Cory has always been the most relatable and human of the Glee stars. He wasn’t plucked out of high school or off of a Broadway stage to join the show’s cast; he’d had a few more years under his belt than most of the cast and got his big break thanks to talent, sure, but also determination and his “everyman” likability. His longer road to stardom might be why he was always humble, smiling, and self-effacing in interviews or as a mentor on The Glee Project.
Tyler Golden/Oxygen Media
Season 4 may not have been the show’s most consistently satisfying one, but Finn’s storyline — with him in charge of New Directions — gave us the show’s strongest moments, as we saw Finn find his purpose and help a new class of singers. Adding to Cory’s off-camera appeal was his romance with Lea, as the two have seemed equally happy on a getaway in Hawaii or grabbing pancakes in L.A. in the middle of the day.
His singing, too, has been such a wonderful part of the show. How do you choose your favorite Cory song? His best performances allow us to hear the songs in a new and heartfelt way, especially “I’ll Stand By You,” or my personal favorite, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” which remains one of my favorite Glee performances ever. Cory was taken from us way too soon, but the passion that he brought to his characters and to his life will continue to have an impact on all of us. We’ll always stand by you, Cory.
I’ve never watched an episode of Glee. The concept never interested me and my personal pretense has always kept me from ever giving it a fair chance.
But what I can say is: My best friend of 20 years danced to the Glee version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” at his wedding. I’ve dated Glee diehards, worked with them, edited their work. Their passion for the show solidifies it as nothing short of a cultural phenomenon; for the select slice of the Millenials who were impacted by Glee, it left an inspiring and indelible mark.
Cory Monteith’s death is a tragedy that to so many, probably feels like the loss of a loved one. Anyone who understands that kind of loss should understand and sympathize with the immense sadness this terrible event has caused.
This is a kind of sorrow that is deep and profound, and that Cory’s sudden and untimely departure inspired such moroseness in the Glee community is a grand testament to just exactly how much of a beacon of hope and happiness and life he was to those who loved, respected and idolized him. For so many, he was a companion, a friend, a brother in arms, and words cannot fully nor accurately express how much he will be missed. Even as a non-fan, I mourn his passing in solidarity with those I love who are so impacted by his death.
It’s incredibly tragic when someone so young and talented passes away — and it’s even harder for us as fans to separate his on-screen persona from the person he is in real life, which in this case makes it all the more shocking and confusing. I’ve been tracking Cory’s career, both onscreen and off, prior to his debut on Glee, and feel saddened and upset by the news of his passing. I saw him go from an unknown to a huge and influential star in a hit TV show in the matter of a few short seasons. My heart goes out to everyone whose life Cory has influenced and touched, and my thoughts are with those who have known him personally and whose pain and loss must be magnified.
Bonnie Hu, Social Media Manager
Though we are in the business of covering Entertainment news, it is difficult in times like these to be solely objective or completely unaffected to treat these words as just words on a page or post. I am saddened for those who loved him from close and afar, for our fans who are passionate and loyal, but mostly for those people who he inspired and changed forever.