Cory Monteith

Cory Monteith

Monteith was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but was raised in Victoria, British Columbia. The future star's early passion was music. He began playing drums at seven, a skill that came in handy later on when he played in bar bands for pocket cash. Taking a huge risk at an early age, Monteith quit the ninth grade after deciding school wasn't for him. Instead, he held a number of odd jobs, which included taxi driver, Wal-Mart customer greeter and construction worker. Monteith never considered show business until a friend who worked in casting suggested acting as a career. Following his friend's advice, 20-year-old Monteith packed up and moved to Vancouver, where he shared an apartment with another aspiring actor, "90210" (The CW, 2008-2013) star Dustin Milligan.Monteith made his acting debut in the supernatural thriller "Killer Bash" (2005). It was reported that the film's director David DeCoteau discovered the actor and cast him as one of five college students terrorized by the ghost of a murdered co-ed. Though not exactly a horror classic, "Killer Bash" was enough to get the star noticed by casting agents and producers. Monteith cemented his career when he landed guest spots on some hit American shows, including an appearance in the "Wendigo" episode of "Supernatural" (The WB/The CW, 2005-) and the "Thirst" episode of "Smallville" (The WB/The CW, 2001-2011), both of which aired in 2005. Now on the rise, Monteith no longer had to work odd jobs after booking a seven-episode arc on "Kyle XY." He played the boyfriend of Amanda (Kirsten Prout), who was the love interest of the titular character Kyle (Matt Dallas). The role gave Monteith the opportunity to play the villain - a high school student who constantly lied and cheated on his girlfriend. The actor made a character 180 when he took on the role of a bighearted drummer in "Kaya," (2007), MTV's scripted series about a teenage rock star and her struggling band. Monteith starred opposite Danielle Savre, as the title character's ex-boyfriend who wanted to win her back.Around the time of Monteith's recurring role on "Kyle XY," Ryan Murphy, creator of "Nip/Tuck" (FX, 2003-2010), searched all over North America for actors, musicians and singers for his new show, "Glee," a comedy series that followed a high school choir full of outcasts. Monteith sent in an audition tape that showed off his drumming skills. Producers liked his tape, but not enough to fly him out to Los Angeles. Not one to be deterred, Monteith drove 20 hours to California to convince producers that he was right for the show. And it worked. The actor booked the part just 45 minutes after doing a screen test in front of network executives.On "Glee," Monteith played Finn Hudson, a reluctant jock torn between sports and his love for singing. While he was never a star football player in real life, Monteith said he related more to his character's vulnerability and virtue. In the show's pilot episode, the actor sang REO Speedwagon's 1984 tune "Can't Fight This Feeling," while taking a shower in the school locker room, and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" before the closing credits rolled. Meanwhile, critics loved the show's blend of snarky and sweet humor, and praised the show's stars. Monteith and the series' resident goody two shoes, Lea Michele, landed on Entertainment Weekly's 2009 "Summer Must List" as "Summer's Must Songbirds." The actor also received a 2009 Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice TV: Breakout Star Male.As he continued to star on "Glee," Monteith expanded his horizons with feature roles in the Nicole Kidman-produced romantic comedy "Monte Carlo" (2011), starring Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester, and voice roles on "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989-) and "The Cleveland Show" (Fox, 2009-13). Meanwhile, he reprised Finn for "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie" (2011), which failed to translate ratings into box-office dollars, and appeared as himself on the reality series "The Glee Project" (Oxygen, 2011-12). Though his role on the series kept him in the spotlight, Monteith maintained a relatively low profile in his personal life until late March 2013 when word broke that he had voluntarily checked himself into a treatment facility for substance abuse. Monteith had problems with drug addiction when he dropped out of high school and had previously undergone treatment when he was 19 years old. Both representatives of "Glee" and girlfriend/co-star Lea Michele expressed their support in him seeking help. Unfortunately, Monteith's substance issues caught up with him; he was discovered dead in a Vancouver hotel in July 2013 due to a fatal combination of heroin and alcohol, prompting an outpouring of shock and sadness at a life filled with talent and potential cut so tragically short.