Esquire Malaysia + Esquire Singapore, October 2013
Live fast, die young
As Cory Monteith has shown, demons might come knocking on your door, but it’s up to you whether you let them in.
By Sophia Goh
It’s sadly apt that this issue is called the Angels and Demons issue, because October also happens to be the month that hit television series Glee is scheduled to screen their tribute episode to the late Cory Monteith.
An adored member of the Glee (and Gleek) family, Monteith a.k.a. the beloved Finn Hudson was a hardworking, beautiful human being, according to his co-stars. That wasn’t unusual, if you’ll pardon our cynicism – it’s practically an unspoken rule that actors praise their fellow thespians to the press. But Monteith was also an incredibly generous, kind actor, according to the media, someone who was always courteous, humble and respectful, who carefully listened to questions and gave thoughtful answers no matter how many times he had to repeat himself. That, in case you are wondering, is very unusual. Monteith was a wonderful person, of that there is no doubt, but tragically, this angel was also an addict who battled his, well, demons right to his untimely and far too premature end. On 13 July 2013, Monteith died alone in a hotel room in Canada from an accidental drug overdose. He was 31.
In the immediate aftermath, Glee creator Ryan Murphy shared that “the right thing to do for the show, at least at this point, is to have [Finn Hudson] pass.” A few weeks later, show bosses revealed that they planned to deal directly with the issue of drug abuse, both in the storyline and also in the form of public service announcements filmed by the cast.
Angels and demons. Too quickly we like to think of them as two opposing and separate entities. Good and bad. White and black. But as Monteith has shown, they perfectly summed up his on-screen persona and off-screen life. The great guy on the outside whom everyone never had a bad word to say about; and the dark secret inside that would eventually, albeit unintentionally, take his life.
“Cory was a big, open, wonderful life force. He was not a problem,” FOX Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly said during a Television Critics Association panel in August. “Everybody loved him. He didn’t look like [an addict]; he looked straight as an arrow.”
That was precisely it – looks can be deceiving. We all know that in our heads, of course, but ever so often, an incident like Monteith’s passing makes it strike home in our hearts. We need that because, the truth is, we’re forgetful people. There are angels, there are demons, and sometimes, they are the same person. But it’s not just a message for dealing with those around us. Stop and take a look in the mirror – because this can also be a reminder that deep within, there might be an angel and a demon inside of you and me too.
Rest in peace, Cory Monteith. You too, Finn Hudson.