Jul 14

a quick thought about cory montieth

Yesterday, a friend of mine in Vancouver texted me that there was a rumor that a “Hollywood actor” had been found dead in town. I was out with some friends in LA. I sent a few quick texts to my actor friends whose shows film up in Van, and they all wrote back right away that they were fine, and I was relieved. Then I got another text: Cory Monteith.  

I never covered “Glee” very extensively when I was a TV reporter, but I did cover it on occasion, particularly in the first couple of years that the show was on the air. When I was brand new to the business, so was “Glee.” They used to throw parties a couple times a year in LA to promote the show, and that was back when I was so excited to get invited to fancy LA parties (basically, before I had a dog and realized I don’t like going out). I’d be nervous and weird and so so so excited, every time.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is this. When you’re a member of the press (however loosely you use that term) some actors are nice to you because you’re a member of the press. They do exactly the bare minimum that they’re supposed to do: They answer two questions and then they move along, they never remember your name, and the whole time they’re talking to you you can just tell that they’re itching to be done talking to you so that they can go stand in the roped-off VIP section and… do whatever people do in roped-off sections.

And that’s fine. At a party to promote a show, it’s not an actor’s job to make a reporter feel like their new BFF. It’s an actor’s job to promote their show, and then go back to their actual life. 

Cory Monteith wasn’t ever like that. When nobody knew who I was and I had 12 Twitter followers and was two weeks into my first real job in that field, he was nice to me. And not just obligatory-nice. He was happy to take pics and never made you feel like an asshole for asking. When he went to get a drink, he asked if anyone else wanted anything, and came back for more conversation. When you were done asking him questions, he asked you questions. He patiently endured long awkward pauses while I figured out how to work my flip-cam. He remembered my name. He never stood in the roped-off section.

 At the time I was a newbie. Now, after four years of being a TV reporter, let me tell you… there are very, very few lead actors on hit TV shows who are like Cory Monteith. Like, almost none. And that’s okay! They work hard to get roped-off-section access. But at those parties and events, it’s a breath of fresh air to talk to someone and not feel like you’re standing between them and the thing they’d rather be doing. Cory went out of his way to be kind and that’s a rare thing, not just in the industry or in Hollywood, but in 2013 in general.

When we got the news, I was sitting with a bunch of friends, many of whom are TV reporters. E!, TVGuide, TVLine, THR — we were all together, and we all kept saying the same thing: He was such a good guy. None of us knew him personally or spent any time with him outside of work, but the impression that he’d left on all of us was strong and good. The fantastic Kristin Dos Santos over at E!, who spent far more time with Cory than I ever did, wrote this nice piece.

I guess what I’m saying is that if you are a fan of Cory Monteith you have good taste and it’s okay to be very sad today. It’s okay to mourn someone you didn’t know — empathy is a good thing. Don’t let people make you feel embarrassed for that. I’m not. He was good and this is sad.