- Ryan Murphy opened up about the “Glee” tribute episode to Cory Monteith after he died in 2013.
- Murphy said the tribute was filmed “too soon” after the actor’s death.
- Murphy said he should have ended “Glee” after Monteith’s death because there was no way to recover.
“Glee” creator Ryan Murphy said that he should have ended the show after Cory Monteith died in 2013.
On July 13, 2013, “Glee” male lead Monteith died of an overdose at the age of 31 following multiple rehab stints. Just under three months after his death, Fox aired “The Quarterback,” a tribute episode to Monteith that included all of the cast.
However, in the latest episode of the “That’s What You Really Missed” podcast, Murphy told hosts Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz that in hindsight, he shouldn’t have asked the cast to film a tribute episode so soon.
“I thought a lot about that recently, and I would not have done that [episode] now,” Murphy said. “I felt like it was way too raw and way too soon.”
He continued: “If I could do it all over again, knowing now what I do know, I probably would’ve said, ‘You know what? We’re gonna take a year off and then we’re gonna check in and see.’ But all of us did know that when that happened, our hearts all kind of broke. And we were all kind of done. The spirit and joy of it has left the building.”
Later, Murphy added that he would have not asked the cast to come back to the show.
“Now, if this had happened, I would be like, ‘That’s the end,’” Murphy said. “Because you can’t really recover from something like that.”
Murphy also opened up about his reaction to Monteith’s death. The award-winning writer said that he was “in such a blur of grief” because he thought Monteith was getting better after an intervention about his addiction.
“He seemed to have gotten through it in a good way,” Murphy recalled. “And then I went off to make ‘The Normal Heart,’ and was always talking to him every day. He came to the set of ‘The Normal Heart’ to be with me. He was like my child. And I remember thinking, ‘Oh my god, thank god he made it. Thank god he’s gonna be okay.’”
Murphy continued: “He came to Fire Island and he spent time with me. I remember thinking, of all odds, he’s gonna be okay. And then two or three days later, he died. It was very unexpected.”
After Monteith died, Murphy said there were discussions about whether to cancel the show but he had to factor in the jobs of the crew “who’s been with us from day one.” He said he even asked Lea Michele, who dated Monteith from 2012 until his death in 2013, for her opinion.
“We decided to pay tribute to him,” he said. “It was something that I remember even then thinking, ‘Okay, well if we’re gonna do these, people are gonna have a lot of feelings.’”
Murphy said that he gave everyone the choice of whether to participate in the episode and what to perform. He said he even provided a grief counselor that no one ended up using.
Ushkowitz and McHale, who starred in the series, said they felt obligated to participate in the episode since no one wanted to be the one person who didn’t participate.
“It just felt like an impossible corner we were all put in,” Ushkowitz said.