Did you watch the memorials for five late TV stars on last night’s Emmy Awards? And did you notice any names missing?
The Hollywood Reporter documents the controversial decision by Emmy producers to include the late Canadian actor Cory Monteith as one of five celebrities warranting an extended “In Memoriam” tribute on Sunday night’s Emmys broadcast.
Best known for his role on the series Glee, Monteith passed away last July at the age of 31. A subsequent autopsy revealed he died of “mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol.”
The inclusion of Monteith into the hallowed group of five stirred up a ruckus in the days leading up to the Emmys broadcast. Some Hollywood insiders felt Monteith’s memorial spot should have gone to Dallas star Larry Hagman, while others made the case for The Odd Couple’s Jack Klugman.
Monteith’s eulogy was delivered by his Glee co-star Jane Lynch midway through the three-hour Emmys show. Among other accolades, Lynch said, “Cory was a beautiful soul, he was not perfect, which many of us here tonight can relate to.”
More pointedly, Lynch used the occasion to underscore the evils of substance abuse as it pertained to Monteith: “His death is a tragic reminder of the rapacious, senseless destruction that is brought on by addiction,” said Lynch.
The other Emmy memorials went to comic actor Jonathan Winters, who was eulogized by Robin Williams; actress Jean Stapleton, feted by her former All in the Family co-star Rob Reiner; producer Gary David Goldberg, honoured by Michael J. Fox; and actor James Gandolfini, remembered by Edie Falco, his co-star on The Sopranos.
Last night’s Emmys also featured a prepackaged rundown of other TV notables who passed away over the past 12 months, including Dennis Farina, Bonnie Franklin, Andy Williams and, yes, Hagman and Klugman.
On Saturday, Klugman’s son Adam said his father’s omission from the higher-profile TV memorials was “criminal” and accused the TV academy of pandering to younger viewers by including Monteith.
On Sunday, Monteith’s mother, Ann McGregor, brushed off Klugman’s displeasure and said that if her son had “lived 30 more years, he would have accomplished more.”
Whatever the case, the long goodbye for Monteith just keeps rolling, with more eulogizing slated for the near future.
The Fox Network recently revealed that the Oct. 10 episode of Glee will be titled “The Quarterback” and will be wholly devoted to Monteith’s departure from the show. Monteith played the singing quarterback Finn Hudson on the musical-comedy series.
“Cory’s character will be written off and the tribute episode will deal directly with drug addiction and the circumstances surrounding Cory’s death,” said Fox entertainment chairman Kevin O’Reilly.
As well, the cast and creators of Glee have agreed to film public service spots on the perils of drug addiction and proceeds from the third episode of the show’s upcoming fifth season will go toward starting a new fund for the late actor.