Cory Monteith in 2010. (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)

“This sounds really cliché, but it’s true — it’s the high school experience I always wanted. Where we’re all growing into this new life together and figuring it all out as we go. . . I’d come home from fifth, sixth grade, and I’d watch ‘Saved by the Bell’ and be like, ‘I hope my high school experience is like that.’ And it totally wasn’t. It sucked.”

— Cory Monteith on his experience shooting TV’s “Glee” and the contrast with his own hard-luck childhood, in a 2010 interview with GQ. A high school dropout from a broken home, the actor was neither a singer nor an athlete when cast as McKinley High’s crooning quarterback; he was also, at 27, more than a decade older than character Finn Hudson. But he seemed to have a healthy attitude about his sudden catapult to fame (“I realize that this happens to an actor about once every 10 lifetimes,” he told Maclean’s); and told the Associated Press he was neither fearful of the paparazzi attention (“I’m kind of boring”) nor cancellation: “I’ve never been afraid of working. . . I was happy (before ‘Glee’). I’m happy now. I guess I’m well adjusted.” He was also very open about the teenage drug problem that nearly killed him, telling Parade two years ago, “For those people who might give up: Get real about what you want and go after it. If I can, anyone can.” Monteith, who surprised fans with a trip to rehab in March, was found dead Saturday in a hotel room in his native Vancouver. Here is his obituary: Cory Monteith, “Glee” actor, dies at 31
Also: Cory Monteith’s most memorable ‘Glee’ performances

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