James Lipton Pays Tribute to Cory Monteith

James Lipton Pays Tribute to Cory Monteith

"We needed Cory's gifts," the Inside the Actors Studio host says of the late Glee star.

By Kevin O'Donnell

Hollywood lost one of its most promising talents on July 13: Cory Monteith, star of the smash drama Glee, was found dead in a Vancouver, BC hotel room at the age of 31.

Monteith, whose cause of death has not yet been determined, had struggled with addiction for years, but seemingly overcame his demons when he was cast on the FOX show. As the character Finn Hudson, Monteith played a slightly awkward jock who found solace in the school's singing club—and wowed millions of fans with his gifts for crooning.

James Lipton actually appeared on one episode of the show playing himself. And the Inside the Actors Studio remembers the experience fondly.

"When I appeared as myself on Glee [in 2012], I auditioned Cory's character, Finn, for the Actors Studio Drama School—and rejected him," Lipton says. "That's the way [show creator] Ryan Murphy wrote it. I would have admitted him—in a New York Minute."

The Glee cast also appeared on an episode of Actors Studio and Lipton recalls Monteith's chilling response to the Pearly Gates question.

"Of course you’ll want to know how Cory responded when I asked him the question, 'If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?,'" Lipton recalls. "Cory’s God said, 'Uh, sorry I haven't been around. There’s a good explanation.'"

"I certainly hope there is," Lipton adds. "We needed Cory’s gifts."

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