"Everybody was crying. Everybody was losing control," reveals "Glee" star Cory Monteith about the cast's reaction to filming the third season finale. Many of the students, including Monteith's crooning football jock Finn Hudson, graduated from McKinley High School. He and the other graduating cast members are returning to the show next season, but "it's bittersweet, because you never know on a television show who's gonna be a central part of the storyline and who's not."
"Glee," which won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best TV Comedy Ensemble in 2010, was Monteith's first American screen credit and thus the job that earned him his SAG card. Born and raised in Canada, the actor had previously appeared in several projects filmed north of the border, including "Kyle XY" and "Smallville." Though he portrays a high schooler on the show, in real life he turned 30 in May. He admits about playing a teenager on the FOX comedy: "It's always terrific to play a character that's younger than yourself. It kind of extends your own life in a strange way."
Monteith's own experience as a teenager greatly differed from that of his on-screen counterpart. In his youth, he overcame substance abuse and run-ins with the law. Relating his own experiences to his character on "Glee" he explains, "My own life experience can't not give me perspective on what it is Finn Hudson goes through."
In addition to the "Glee" cast's SAG victory, the series has also won four Golden Globes and six Emmys. "It's always incredible to see the shows and the talent that we're at these award shows with," Monteith says. "It always blows my mind to think about how it was just a FOX pilot that started so humbly a couple of years ago and then winning all these awards and stuff … Sitting at the table, they put you really close to the stage when I think they're sure you're going to win the award or something, so you can kind of feel it in the room when you're six feet from the stage … It's kind of an electricity. It's a very rare feeling. It's good to have felt that."
Monteith has also been on the opposite side of the awards experience, serving as host of the Teen Choice Awards and Canada's Gemini Awards in 2010, and most recently co-hosting the GLAAD Media Awards in 2012 with his "Glee" co-star Naya Rivera. "I love the idea of hosting award shows, so if anybody watching this wants me to host their award show, I'm your guy!"
Since its debut, "Glee" has been on the forefront of bringing awareness to LGBT causes, and the actor has been eager to lend his support: In addition to hosting the GLAAD Awards, he also filmed a 2011 PSA for the "Straight But Not Narrow" campaign, which encourages straight allies to stand for gay rights. "We're going to look back fifty years from now and be shocked that this is what we were having to deal with and having to convince people it's wrong to bigot against people of varying sexualities," he says of the push-back against gay equality. "I think our kids are going to be really confused by us."