‘Price of Glee’ trailer touches on role of fame in the deaths of three ‘Glee’ actors


A new trailer for “The Price of Glee,” a three-part limited series about the Fox series “Glee,” discusses the role fame played in the deaths of three actors from the hit TV show.

In the 11 years following the series’ May 2009 debut, three of the show’s main actors died, the trailer for the Investigation Discovery documentary underscores in its opening seconds.

As dramatic music crescendos, the trailer flashes images of a makeshift memorial for Cory Monteith, who died at 31 from a drug overdose in 2013; scenes of Lake Piru, where Naya Rivera died at 33 in 2020; and a photo of Mark Salling, who died by suicide in 2018.

“I don’t want to say the ‘C-word,’ the ‘curse’ word, but that’s where your mind goes,” one interview subject says.

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The trailer introduces themes of fame and media attention thrust on the young stars who broke out with “Glee.” Seemingly overnight, as the popularity of Ryan Murphy‘s Fox series exploded, the newcomers became household names.

“The bigger the show went, the smaller their worlds become,” another interviewee says.

Later, the same interviewee says his first reaction to their deaths was “blame” and that he “still feels like there’s someone to blame.”


The surviving starring cast members of the show are notably absent from the trailer, though Rivera’s father appears and remarks, “Fame can be poisonous.”

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“I knew that was the top of the mountain for Naya, for your kid,” George Rivera says. “It was just surreal.”

Naya Rivera, who played cheerleader Santana Lopez, drowned in Lake Piru in July 2020 after saving her then-4-year-old son while the pair boated together.

Monteith, who starred as Finn Hudson, a high school football star-turned-gleek, was the first cast member to die. In 2013, he was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room from an accidental overdose of alcohol and heroin.

“Fame was hard for him,” one of Monteith’s friends told People after his death. “It was something he knew he deserved but somehow he never quite knew how to handle.”

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Perhaps the most controversial of the deceased cast members was Salling, who in late 2015 was arrested on suspicion of receiving and possessing child pornography.

Salling, who played football jock Noah “Puck” Puckerman, died by suicide in early 2018. It was just days before his sentencing and after he had pleaded guilty to the charges.

Co-star Heather Morris defended Salling in a series of tweets in 2020, writing, “We did not just lose 2 cast members, we lost 3. And it is SO incredible tough to have to act like that 3rd one is invisible, because even though his actions are unjustifiable, he was a part of our family at one point and he was mentally SICK.”

Morris has since walked back her comments, which drew outrage when she seemed to excuse Salling’s actions by saying “pedophilia is a sickness.”

The three-part docuseries will premiere Jan. 16 on ID.