The Glee cast has dealt through tragedies, deaths and controversies, leading some fans to wonder if the show was cursed. The series, which revived interest in musicals on the small screen, was created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan and ran from 2009 to 2016 on Fox. On Thursday, another tragedy struck the Glee family when Naya Rivera was reported missing.
Rivera was last seen renting a boat for herself and 4-year-old son Josey Hollis at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. After Rivera, 33, was late to return the boat, authorities began searching for her. They discovered her son sleeping in the boat and wearing a life-jacket. Rivera was not found though, and an adult-size life-jacket was left in the boat. Authorities searched until it got dark Wednesday night, then resumed the search on Thursday morning. Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Dyer said the search has shifted to a recovery operation as Rivera is presumed dead.
"That hasn’t changed anything, and the efforts that we’re putting forth to locate her," Dyer said of the recovery operation, reports CBS Los Angeles. "It kind of changes the title in a sense. We’re presuming that an accident happened, and we’re presuming that she drowned in the lake."
Rivera starred on the show as Santana Lopez, appearing in 113 episodes during the show's six-season run. Even while the show was still airing, the actors handled tragedy, with Cory Monteith's death in 2013 changing everything. After the last episode aired two years later, Glee alumni have been at the center of other tragedies and controversies.
Glee made instant stars out of Cory Monteith and Lea Michele. Monteith starred as Finn Hudson, the school quarterback who also had a passion for singing. The actor struggled with substance abuse during his teens and went to rehab at age 19. On July 13, 2013, between production on Seasons 4 and 5, Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room at age 31. The preliminary autopsy found he died from a "mixed drug toxicity" and had heroin and alcohol in his system. The death as ruled accidental. In the series itself, Murphy handled Monteith's death in "The Quarterback," which revealed Finn died, but did not explain how.prevnext
Mark Salling played Noah "Puck" Puckerman on the series and died in January 2018 at age 35. Salling was arrested on child pornography charges in December 2015. In September 2017, he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and agreed to serve between four and seven years in prison. His sentencing was scheduled for March 7, 2018. However, on Jan. 30, 2018, he took his own life in the Sunland area of Los Angeles. Salling, who dated Rivera from 2007 to 2010, was also accused of sexual battery by an ex-girlfriend in 2013, and later settled with her out of court.prevnext
Jim Fuller was an assistant director on Glee. He died in his sleep on Sept. 14, 2013, at age 41. He worked in Hollywood for two decades, serving as an assistant director on Numbers, Monk, Weeds and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as well. "He loved his work and dedicated many hours to the industry," notes Fuller's obituary.prevnext
Death of Becca Tobin's boyfriend Matt Bendik
Becca Tobin joined Glee in 2012 to play Kitty Wilde. Her boyfriend, nightclub owner Matt Bendik, was found dead in a Philadelphia hotel room on July 10, 2014. He was 35. There was reportedly no evidence of drugs or drug paraphernalia in the room, according to TMZ. His family told The Daily Mail they feared a heart attack caused by stress was the cause of death. In December 2016, Tobin married entrepreneur, Zach Martin.prevnext
Jesse Luken's car crash
Jesse Luken, who played Bobby "Boom Boom" Surette in four Glee episodes in 2012, was involved in a single-car crash in Glendale, California in December 2018. He was arrested and charged with a DUI in March 2019. He was released after posting bail. Luken also starred in Justified, Underground, Sirens and SWAT.prevnext
Lea Michele Drama
In early June 2020, amid the protests of systemic racism, Glee star Samantha Marie Ware called out Lea Michele for making life a "living hell" for her while working on the series. Ware retweeted Michele's comment on George Floyd's death and accused Michele of "traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood." In a follow-up interview with Variety, Ware opened up about her relationship with Michele on the show.
"I knew from day one when I attempted to introduce myself," Ware, who joined the show in 2015, recalled. "There was nothing gradual about it. As soon as she decided that she didn’t like me, it was very evident. It was after I did my first performance, that’s when it started -- the silent treatment, the stare-downs, the looks, the comments under her breath, the weird passive-aggressiveness. It all built up."0comments
Michele later apologized, saying that her personal memories of events did not matter, but what did was that she "clearly acted in ways which hurt other people." Michele added, "One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people's perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face."
Ware did not feel the apology was genuine. "All that her apology did was affirm that she hasn’t learned anything," Ware told Variety. "Am I calling Lea a racist? No. Does Lea have racist tendencies? I think Lea suffers from a symptom of living in this world in an industry that is tailored to white people."prev