The Price of Glee: 6 Tragic Takeaways and Biggest Bombshells

Investigation Discovery's three-part docuseries explores the fates of Cory Monteith, Mark Salling, Naya Rivera and Lea Michele—just without any input from their former co-stars.

By EOL Staff Jan 17, 2023 10:14 PMTags
Watch: Naya Rivera's Dad Speaks Out in The Price of Glee Docuseries Trailer

Here's what you missed on The Price of Glee.

According to Investigation Discovery's new three-part docuseries that premiered Jan. 16, the cast and crew of Ryan Murphy's Glee paid the ultimate price to achieve fame in the 2010s.

"By 2020, all of them would be famous," read an introductory slate. "And three would be dead."

Those three are, of course, Cory Monteith, Mark Salling and Naya Rivera, all of whom died within 11 years of the Fox musical dramedy's premiere in May 2009. The Emmy-winning series aired its series finale in March 2015.

Unfortunately, none of their surviving castmates were involved in The Price of Glee, relegating lesser crew members and pop culture reporters to explain the show's alleged behind-the-scenes drama, secrets and tragedies. Still, the docuseries was not without its revelations—even if they were more of a cover than an original recording.

The Price of Glee is now available to stream on Discovery+.

Glee: Where Are They Now?

Here are the biggest bombshells and tragic takeaways from The Price of Glee:

Glee Crew

In addition to the deaths of Cory Monteith, Mark Salling and Naya RiveraThe Price of Glee detailed at least five more sudden deaths within the crew.

According to the doc, second team lead and background wrangler Jim Fuller and a "lead prop guy" named Paul died from heart attacks, Mark Watson, a "main stand-in" for Matthew Morrison, died in a "car fire" and production assistant Nancy Motes died by suicide.

Rigging gaffer J.A. Byerly disclosed that his brother and co-worker also committed suicide after the show's end.

"On the rigging crew, you are constantly working daily...we don't win the Emmys, but we're the ones who make it happen," Byerly shared. "The intenseness of the show, I think, got to my brother." 

Cory Monteith and Lea Michele

Some of the crew—including a set decorator and an assistant to the executive producer—admitted they were surprised Cory and Lea started dating in real life.

"I did not understand the two of them together," executive assistant Garrett Greer said. "I had friends who lived in New York and grew up with Lea, so I was very aware of her reputation. She had a rep for being a little bit difficult."

Set decorator Barbara Munch corroborated Greer's statement, adding, "I found that interesting that they ended up together. I was really very surprised."

The Show Must Go On

Following Cory Monteith's sudden death, Lea Michele allegedly made the main decision to resume filming.

"It was only a couple of weeks. All of the actors just had to pull themselves together and get back to work," Naya Rivera's stand-in Jodi Tanaka revealed. "Everyone was just kind of forced to."

"It probably would've been better to just, you know, end the show," actor Stephen Kramer Glickman added. "But there's no possible way they were going to do that. The show was like a giant, massive money machine."

Ryan Murphy previously admitted he wished the show handled Monteith's death differently.

Glee Cast

Apparently, the castmates were rivals when it came to stardom off-camera just like their characters.

"I would oftentimes see the actors gathered talking about how many people they acquired as followers, and it was a competition," hair department head Dugg Kirkpatrick recalled. "In the beginning, they had to tweet every day. It was Lea who really had the numbers."

Journalist Andy Swift added, "The fighting began almost immediately."

Cory Monteith and Fame

Monteith's former roommate Justin Neill made several revelations about the late actor's history with addiction and mental health issues.

"He just got to the point where he just hated fame, 'I'm just so tired, I want to rest for a bit. I'm sick of singing of these songs,'" he shared. "I remember him specifically saying, 'I wouldn't wish fame on my worst enemy.'"

"I'd seen the fame, but I didn't realize how hard it was for him until then," Neill shared. "I think with that level of fame, you lose sight of who you are. To every single person, he wasn't Cory anymore. He was now Finn. We just knew he wasn't in the best place."

Kirkpatrick also detailed an alleged conversation he shared with Monteith prior to his death. "He wasn't drinking, he didn't have any drugs in his system," he noted. "And then the very last couple of days that I saw him, he was different. He was under the influence of alcohol."

Naya Rivera's Passing

Rivera's father George Rivera admitted he had a "sinking feeling" that day in July 2020 when Naya went to Lake Piru with her son, Josey.

"I knew immediately when I got the phone call in Knoxville that it was over with," George recalled. "You don't find a drifting 5-year-old child asleep on a boat at the end of a lake without his mother and have any hope. I had no hope."

Latest News