Cory Monteith tribute at Emmy Awards stirs up controversy
Published Saturday, September 21, 2013 10:28AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 21, 2013 2:50PM EDT
The decision to include Cory Monteith among the entertainment professionals receiving a special memorial tribute during Sunday night’s Emmy Awards has sparked controversy, with some industry insiders questioning whether the 'Glee' star had the body of work to warrant the tribute.
Monteith, along with actors James Gandolfini, Jean Stapleton, Jonathan Winters and writer-producer Gary David Goldberg, will be singled out during Sunday's show with a lengthier tribute, in addition to the all-inclusive in memoriam segment.
However, an editorial published this week in Variety -- a leading entertainment-trade magazine -- argues that to be included in the special segment, an actor should have a body of work that's "head and shoulders above his peers.”
"The unspoken, uncomfortable truth of the matter is that while the work (Monteith) did on 'Glee' showed great promise, it was not equal to the incredible careers the other four amassed," wrote Variety's digital editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein.
The son of the late actor Jack Klugman – a three-time Emmy winner who starred in the 'The Odd Couple' and 'Quincy' – said he was insulted that Monteith was chosen for the tribute when his father wasn't.
"My dad was at the inception of television and helped build it in the early days," Adam Klugman told The Associated Press. "(Monteith) was a kid who had won no Emmys."
Emmy producers have acknowledged controversy, saying the in memoriam selections are often debated.
“It was a rather personal choice,” Emmy executive producer Ken Ehrlich said during a recent conference call with reporters. “Cory’s appeal was to maybe a little different generation from some of the others we were honoring, and we felt maybe he needed to be represented.
“The fact that at 31, he passed away under tragic circumstances, the fact that we felt it was important to be responsive to younger viewers for whom Cory meant as much as these four others meant to their own generations.”
Moneith was found dead in Vancouver hotel room last July after overdosing on heroin and alcohol.
The Canadian-born actor had admitted himself into a treatment facility earlier in the year for substance addiction and had asked for privacy as he took steps toward recovery.