Cory Monteith will receive a special memorial tribute during Sunday night’s Emmy Award, but some critics say the tragic death of the young star does not make up for a lighter body of work.
Monteith was one of a number of celebrities who died in 2013 who will be honored on Sunday, and he is set to be included in a longer tribute that also includes actors James Gandolfini, Jean Stapleton, and Jonathan Winters and writer-producer Gary David Goldberg.
Some in Hollywood have argued that Cory Monteith does not have the body of work to be placed alongside such long-serving actors.
“The unspoken, uncomfortable truth of the matter is that while the work he did on Glee showed great promise, it was not equal to the incredible careers the other four amassed,” wrote Andrew Wallenstein, the editor-in-chief for the digital version of Variety.
Wallenstein added that the memorial for Monteith, who died in July of a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol, smacks of an attempt to cater to younger viewers.
“By putting Monteith in this elite group, the Academy is risking having its honorable intentions misconstrued as using the actor’s memory to cater to the younger audiences that are in decreasingly short supply for award shows these days,” he wrote.
Others agree. The son of late actor Jack Klugman said he was hurt that Monteith was singled out for a special 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.”
The 31-year-old Monteith was best known for his role as Finn Hudson on the Fox musical Glee. He had appearances in a number of movies and the television series Kyle XY, but no major movie or television roles outside of Glee.
Emmy producers have defended the choice of Cory Monteith for a tribute, saying the decision was a “rather personal one” and admitting that “Cory’s appeal was to maybe a little different generation” but that he still needed to be represented.