Is ‘Glee’ Cursed?
In the past decade, the hit show ‘Glee’ cast has seen three mysterious and shocking deaths. Was there a dark secret behind one of the most joyful series on the air?
The TV series ‘Glee,’ which aired for six seasons from 2009 to 2015, gained national recognition and love for its covers of popular songs, the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community, and iconic characters. Since 2013, the cast has seen four tragic, untimely deaths, along with abuse accusations and being ‘canceled.’
Deaths of the Cast Members
Cory Monteith, best known for his lovable character as Finn Hudson on the show, died of a combination of heroin and alcohol on July 13, 2013, at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver, Canada. He died at 31 years old, right before the show’s fifth season. When he died, he left behind his long-term girlfriend and Glee co-star Lea Michele.
Pictured above: Cory Monteith, aged 31.
Mark Salling, known for his character Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman, was arrested in 2015 after the LAPD found more than 50,000 images of child pornography on his computer. He pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to four to seven years in prison, along with being required to register as a sex offender, pay restitution, and abide by living restrictions. After his sentencing, Salling committed suicide by hanging and was found dead a few miles away from his home in Sunland-Tujunga in Los Angeles. He was 35 years old.
Salling’s death was controversial for ‘Glee’ fans, as he was convicted of receiving and distributing over 50,000 images of child pornography.
Becca Tobin joined the cast in the start of its fourth season in 2011. She played head cheerleader ‘Kitty’ for the remainder of the series. Her late boyfriend, Matt Bendik, was found dead inside Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia on July 10, 2014. While his cause of death was never confirmed; it was rumored that he died of a heart attack due to work stress, as no drugs were found in his hotel room.
Pictured above: Tobin with late boyfriend Bendik.
Naya Rivera’s cause of death, however, is still being debated. The 33-year-old actress played sassy and quick-witted cheerleader Santana Lopez on the show. Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey rented a boat on Lake Piru on July 8, 2020. When only her son was found on the boat by a lake official, Rivera was declared a missing person. They found her body a few days later, stating the official cause of death was drowning. Her son recalled that Rivera lifted him up to the boat before she screamed for help, and then disappeared into the water. Although she was a strong swimmer, Rivera declined to wear a life jacket, and it was later revealed that 26 people had died by drowning in the same lake since it opened. Her disappearance and death shocked the nation. Glee fans began to wonder if the show was cursed.
Pictured above: Naya Rivera
Conspiracies Surrounding the ‘Glee Curse’
In an uproar from social media users, especially Glee fan accounts on Twitter, many have speculated that the show has some sort of evil curse following it. Besides the tragic deaths that occurred, a list was compiled of all the horrible things or events that have happened to the cast, including Melissa Benoist escaping an abusive relationship with fellow cast member Blake Jenner, and nude photos of female stars leaked.
There were many speculations that many of the cast members suffered from serious mental health issues, and used coping mechanisms such as alcohol, drugs, and wild behavior to cope. Others wondered whether some sort of satanic curse was put on the cast of Glee.
One theorist even noticed that in the show, each Glee actor predicted their own death via singing a song: Monteith rapped about being ‘drug-free’ in “Good Vibrations,” Salling rapped ‘he hung himself’ while singing “Loser,” and Rivera sang ‘sink me in the river’ when she sang “If I Die Young.”
Let’s Talk about Lea
Lea Michele played Broadway-bound diva Rachel Berry, arguably the best singer on the show. She was open about how hard Monteith’s death was for her, and how that negatively impacted being on the show. However, recent allegations have come out that she almost mirrors her entitled character. Yes, she is very, very talented, but her treatment of fellow cast members in the past, especially of those who had minor roles, were pretty harsh. In 2020, Samantha Ware, a Glee co-star from the later seasons, tweeted that Michele was racist towards her and that she made her experience on Glee much less than ideal. Other ex-cast members supported Ware, including Amber Riley and Melissa Benoist.
Michele was eventually ‘canceled,’ prompting her to issue an apology to the public. She has since then stayed out of the public eye and even deleted her social media accounts for a while.