A subdued, grieving Jane Lynch remembered her “Glee” castmate Cory Monteith as “a great guy” and “a real giver” who once flew across the country just to visit a sick child who wanted to meet him.
Lynch, who plays gym teacher Sue Sylvester on the Fox series, became the first “Glee” cast member to talk about Monteith on a talk show when she appeared Wednesday night on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
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She had been scheduled to appear on “Tonight” long before Monteith, 31, died last weekend in a Vancouver hotel room from a lethal combination of alcohol and heroin, according to a subsequent autopsy.
Lynch was booked on “Tonight” to promote her summer series “Hollywood Game Night,” which premiered last Thursday (July 11). But she went ahead with the “Tonight Show” appearance even though it would inevitably turn to the tragic subject of Monteith’s death.
“I want to commend you for being here tonight,” Jay Leno said to Lynch after she came on-stage. “I know you’re a real pro and this has been a really tough week for the whole ‘Glee’ family because you lost Cory Monteith and I was very sorry to hear about that. I never met him. Tell me about your friend.”
“Cory’s one of the biggest hearts, uh, was a real bright light,” said Lynch, who seemed to struggle to contain her emotions. “He was one of those guys [who] knew he was breathing rarefied air, the gifts that this show, this wonderful show gave us. And he was one of those guys [who] was always aware that it was a gift and he was quite generous and one of those adventurous types of people.
“I always admired how he would get up, you know, he’d fly to Mexico [and] he’d throw parties for his friends and I don’t think he left one day unlived. He was a real bright light in our family. We’ve lost a really great guy.”
“How would you like people to remember him?” Leno asked.
“He once flew across the country on his own nickel to meet with a sick kid whose last wish was to meet him,” Lynch said. “That’s the kind of guy he was. He was just a real giver.”