Mike O’Malley Calls Cory Monteith the ‘Real Quarterback on That Set,’ Hopes to Return to ‘Glee’

Mike O'Malley speaks onstage during the "Welcome to the Family" panel at the NBC portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Recurring “Glee” co-star Mike O’Malley has a new full-time job starring on NBC’s new sitcom “Welcome to the Family,” but the actor says he’s planning on doing whatever it takes to make time to return to his former show to honor his on-screen stepson, Cory Monteith, who died July 13 from a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol.

“I hope to [return to ‘Glee’],” O’Malley told reporters Saturday while discussing his new show at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles. “Burt is a very, very important role to me. I’ve said to all of those guys, I’ll work early in the morning, late at night, Saturdays, Sundays — whatever I need to do to participate in not only continuing to be on that show but honoring Cory and his passing and that character.”

“Glee” creator Ryan Murphy has said that the third episode of the upcoming fifth season, the premiere of which was delayed a week following Monteith’s sudden death, will be a tribute to the 31-year-old fallen star.

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O’Malley, who plays Kurt’s father and Finn’s step-father Burt Hummel, has fond memories of his time with Monteith on set. “Many of my scenes on ‘Glee’ were usually with either Chris Colfer or Cory Monteith,” he says. “I think I had what was probably the toughest scene I’ve ever acted in my career opposite him when I had to throw … his character, Finn, out of the house because of a [an anti-gay] slur that he used [against Kurt]. It was remarkable to me when we were shooting that scene over and over again the depth of emotion he was able to portray, the sorrow, the shame.”

He continues, “[Montieth] was the fictional quarterback on that show and he was the very real quarterback on that set. He was an incredibly warm guy; a guy who was welcoming to everybody who came on that show … and he was a very, very hardworking actor. I just loved working with him. He was a great guy and I miss him very much.”

In O’Malley’s new TV “Family,” he plays a dad facing a different kind of challenge in blending families when his college-bound teenage daughter Molly (Ella Rae Peck, “Gossip Girl”) drops a bombshell on her parents: She’s pregnant. The sitcom co-stars Mary McCormack (“In Plain Sight”) as O’Malley’s wife, and Ricardo A. Chavira (“Desperate Housewives”) and Justina Machado (“Six Feet Under,” “ER”) as the equally shocked parents of the teen daddy-to-be Junior (Joseph Haro, “Glee”).

“Welcome to the Family” premieres Oct. 3 and will air Thursdays at 8:30/9:30c on NBC.

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