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Monteith's TV credits included roles on the series "Kaya" and "Kyle XY" and guest appearances on "Smallville," ''Supernatural," ''Stargate," ''Flash Gordon" and "Interns." His film credits included "Final Destination 3," ''The Invisible," ''Deck the Halls" and "Whisper."
His big break came when he submitted an audition tape to the "Glee" producers in Los Angeles and then raced straight down the Pacific Coast in his car from Vancouver when he was invited to meet them in person.
"I nailed it. I knew I nailed it," Monteith recalled about his audition in an interview with Canadian TV columnist Bill Brioux. "When you walk in to the room, the heads of Fox ... of course it's a little unnerving. Then you realize they're all waiting for you. It's kind of flattering in a way."
Monteith was an avid supporter of Project Limelight, a Vancouver charity that offers a theater and arts programs to at-risk youth. He dined with Project Limelight co-founder Maureen Webb at a Vancouver restaurant just days before his death.
In a Globe and Mail interview last year, Monteith credited Webb for suggesting that he enroll in acting classes when he was 19 years old and going down a "very dark path."
He kept in touch with Webb and made a video to support Project Limelight when the charity was launched last year.
"I think kids really need a place to go and feel like they belong," Monteith said in the video posted on Project Limelight's website. "When I was a kid, I struggled a lot with who I was and where my life was going and what I was interested in. And I was fortunate to have the arts inspire me."
Outside Vancouver hotel, fans paid tribute to Monteith by leaving notes, flowers and stuffed animals.
Helen Slater, 16, who was visiting from England, said she was shocked to hear about his death as she placed a note and a stuffed moose because he had once been photographed wearing moose antlers. She called him a "positive influence" and said "Glee" helped change her life.
"Nothing's going to be the same anymore," she said. The show "just put me (through) some really tough times, and helped me through depression a lot."