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What Happened To The Cast Of Glee?

From 2009 to 2016, Fox's "Glee" made its mark as one of the most popular TV shows on the air. From tumultuous teenaged drama to real-life adult issues, "Glee" somehow managed to cover it all to the beat of many hit songs. 

Through six seasons, the show followed a core group of students from the McKinley High School's glee club, New Directions. With guidance from their instructor Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), the students of New Directions had a shot to not only win a national singing competition but to even earn some popularity along the way. Despite the best effort of glee club's nemesis, Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), the underdogs of McKinley found friendship, love, and a passion for the arts in the unexpected twists and turns of this primetime TV drama.

"Glee" earned an outstanding 86 awards and 209 award nominations during its time on the air, but since then, what's happened to the talented actors who brought the show to life? What have they been doing since the series ended? From great success to great tragedy, let's find out what happened to the cast of "Glee."

Lea Michele (Rachel Berry)

During her time on "Glee," breakout star Lea Michele portrayed the hyper-competitive, Broadway-obsessed Rachel Berry. While a certain level of determination and drive was required for show biz, Rachel took things to an entirely new level. It was, more often than not, difficult to watch as Rachel continued to destroy relationships and opportunities for the sake of her own potential stardom. 

Previous to "Glee," Lea Michele didn't have much in the way of career credits, with just two credited roles before her portrayal of the high school diva. But as the series moved through its later seasons, Michele began branching out into other TV shows. Many of these roles were single-episode appearances in programs like "The Simpsons," "The Cleveland Show," and "Sons of Anarchy." But when "Glee" wrapped in 2015, Michele was on to bigger and better things. The singing star landed a leading role on Fox's "Scream Queens" for two seasons, ABC's "The Mayor" for one season, and ABC's TV movie "Same Time, Next Christmas." The actress also had several studio records released between 2014 and 2021, including a Christmas album.

Off-camera, Lea Michele married her now-husband Zandy Reich in 2019. The two have one child, Ever Leo Reich, together, who was born in 2020. However, her life hasn't been free of controversy. Despite a seemingly steady career, Michele came under fire in 2020 after multiple costars from "Glee," "Scream Queens," "The Mayor," and other productions spoke out against alleged bullying and mistreatment from the actress.

Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester)

Starring as Sue Sylvester, Jane Lynch was arguably one of the funniest members of "Glee." Sue was the vindictive cheerleading coach of McKinley who was hell-bent on destroying the glee club, a goal of hers that eventually turned into a running joke on the show. Her insulting tirades to Mr. Schuester and attempts to bring down the singing club went all for all six seasons to the enjoyment of millions at home. 

As for Lynch herself, she began her acting career in 1988 and has kept herself incredibly busy since. Since "Glee" ended in 2015, she's racked up an impressive list of credits on a number of TV shows, movies, and podcasts. Some of her most notable roles post "Glee" include Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and Hulu's "Only Murders in the Building." In Netflix's "Space Force" she plays a role very similar to Sue Sylvester, starring as the salty and snarky Chief of Naval Operations. In addition to all that, she has a wide variety of voice acting credits for children's shows and movies, including "Ralph Breaks the Internet." 

In other words, Lynch hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. Her impressive career has earned her award after award, and a world without her talent is a world not worth occupying. 

Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester)

Matthew Morrison's portrayal of William Schuester was one for the books. Mr. Schuester was the lovable teacher who was understanding, supportive, and creative with his students. As reviver of the high school's lowly glee club, Mr. Schuester was determined to keep arts a priority for the school's underdogs. But before Morrison was leading McKinley's misfit club, he was on his way to make a name for himself on TV. 

Dating back to 1997, Morrison has accrued a number of acting credits on shows like "Sex and the City," "Law and Order: Criminal Intent," "As the World Turns," "CSI: Miami," and many others. Since "Glee" ended, Morrison has gone one to guest star in a number of successful TV franchises, most notably "The Good Wife," "Grey's Anatomy," and "American Horror Story." He even managed to reprise his singing talent to bring a little Christmas cheer to the world in 2019 when he starred as the Grinch in "Dr. Seuss' the Grinch Musical." 

However, some are speculating that the infamous curse of "Glee" recently came back to haunt Morrison. It was reported June 1, 2022 that Morrison was fired as a judge from "So You Think You Can Dance" after "inappropriate" texts were sent to a female contestant. 

Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson)

From day one of "Glee," Cory Monteith was a key player on the show with his role as Finn Hudson. At the start of the series, Finn was the quarterback of McKinley High's football team and dating the head cheerleader. But when he joined the glee club, his status around school was soon disrupted. Monteith's character was sweet and a little dorky, but he always had a way of warming our hearts. His acting career started back in 2007 with single-episode appearances on a string of TV shows. He soon escalated to small roles in movies like "The Invisible" and eventually made his way to recurring roles in larger shows a la "Kaya" and "Kyle XY."

Monteith played his role as Finn from 2009 until his unexpected death in 2013. The 31-year-old actor was found dead in a hotel room after ingesting a lethal combination of drugs and alcohol. After news broke of his death, "Glee" paid a heartfelt tribute to one of its starring characters by adding the death of Finn to the show. Monteith's mother, Ann McGregor, began a nonprofit organization known as Cory's Law "to continue Cory's legacy of helping others, giving back and supporting young people by providing opportunities through performing arts." 

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Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel)

Chris Colfer will probably always be best known for his time on "Glee" as Kurt Hummel. As one of the only openly gay students at McKinley, Kurt embraced his unique style and unmatched singing skills as one of the glee club's founding members. Prior to playing Kurt, Colfer had only acquired one other acting role in the 2009 movie "Russel Fish: The Sausage and Eggs Incident." 

Since finishing "Glee," Colfer has remained relatively off-screen compared to other members of the series, with only five acting credits. However, the actor began writing children's and young adult novels in 2012, and his most popular series, "The Land of Stories," offers 12 books that are based on Grimm's folk and fairy tales. In between the magic, he ventured into writing two young adult novels, "Stranger than Fanfiction" and "Struck by Lightning." Two of Colfer's "The Land of Stories" books have landed him a spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List

You may also know Colfer's longtime boyfriend, Will Sherrod, from a few later episodes of "Glee" too. Sherrod made small appearances as a student at NYADA, a fictional New York college made just for the show. The two have been dating since 2013.

Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams)

Kevin McHale played the slightly nerdy-looking Artie Abrams, one of New Directions' starting singers. Artie often delivered some of the quippiest one-liners throughout the show and had an interesting dynamic with many other characters. Before becoming the cinephile of McKinley High, McHale played a number of minor roles on shows like NBC's "The Office," Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101," and HBO's "True Blood." 

Since then, he's kept up a steady career in the entertainment industry with several TV appearances. In 2019, he competed in "The X Factor: Celebrity," but unfortunately, he was eliminated before taking home any winning titles. Most recently, he appeared in an episode of the anthology series "American Horror Stories," the spinoff of "American Horror Story." Along with a few TV credits, McHale still continues to utilize that golden voice that earned him a spot in "Glee." In 2019, he released his first solo album "Boy," which only included five songs, along with a couple of self-released singles. Currently, McHale hosts Dash Radio's "Sick of My Own Voice" weekly radio show. 

Naya Rivera (Santana Lopez)

The savage and ever-talented Santana Lopez was brought to life by Naya Rivera. Santana, a member of McKinley's Cheerios cheer squad, had the voice of an angel but the temperament of a god. While her snarky and witty monologues kept most of us struggling to keep up, they were incredibly well-written for the actress, creating a fiery dynamic between Santana and most of the other characters. Of course, Rivera had quite the list of credits before her time as Santana. Her early '90s and 2000s credits included shows like "The Royal Family," "Family Matters," and "The Bernie Mac Show," among many others. 

In the years after "Glee," Rivera starred in a few TV shows and movies, with credits including "Devious Maids," "Mad Families," and "Step Up: High Water." Rivera also voiced Catwoman for the two-part animated movie "Batman: The Long Halloween" before her death, with both films utilizing the actress' voice posthumously. Tragically, as all "Glee" fans know, Rivera died by accidental drowning at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California, in 2020, which came as a horrible shock. The actress is survived by her young son Josey Hollis Dorsey, who was with her at Lake Piru.

Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang)

Tina Cohen-Chang, played by Jenna Ushkowitz, can only be described as one of the most developed characters in "Glee." In the first season, Tina was the shy, stuttering, goth outcast who found the glee club as a talent outlet. By the end of the show, Tina had moved up to be a colorful, lively, and outspoken singer. As for the actress, when "Glee" started, Ushkowitz was relatively unknown. Her credits consisted of uncredited roles in Nickelodeon's "Little Bill" and Disney Channel's "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody."

Ushkowitz's post-"Glee" career has consisted of more serious roles in independent films like "Yellow Fever," "Hello Again," and "1 Night in San Diego." She's also been active on the stage, starring in the Broadway production of "Waitress." She was also involved in the incredibly intensive "24 Hour Plays" — where plays are developed, rehearsed, and put on in, yep, 24 hours. Plus, she made her directorial debut in 2022 with her short film "The Dinner Party," where a family gets together but the night turns chaotic when an unexpected guest arrives. 

Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones)

Let's be real for a second — Rachel Berry was a talented singer but she had nothing on the fabulous Mercedes Jones. Mercedes was played by the talented Amber Riley and she had a knack for vocally out-singing most other performers on "Glee." The character could bring a breath of fresh air to the group with her ability to belt any note that came her way. And "Glee" showrunner Ryan Murphy must've known Riley would be amazing in the part because before she signed up for the series, her debut rule was Murphy's 2002 movie "St. Sass." 

After "Glee" closed, Riley landed herself another leading role in a West End production of "Dreamgirls." The part earned her an Olivier Award for best Actress in a Musical in 2017. Her career continued on the screen, as well, with movies like "Nobody's Fool," "Infamous," and "Single Black Female." In 2020, Riley released her debut album, "Riley," which consisted of six songs. When she's not acting, singing, and dancing her way into everyone's hearts, she doing her best to have a good time. Riley was a contestant on "Celebrity Wheel of Fortune" in 2021, and she walked away with an astonishing $243,600 for the charity of her choice.

Mark Salling (Noah Puck Puckerman)

The "bad boy" role of Noah "Puck" Puckerman could be given to no one other than Mark Salling, as his brooding demeanor and tough attitude brought the character to life. Before being cast as Puck, Salling's acting career was sparse. His first credit, back in 1996, was "Children of the Corn: The Gathering," a sequel to the original Stephen King horror flick. And in 2009, he made a single-episode appearance on CBS' "Walker, Texas Ranger."

However, Salling's years after "Glee" were tragic and terrible. It was only months after the show was off the air in 2015 that Salling was arrested and charged for possessing inappropriate photos of children. According to USA Today, the actor arranged a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, but in 2018, Salling died by suicide near Los Angeles, California, just a month before he was scheduled to be sentenced. 

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Heather Morris (Brittany Pierce)

Heather Morris positively shined as Brittany Pierce. As one of McKinley's Cheerios, Brittany was a dancing superstar. While she didn't have much going for her in the way of academics (in earlier seasons, that is), the character's aloof charm and easy-going persona made her one of the most-loved character. Of course, we can't forget about her cat, Lord Tubbington, who also had his own way of wiggling into our hearts. 

Of course, while Heather Morris may be widely remembered for her role as Brittany, that's far from her only accomplishment. Prior to her "Glee" days, Morris had several uncredited roles before claiming larger stardom. Between 2009 and by the time she was cast as Brittany, she had appeared in several short films and voiced Katie the mammoth in "Ice Age: Continental Drift." 

Morris' post-"Glee" career has been a busy mix of acting, producing, and dancing. Much of her acting in recent years has been TV shows and TV movies such as "Go-Go Boy Interrupted," "Psycho Wedding Crasher," "Pretty Little Stalker," and "Fatal Fandom." Her impressive producer credits include the TV shows "La La Living," "I.R.L," and "The Troupe," and a podcast, "The Bystanders."

Chord Overstreet (Sam Evans)

Sam Evans, played by Chord Overstreet, may not have been one of New Direction's founding members, but his golden voice carried the group far. Overstreet's portrayal of Sam was the polar opposite of Puck's bad boy, but it wasn't quite in line with Finn's small-town good boy personality either. Sam was sweet, kind, and almost paternal. He made music because he loved it, and the addition of a competitive element that came with joining New Directions was more of a nice perk. 

As for Overstreet, his career before entering the "Glee" universe consisted mostly of TV credits, the most popular of which were "Private," "The Middle," and "Regular Show" on Cartoon Network. After watching Overstreet go from baby-faced Sam to full-grown musical hottie, viewers got to see him all over TV and around the music industry. His TV accolades include shows like "Pickle and Peanut," "The Bold Type," and "Acapulco" on Apple TV+. His music career also took off a bit once "Glee" went off the air. Along with several single songs, he released two EPs in 2017 and 2021 titled "Tree House Tapes" and "Stone Man," respectively. 

Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson)

Kurt Hummel's smooth and confident boyfriend, Blaine Anderson — played by the incredibly talented Darren Criss – was a "Glee" fan favorite right from the start. Blaine's gorgeous voice sang for a competing show choir group, The Warblers, until Blaine transferred to McKinley and joined New Directions. As for Criss, his acting credits before, and even during, "Glee" were quite extensive, including some popular titles like "Little White Lie," "A Very Potter Musical" (and its sequel film and TV show), ABC's "Eastwick," and "The Chicago 8." 

Undeniably, Criss' talent and range took him far in his career after "Glee" ended. He guest-starred in "American Horror Story," as well as the CW's "Supergirl" (also with former "Glee" costar Melissa Benoist) and "The Flash" crossover episodes, "Star-Crossed and "Duet." Of course, FX's "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" was probably Criss' most successful post-"Glee" credit, where he played the notorious killer Andrew Cunanan, who goes on a grotesque murder spree that results in the death of the fashion icon Gianni Versace. The show earned Criss an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a SAG Award for his performance

Like many of his fellow former "Glee" stars, Criss has also released several singles and albums. His first album, "Human," was released in 2015, and since then, he's joined up with artists like Steve Aoki and Charlene Kaye, and he's even released a Christmas album.

Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang)

Mike Chang may have been a seemingly minor character in "Glee," but Harry Shum Jr. is anything but in his real-life career. Mike Chang was an incredible dancer on "Glee" and was often see paired with the equally talented dancer Brittany. Mike earned his place in New Directions and in viewers' hearts with his talents and modest demeanor. But even before "Glee," Harry Shum Jr. had built an astonishing career with his dancing and acting skills. You may recognize him from the "Step Up" dance movies where he played Cable, as well as showing up in "The LXD: The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers."

After "Glee" ended in 2015, Shum never stopped showing up on the screen. Perhaps you remember him from his time on YouTube Red's "Single by 30," "Crazy Rich Asians," or Freeform's "Shadowhunters, which earned Shum a People's Choice Award. Shum's performance as Magnus Bane in "Shadowhunters" is a sharp turn from Mike Chang. He wears his dark and almost sinister look incredibly well, and Shum's take on the warlock has definitely left an impression with fans of the series. In addition to "Shadowhunters," his later works include appearances in Paramount+'s "Tell Me A Story" and Comedy Central's "Awkwafina is Nora from Queens."