Former "Glee" cast member Dianna Agron was excluded from the show's emotional send-off for the late Cory Monteith due to star Lea Michele's and co-creator Ryan Murphy's "intense dislike" for the actress, a source told Radar Online
"They simply did not want her sharing the glory for this very special episode," a "high-level" source is quoted as telling RadarOnline. Other ex-castmates appeared in the episode, titled, "The Quarterback."
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"It's shocking, because even though she's not contracted for this season, many other actors returned to pay tribute to Cory ... even ones with less of a story connection to Finn [Hudson, Monteith's character] than Diana had!" the source told Radar. Agron had played Monteith's girlfriend on the show.
Michele, who plays Rachel Berry and was Monteith's real-life girlfriend, and Murphy wanted to "marginalize" Agron, who had left the show after four seasons as cheerleader Quinn Fabray, the source told Radar.
"They never saw her as a team player," the insider said.
Monteith, 31, died in his Vancouver hotel room July 13 from a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol.
He had battled substance abuse problems in the past.
"[Agron] is still very much a part of the 'Glee' family and [is] always welcome," another source reportedly told E! News
, and said her absence was due to scheduling issues.
Agron or not, filming the episode was especially tough on the cast and crew.
"I feel like, for me personally, I've lost two people: Cory and Finn," Michele told TV WEEK Australia
. "We had a beautiful memorial for Cory in the auditorium and some of the cast members sang and people spoke about him. It only felt right that we would do the same thing for Finn, so I felt it was very therapeutic."
Michele performs Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" in the tribute, and co-star Matthew Morrison said he was touched.
"She had one of the first songs we filmed for the episode and she did it so beautifully," Morrison told TV WEEK. "After, she said something like, 'It can't be harder for anyone else than it was for me.'"
"Almost everything in that episode is from the first take of every performance because the actors and the crew had a really hard time shooting it," Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter
. "I've never seen a crew that you can't continue shooting because they've left the room sobbing. It was very hard. I struggled even working on it because what you're seeing is what they felt not just about Finn but Cory."
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