Matthew Perry wanted to be remembered for ‘helping people to recover’

Matthew Perry Wanted To Be Remembered For ‘Helping People To Recover’
London Evening Standard British Film Awards – Press Room – London, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By PA reporters

A director who worked with Matthew Perry has said he wanted to be remembered for “helping people to recover”.

Best known for playing witty and sarcastic Chandler Bing on Friends, Perry died aged 54 on Saturday.


He rose to fame alongside his fellow stars of the American sitcom – Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer.

Perry also struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and was open about sharing his experience.

Lindsay Posner, who directed the play The End Of Longing, written by and starring Perry, paid tribute to the Emmy-nominated actor on Radio 4’s Today programme.

Olivier Awards Nominations Celebration – London
Lindsay Posner, worked with Matthew Perry on The End Of Longing. Photo: Ian West/PA. 

The British theatre director said: “He was always very, very warm and generous, and keen to keep everyone entertained the whole time.

“He was very keen to be thought of as a serious actor, a comic actor.

“I was a bit worried because he’d never done any stage acting before … but he’d honed his craft with Friends in front of a live audience for years and years and it really showed. You couldn’t tell he’d never been on a London stage before.


“(The End Of Longing) was an autobiographical play about addiction.

“He said to me he would like to be remembered for helping people through the play … helping people to recover.”

During the same radio show, comedian David Baddiel said: “It’s quite rare in a sitcom to see someone who’s got a very distinctive comic delivery.

“All those actors were brilliant at landing jokes, but Matthew Perry had a way of spinning lines so that he would land with different emphasis.


“That’s a very clever way of playing with language that I normally associate with great stand-ups.”


Tributes have poured in following the news of his death, including from fellow Friends cast members, as well as famous figures such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sarah, Duchess of York.

Hank Azaria appeared in several episodes of the sitcom, playing Phoebe Buffay’s (Kudrow) love interest David, and said Perry was like a “brother” to him.

In a video posted to his Instagram page he said: “We were there for each other in the early days of our career and he was, to me, as funny as he was on Friends … in person he was just the funniest man ever.

“And every night, he was like a genius, he would start to weave comedy threads together, just hanging out – little joke here, joke there, joke here, joke there – and then by the end of the night he would weave them all together in this crescendo of hilarity.”

In a joint statement, Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, along with executive producer Kevin Bright, described their “shock” and being “deeply saddened” at Perry’s death.

They added: “We will always cherish the joy, the light, the blinding intelligence he brought to every moment – not just to his work, but in life as well.

“He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart.”

They also said: “This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”

Maggie Wheeler, who played Chandler’s on-and-off girlfriend, Janice Hosenstein, said the “world will miss you”.

She added: “The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on.”

Perry’s family said in a statement to US publication People that they were “heartbroken” following the “tragic loss” of their son and brother.

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They added: “You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love.”

Los Angeles Police Department officers responded to a radio call just after 4pm on Saturday for a death investigation of a male in his 50s, PA news agency understands.

A statement from Captain Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department to PA said they found a “male unconscious in a stand-alone jacuzzi”.

It also said: “The circumstances are under investigation by LAPD and the LA County medical examiner. We mourn with families and friends who lose a loved one unexpectedly.”

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