Family, friends and fans alike are still reeling from the tragic death of Matthew Perry. And in the wake of his passing, devotees have been compelled to look back at Perry’s 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. In it, Perry reflected on what he would want his legacy to be long after he’s gone. And despite being best known for his role as Chandler Bing in Friends, it’s not how he’d like to be remembered.
According to the memoir, one of the biggest struggles Perry faced throughout his 54 years on earth was his battle with addiction. He worked tirelessly to overcome his dependence on alcohol and opioids, which was a feat he was incredibly proud of.
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life,” Perry wrote in Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.
“I’m still working through it personally, but the best thing about me is that if an alcoholic or drug addict comes up to me and says, ‘Will you help me?’ I will always say, ‘Yes, I know how to do that. I will do that for you, even if I can’t always do it for myself.’ So I do that, whenever I can. In groups, or one on one.
“And I created the Perry House in Malibu, a sober-living facility for men. I also wrote my play The End of Longing, which is a personal message to the world, an exaggerated form of me as a drunk. I had something important to say to people like me, and to people who love people like me.
“When I die, I know people will talk about Friends, Friends, Friends. And I’m glad of that, happy I’ve done some solid work as an actor, as well as given people multiple chances to make fun of my struggles on the world wide web… but when I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if Friends were listed far behind the things I did to try to help other people. I know it won’t happen, but it would be nice,” he said.
While his summation of events isn’t that wild or far-fetched considering Friends was arguably his biggest role, it still gives me chills to watch how Perry is being remembered right now just as he said.
So, in honour of the late Matthew Perry, let’s do what we can to remember not only the good he brought to the world through his beloved characters but for the work he was most proud of too.
If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s drug use, contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (Adis), a free 24 hour, 7 day anonymous and confidential service on 1800 177 833. Family Drug Support also provides help for people impacted by the alcohol or other drug use of a family member. Phone 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1300 368 186. Alternatively, visit qld.gov.au/icehelp for information.