In the wake of Matthew Perry’s death, “Friends” director Jim Burrows tells TODAY what made the actor and his character on “Friends” a “perfect meld.
Perry died on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the age of 54 from an apparent drowning at his home in Pacific Palisades, California, police say. A cause of death has not yet been given and is pending the coroner’s investigation.
The actor starred in a number of TV shows and films throughout his career, but he was perhaps most well-known for his 10 seasons as Chandler Bing on NBC’s hit sitcom “Friends.”
NBC News correspondent Liz Kreutz spoke exclusively with “Friends” director Jim Burrows in an interview that will air in full on TODAY Nov. 2.
In the interview, Burrows discusses what Perry was like on set and what made him so perfect as Bing.
“He was really funny,” Burrows says. “He was a little awkward, too. Chandler was awkward. And Matthew was awkward. So it was a perfect, perfect meld.”
“Friends,” which told the stories of six friends living in New York City, ran from 1994 to 2004. The core cast consisted of Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer.
The remaining five actors issued a joint statement after Perry’s death, describing their grief.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” the statement reads. “There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”“In time we will say more, as and when we are able,” the statement continues. “For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
People was the first outlet to report the “Friends” stars’ statement.
“Friends” co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane spoke exclusively with TODAY’s Hoda Kotb about their memories of Perry, in which Kauffman shared how she spoke to the actor just two weeks ago.
“He was happy and chipper,” Kauffman said. “He didn’t seem weighed down by anything. He was in a really good place, which is why this seems so unfair.”
Perry was open about battling drug and alcohol addictions during his career. In his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” Perry opened up about how consuming his addictions had been. He went to rehab 15 times and was given a 2% chance of survival when he was in a coma following his colon erupting due to opioid use.
He said he was so candid about his experiences in hopes that they would help others.
“My hope is that people will relate to it and know this disease attacks everybody,” he told People after the memoir’s release. “It doesn’t matter if you’re successful or not, the disease doesn’t care.”