“I liked him,” Turner, 69, told People in an interview published on Sunday, October 29. “He had a good sense of humor and a good heart. He liked other people, which, to me, is terribly important, especially for an actor.”
Turner noted that she hadn’t seen Perry in about a decade, but he’d previously gone to see one of her Broadway shows and visited her backstage. “When he saw me, he yelled out, ‘Hey, Dad,’ and everyone thought it was pretty cool,” Turner recalled, adding that she is “very sad for Matthew.”
Perry, who played Chandler Bing for the entire 10-year run of Friends, died on Saturday, October 28. The Los Angeles Times reported that law enforcement officials responded to a call from Perry’s home, where he was found unresponsive in his hot tub.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed Perry’s death one day later. A separate report from the L.A. County Medical Examiner, obtained by NBC News, said that Perry’s cause of death was “deferred” pending a toxicology report.
Perry was outspoken about his struggles with substance abuse during and after the run of Friends, which originally aired from 1994 to 2004. He noted in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, that he was “completely sober” for only one season of the sitcom and referred to season 9 as “the one where everyone was talking about Chandler” because of his sobriety.
“You can track the trajectory of my addiction if you gauge my weight from season to season — when I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol; when I’m skinny, it’s pills,” Perry wrote. “When I have a goatee, it’s lots of pills.”
Turner said she imagines the pressure the Friends cast faced during the height of their fame would have been “overwhelming,” adding of Perry, “It’s extremely sad when you think about how young [he was] and a pity he couldn’t get more control.”
Turner played Chandler’s dad, Charles Bing, in two episodes of the NBC sitcom. The character was a trans woman who performed in drag as Helena Handbasket. Morgan Fairchild, meanwhile, played Chandler’s mom, Nora.
Earlier this year, Turner admitted that she would “probably not” take the role if it was offered to her today. “There was no question of casting a trans person or a drag queen … it was never considered,” she told The Guardian in January. “It never crossed my mind that I was taking a role from someone.”