Nearly one year before his sudden death, Matthew Perry revealed that he hoped to be remembered as someone who “wants to help people.”
“The best thing about me, bar none, is that if an alcoholic or drug addict comes up to me and says, ‘Will you help me?’ I can say yes and follow up and do it,” Perry shared in a November 2022 interview on the “Q with Tom Power” podcast. “When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned, and I’m going to live the rest of my life proving that.”
News of Perry’s death at age 54 broke on Saturday, October 28. The Los Angeles Times reported that law enforcement officials responded to a call at Perry’s home where he was found unresponsive in a hot tub.
The L.A. coroner’s office confirmed Perry’s death on Sunday. However, his cause of death has since been “deferred,” according to a separate report from the L.A. County’s Medical Examiner, obtained by NBC News. It was also reported that Perry’s initial autopsy results were inconclusive pending a toxicology report.
During his interview with Tom Power, Perry was promoting his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, where he discussed his ups and downs since rising to fame.
“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,” Perry told the host. “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.”
Perry listed the “Perry House in Malibu, a sober-living facility for men” and his play The End of Longing as two things he hoped to be remembered for.
Perry — who played Chandler Bing on Friends from 1994 to 2004 — has been outspoken about his substance abuse struggles, noting that he was “completely sober” for only one season of the sitcom. He 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 also wrote in his memoir. “When I have a goatee, it’s lots of pills.”
When reflecting on his life during the 2022 “Q” podcast episode, Perry said he was “grateful” for all the “wonderful things” that happened in his life.
“But that’s the ticket for me, is helping people on a large scale or helping, you know, one guy and seeing the light turn on,” he added.