Television has a unique ability to etch certain characters and actors into the collective memory of pop culture. The six stars of Friends are prime examples of this phenomenon. For years, they were our friends, living in New York, navigating life’s twists and turns during the ’90s and early 2000s. Matthew Perry, who portrayed Chandler Bing, was an integral part of this beloved ensemble. His recent passing has left fans deeply saddened, as Chandler Bing was a character who became ingrained in the fabric of life for many.
While Matthew Perry was undoubtedly proud of his work on Friends and the years spent with his co-stars, he hoped that the show wouldn’t define his entire legacy. This sentiment was clear in his heartfelt speech during the Friends reunion, where he emphasized the special bond the six stars shared and the significance of the show’s soundstage in his life.
In a recent interview with podcaster Tom Power, Perry revealed what had become the most meaningful aspect of his life. “The best thing about me, bar none, is that if somebody comes to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking, can you help me?’ I can say ‘yes’ and follow up and do it,” Perry shared.
Using His Platform For Good
Matthew Perry had grappled with substance abuse for a significant part of his life, including during his time on Friends. Over the years, his focus shifted from acting to his work on sobriety and addiction. He has actively advocated for drug courts, aiming to ensure that non-violent addicts are offered help rather than subjected to prison sentences.
Perry’s journey towards sobriety and his personal struggles became the central theme of his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, which was both humorous and touching. He found immense fulfillment in helping others by sharing his experiences and insights. “I can’t describe it,” he said. “Something spiritual, it fills your heart, you see the lights coming on for a new person who didn’t understand.”
In his own words, Perry expressed his desire for his legacy to be associated with his work in sobriety and addiction, not just his role as Chandler Bing. “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 gonna live the rest of my life proving that.”
On a tragic note, Matthew Perry was found dead at his residence in the Los Angeles area. Sources reported to TMZ that first responders were called to the scene for a cardiac arrest. Perry was discovered in a jacuzzi, and though no drugs were found, and no foul play is suspected, the actor appeared to have drowned.
The passing of Matthew Perry is not only a loss for the entertainment world but also a reminder of his inspiring journey to sobriety and his commitment to helping others battling addiction. While he will forever be remembered as Chandler Bing, his work off-screen to make a positive impact on the lives of those struggling with addiction is an enduring part of his legacy.