George Clooney says Matthew Perry dreamed of doing a sitcom, but ‘Friends’ didn’t make him happy

LOS ANGELES – George Clooney is offering insight into the reality of Matthew Perry’s time on “Friends.”

The two worked in close proximity while each starred on television’s mega-hits of the era: “Friends” and “ER.” Their shows were side by side on the Warner Bros. lot and Clooney even guest starred on “Friends” as, naturally, a handsome emergency room doctor.

“‘Friends,’ man, that was a fun time to watch those guys,” Clooney reminisced to Deadline. “We were all really close.”

The “Oceans 11” star said that he and Perry actually went way back. “I knew Matt when he was 16 years old. We used to play paddle tennis together. He’s about 10 years younger than me. And he was a great, funny, funny, funny kid.”

Clooney said that Perry had dreamed of landing a role on a sitcom for years. “He was a kid and all he would say to us, I mean me, Richard Kind and Grant Heslov, was, ‘I just want to get on a sitcom, man. I just want to get on a regular sitcom and I would be the happiest man on Earth.’ And he got on probably one of the best ever.”

But starring as the sarcastic and charming Chandler Bing for 10 seasons wasn’t the cure-all Perry thought it would be. “He wasn’t happy,” Clooney said. “It didn’t bring him joy or happiness or peace. And watching that go on on the lot – we were at Warner Bros., we were there right next to each other – it was hard to watch because we didn’t know what was going through him.

“We just knew that he wasn’t happy and I had no idea he was doing what, 12 Vicodin a day and all the stuff he talked about, all that heartbreaking stuff. And it also just tells you that success and money and all those things, it doesn’t just automatically bring you happiness,” Clooney continued. “You have to be happy with yourself and your life.”

Perry was candid about his lifelong battle with addiction in various interviews over the years, and he chronicled his struggles and time on the hit sitcom in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.”

“I would fake back injuries. I would fake migraine headaches. I had eight doctors going at the same time,” Perry told the New York Times in 2022. “I would wake up and have to get 55 Vicodin that day, and figure out how to do it. When you’re a drug addict, it’s all math. I go to this place, and I need to take three. And then I go to this place, and I’m going to take five because I’m going to be there longer. It’s exhausting but you have to do it or you get very, very sick. I wasn’t doing it to feel high or to feel good. I certainly wasn’t a partyer; I just wanted to sit on my couch, take five Vicodin and watch a movie. That was heaven for me. It no longer is.”

He struggled with addiction throughout his time on “Friends” and even lived in a rehab facility during the ninth season of the show, bringing a sober companion with him to set. “I married Monica and got driven back to the treatment center – at the height of my highest point in ‘Friends,’ the highest point in my career, the iconic moment on the iconic show – in a pickup truck helmed by a sober technician,” Perry wrote in his memoir.

Perry died at age 54 on Oct. 28 at his Los Angeles home. He was found in his hot tub. According to a Dec. 15 toxicology report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office, Perry died of “acute effects of ketamine.”

Perry appeared on the “Q With Tom Power” podcast while promoting his memoir last year and said he hoped he’d be remembered for offering a helping hand to struggling addicts rather than for starring on “Friends.”

“The best thing about me, bar none, is that if somebody comes up to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking. Can you help me?’ I can say, ‘Yes,’ and follow up and do it,” Perry said.

“That’s the best thing, and I’ve said this for a long time, but when I die, I don’t want ‘Friends’ to be the first thing that’s mentioned.” He said he wanted his ability to help those struggling with addictions to be the first thing mentioned. “I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving it.”

Copyright (C) 2022, Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Portions copyrighted by the respective providers.

This story was originally published December 20, 2023, 5:53 PM.

source: star-telegram

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