Sean Penn, who guest starred in two Season 8 episodes of Friends, recently shared his heartfelt thoughts on the late Matthew Perry, who passed away on October 28 at his Los Angeles area home. The actor was 54.
While discussing Perry on an episode of Piers Morgan Uncensored, Sean Penn reflected on his final memory of the Friends star. “I can’t claim to have known him well, but I liked him very much. I saw him somewhat recently,” Penn explained. “We were both catching a flight out of Los Angeles airport, and I complimented him on what I knew of his book.”
The book, a memoir entitled, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, chronicles Matthew Perry’s life and gives a brutally honest look at the actor’s long-fought battle with addiction. Though Penn admitted he had yet to read the book, he had heard enough about it to understand Perry’s message.
“I had seen several of his interviews,” Sean Penn explained. “And he seemed to be talking about it, had confronted it, and was very intelligent and bold about it and generously offering his experience to people to be helpful.”
Matthew Perry’s official cause of death remains unknown. Penn speculated, however, that his tragically young passing was the result of addiction. “It’s tragic. I can’t say that I was terribly surprised,” he said. “I don’t know what the whole coroner’s report things and everything, but I know he had done a lot of damage to his organs over the years.”
Matthew Perry’s Family Speaks Out in Honor of Giving Tuesday
Despite his personal battles, Matthew Perry left behind a lasting legacy through not only his acting and humor but also his mission to help others. “You know, tough situation, and he got to do that,” Penn said. “He got to leave that tale behind and he got to give a lot of joy to a lot of people with his talent. So, I wish his family well.”
Though Matthew Perry always expressed pride in his work as an actor and his Friends fame, he once admitted that he hoped the world remembered him for more than his wit.
“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 said in a 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 gonna live the rest of my life proving that.”
To help make this dream a reality, those closest to Perry launched a foundation in his name after his death. The Matthew Perry Foundation describes itself as “the realization of Matthew’s enduring commitment to helping others struggling with the disease of addiction.”
Ahead of Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to philanthropic efforts and charitable generosity, Matthew Perry’s family released a statement about his foundation. “It is important to us as a family to honor Matthew’s legacy,” they said. “The potential that the Matthew Perry Foundation has to help those suffering with this disease is something we are proud to bring to the world.”
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