Director Jim Burrows has revealed the somber reactions of the Friends cast upon receiving the heart-wrenching news of co-star Matthew Perry’s passing.
The untimely death of the beloved actor, renowned for his role as the acerbically witty Chandler Bing, has left a profound emptiness in both the Friends family and the hearts of countless fans who grew up emulating his character’s clever remarks.
Since the inception of Friends in the ’90s, where Burrows played a pivotal role in setting the tone for the iconic show, the cast and crew forged a bond akin to a familial connection, enduring even after the series concluded in 2004. This strong camaraderie made Perry’s passing all the more devastating for his co-stars—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc.
In a heartfelt joint statement, the Friends cast conveyed their deep anguish: “We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family.
“There is much to express, but for now, we are taking a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss. In due time, we will share more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and love go out to Matty’s family, friends, and all who adored him worldwide.”
Illustrating the profound bond transcending the screen, Burrows, renowned for directing episodes of Frasier, Cheers, and Will & Grace, expressed his personal sorrow, equating the loss of Perry to losing a brother. “I had messaged the girls the day we got the news. They were devastated. It’s like losing a brother,” Burrows shared with Today. He paused to contemplate the impact of Perry’s absence, stating, “I needed a few days to let it sink in. He was a part of the family, and he was the first to no longer be a part of that family.”
Perry’s talent extended beyond eliciting laughter; he was a versatile performer who brought depth and humanity to his characters. The director lauded him as “a wonderful actor, a funny man, and a dear friend to many.”
Reflecting on their final encounters with Perry, Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, along with executive producer and director Kevin Bright, recalled the sheer unfairness of his premature departure. Kauffman mentioned to Today, “He was great. He was cheerful and light, not burdened by anything. He was in a really good place, which makes this feel so unjust.”
The impact of Perry’s loss reverberates across the industry, with Kauffman and Crane praising him as “a brilliant talent” and honoring “the joy, the brightness, the dazzling intelligence he brought to every moment.” The collective mourning of Perry’s passing speaks volumes about his profound influence, not just within Friends, but in the realm of television and among those who knew him. The joint statement from the creators echoes the sentiment shared by all who feel the weight of his absence: “This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”
Perry’s legacy, immortalized in his endearing portrayal of Chandler Bing, will persist as a comforting presence in households worldwide, reminding us that despite his absence, his work continues to bring happiness and laughter.