“I had texted the girls the day we found out,” James Burrows, who directed 15 episodes of Friends over the years, shared on the Today show on Thursday, November 2. “They were destroyed. It’s a brother dying.”
News of Perry’s shocking death broke on Saturday, October 28. The late actor was found “unconscious in a stand-alone jacuzzi” when law enforcement officials first arrived at his home. A statement from the Los Angeles Fire Department on Monday, October 30, revealed that Perry was “deceased prior to first responder arrival.”
During his Today appearance, Burrows remembered how “incredibly inventive” the late star was when it came to delivering lines on the show.
“I had to have a couple of days to just let it soak in,” the director said on Thursday. “He was part of a family, and he was the first one to not be part of that family anymore.”
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” the cast shared in a statement to Us Weekly on Monday. “There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”
They continued: “In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
Various cast and crew members from Friends have spoken out in the wake of the star’s sudden passing. Perry played the role of Chandler Bing for the sitcom’s 10-year run from 1994 to 2004.
The Friends cocreators, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, remembered the “brilliant talent” in their own statement to Us on Sunday.
“We are shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by our beloved friend Matthew’s passing. It still seems impossible. All we can say is that we feel blessed to have had him as part of our lives,” they wrote in the joint statement, which also included executive producer Kevin Bright. “He was a brilliant talent. It’s a cliche to say that an actor makes a role their own, but in Matthew’s case, there are no truer words.”
Some of the show’s notable guest stars have also shared heartfelt tributes.
“What a loss. The world will miss you Matthew Perry,” Maggie Wheeler, who played Chandler’s ex-girlfriend Janice, shared via social media. “The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on. I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared.”
Elliot Gould, who played Cox and Schwimmer’s onscreen father — later becoming Perry’s character’s father-in-law on the show — recounted the first time they met.
“I first met Matthew in 1994 when I joined the NBC sitcom Friends. Matthew was kind, thoughtful, smart, funny, and just a terrifically, talented actor. Matthew told me he was so honored to be working with me,” the actor posted on Instagram. “What he didn’t know until I told him, was that it was my privilege to play his father-in-law. My heart goes out to his wonderful family. He will be missed by so many but he will never be forgotten.”
Our special issue dedicated to Matthew Perry is available now.