Matthew Perry will always be remembered for his role as Chandler Bing on “Friends.” But the actor, who died Saturday by apparent drowning, wrote in his 2022 memoir that he hoped to be remembered for something more important to him: his work with addicts.
“When I die, I know people will talk about ‘Friends, Friends, Friends.’ And I’m glad of that, happy I’ve done some solid work as an actor, as well as given people multiple chances to make fun of my struggles on the world wide web,” Perry wrote. “But when I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if ‘Friends’ were listed far behind the things I did to try to help other people.”
The passage from “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir” has been widely shared in the wake of Perry’s shocking death. It begins by noting the apparent “ups and downs” he’s experienced very publicly in his life.
“I’m still working through it personally, but the best thing about me is that if an alcoholic or drug addict comes up to me and says, ‘Will you help me?’ I will always say, ‘Yes, I know how to do that. I will do that for you, even if I can’t always do it for myself,'” Perry wrote. “So I do that, whenever I can. In groups, or one on one.”
Perry continued in the memoir passage to describe how he created the Perry House, a “sober-living facility for men” in Malibu, 10 years ago.
“I also wrote my play ‘The End of Longing,’ which is a personal message to the world, an exaggerated form of me as a drunk,” he wrote. “I had something important to say to people like me, and to people who love people like me.”
That’s when he reflected that he wants to be remembered for how he tried to help other people while alive.
“I know it won’t happen, but it would be nice,” Perry concluded.
The actor opened The Perry House with addiction specialist Earl Hightower in 2013. The facility was housed inside a home that Perry already owned. The two were awarded the Champion of Recovery by former President Barack Obama that year in honor of their efforts to help addicts.
Perry sold the facility in 2015. He explained, “That was a Malibu beach house, and it was too expensive to run and the business didn’t really work.”
But he was committed to continuing the work, he added. “So we’re looking at smaller places in Santa Monica and Studio City. I’m keeping the business going because I like it; it’s a good way to help alcoholics.”
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