Emmys executive producers are explaining the absence of the “Friends” cast during the in memoriam segment, which was closed out by their beloved Matthew Perry.
While The Hollywood Reporter said “the cast of ‘Friends’ was never invited” to participate in the segment, the awards show’s executive producers, Jesse Collins and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay, seemed to suggest otherwise.
“It’s still very fresh for them,” Rouzan-Clay said of the impact Perry’s death in late October had on Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc.
“We had talked about it early on,” added Collins. “But I can imagine, from their side, they’re mourning someone who was still very close to them. I can’t speak for them, but we all have to respect that they were their own family. It was probably just a little too soon.”
The five stars attended Perry’s funeral in early November, shortly after releasing a joint statement in which they said they “were all so utterly devastated” by his passing.
“We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” the actors wrote. “There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”
The five-time Emmy nominee, who had long been candid about battling drug and alcohol abuse, was found dead on Oct. 28 at age 54. Last month, a toxicology report showed that Perry died from “the acute effects of ketamine.” The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death an accident.
In the days leading up to Perry’s death, he was undergoing ketamine infusion therapy, which is intended to treat depression and anxiety. Given ketamine’s three- to four-hour half-life, the report said that which was still in his system “could not be from that infusion therapy.” His method of intake for the dissociative anesthetic is unknown.
The Matthew Perry Foundation was founded shortly after his death, with the intent to continue his “commitment to helping others struggling with the disease of addiction,” per the foundation’s mission statement. “It will honor [Perry’s] legacy and be guided by his own words and experiences, driven by his passion for making a difference in as many lives as possible.”