Matthew Perry’s death has shocked everyone. His fans are shaken to the core and it’s no surprise why no one can now watch Friends as they watched before. The void created by his absence in everyone who knew him, loved him or even just watched him on screen is palpable. Expressing this pain, Minnie Driver wrote an obituary published by British daily The Guardian. Driver is the 53-year-old British American actress who acted alongside the Friends star in David Mamet’s 2003 production, Sexual Perversity in Chicago.
Per Deadline, Driver recalled some of the good times with Matthew Perry in the obituary. She wrote, “He had been in a good place when we were doing the play, but the thing about him was he was like a light. He was one of those people who just made other people feel good. Somehow, they don’t suck you down into their sadness, or their pain, and I know now that his pain was great.”
She further added, “Matthew was one of the quickest people you would ever come across, ruthlessly funny in the ways he’d react to people. He wouldn’t let you get away with anything. Invariably, I would tell really long stories and he’d always do this brilliantly timed bit where he’d nod off in the middle — so funny — but he wasn’t mean in any way. He was the most self-deprecating person and really kind. Anyone who asked him for help, he would help.”
Driver also addressed the unfairness that Perry felt concerning the exponential popularity of TV’s Friends, which overshadowed not only his other roles but also his personality. She wrote, “Matthew, we mustn’t forget, was a very good actor. I recently looked at the reviews for our play — and his were all really good, apart from one. I remember his reaction to it: ‘Some people only want Chandler, and I don’t know that I’m allowed to be anything other than that.’ That character was going to be iconic and beloved forever, but clearly, there was so much more to him.”
The Good Will Hunting star went so far as to say that the need to present himself as someone beyond Chandler and Friends, drove him to even more substance abuse. Driver said, “It was a pretty tight yoke. Part of Matthew’s inner struggle was that he was so closely identified with a role that was also beloved to him — one that he was so good at. But it also held him in a specific place, so it felt like a tug of war. I also think if you struggle with addiction and you have this extraordinary, rarefied life where people love you so completely, it’s always difficult to come to terms with the possibility of your fallibility.”
Later in the obituary, Driver also wrote about Perry’s raw 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. Admitting that it was hard to read, she said, “I last saw him on his book tour last year. It was such a relief hearing him say that by putting all that tough stuff out there, he’d exorcised it in a way,” she said. “I’m incredibly grateful that he got to have the experience of how much people loved that book, and loved him, outside of Friends. Ultimately, it seemed like a positive thing.”
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Perry died on October 28 owing to the “acute effects of ketamine”, according to Deadline.