‘Friends’ role didn’t bring Matthew Perry joy, happiness or peace, says George Clooney

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Hollywood star George Clooney says Matthew Perry had a hard time staying happy even after bagging one of the central characters on the long-running sitcom “Friends.” Perry, who played Chandler Bing on the comedy series, died at the age of 54 on October 30 after being found unresponsive at his Pacific Palisades home here.

An autopsy report released last week said that Perry died from the “acute effects of ketamine”. The actor struggled with addiction for many years and detailed it all in his 2022 memoir “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing”. Clooney, 62, said he had known Perry since he was a teenager.

“I knew Matt when he was 16 years old. We used to play paddle tennis together. He’s about 10 years younger than me. And he was a great, funny, funny, funny kid,” the actor told Deadline in an interview. Perry always wished to be on a sitcom, added Clooney, who had appeared as a guest star with his “ER” colleague Noah Wyle in the 17th episode of “Friends” season one.

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“He would say to us, I mean me, Richard Kind and Grant Heslov, ‘I just want to get on a sitcom, man. I just want to get on a regular sitcom and I would be the happiest man on earth.’ And he got on probably one of the best. He wasn’t happy. It didn’t bring him joy or happiness or peace,” the actor said.

Perry and Clooney tasted stardom around the same time in the early 1990s. At the time, Clooney was filming “ER”, while Perry was shooting for “Friends” at the same set of Warner Bros Studios in Burbank, California. The two shows went on to become the most popular shows in American television history.

Due to his struggle with addiction, Perry found it hard to go on, Clooney said. “Watching that go on on the lot – we were at Warner Brothers, we were there right next to each other – it was hard to watch because we didn’t know what was going through him. We just knew that he wasn’t happy and I had no idea he was doing what, 12 Vicodin a day and all the stuff he talked about, all that heartbreaking stuff.

“And it also just tells you that success and money and all those things, it doesn’t just automatically bring you happiness. You have to be happy with yourself and your life,” he added. Clooney is currently promoting his upcoming directorial “The Boys in the Boat”.