Sat. May 25th, 2024

As fans around the world mourn the death of Matthew Perry, many are remembering the beloved Friends star for the ways he which he strove to help people recovering from addiction.

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Fifty-four-year-old Perry was found dead at his Los Angeles home on Oct. 28, prompting an outpouring of love for the actor as well as recognition of his longtime commitment to helping others get sober. Perry himself, who spoke candidly about his own struggles with drug and alcohol addiction in his 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, said during an interview last year with podcast host Tom Power that he would prefer to be remembered for helping people rather than for his work on Friends as the iconic Chandler Bing.

“The best thing about me, bar none, is that if somebody comes to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking, can you help me?’ I can say ‘yes’ and follow up and do it,” he said. “When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned. And I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving that.”

Friends and costars of Perry’s, including Mira Sorvino and Hank Azaria (who appeared alongside Perry in a recurring role on Friends), have begun paying tribute to his legacy of service to those battling addiction.

“I want to leave Matthew Perry’s own words here as the way we remember him,” Sorvino wrote on X. “There will never be another like him- he lit up so many hearts in so many ways.”

In a video posted on Instagram, Azaria shared how Perry personally helped him get sober. “I’m a sober guy for 17 years,” he said. “I want to say that the night I went into AA, Matthew brought me in. The whole first year I was sober, we went to meetings together. As a sober person, he was so caring and giving and wise and he totally helped me get sober. I really wish he could have found it in himself to stay with the sober life more consistently.”

In addition to helping individuals like Azaria, Perry also turned his former Malibu home into a sober living facility called the Perry House, which ran until 2015.

“I would like to be remembered as somebody who lived well, loved well, was a seeker,” Perry said in the 2022 interview. “And his paramount thing is that he wants to help people. That’s what I want.”

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