Matthew Perry‘s death is the tragedy that keeps on taking.
After the shock of learning in the medical examiner’s report last week that the cause of death was “the acute effects of ketamine,” we were struck once again by a great sadness. This was not just about losing the Friends star’s comic genius — but about the reminder no matter how happy he made us, Matthew Perry never seemed to be able to find contentment himself.
And a friend of his from his early days confirmed it with a really heartbreaking quote. That friend? George Clooney.
The Ocean’s 11 star opened up to Deadline about the wild ride of fame that began when Friends and ER premiered the same week in September 1994. The shows shot next door to one another on the Warner Bros lot, so the whole meteoric rise was together. That meant seeing Matty’s journey up close.
And Clooney knew the comedy star even before that. He recalled:
“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. He was a kid and all he would say to us, I mean me, Richard Kind and Grant Heslov, was, ‘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.’”
But that isn’t what happened. Oh, he got a sitcom alright! As George put it, “he got on probably one of the best ever.” But it didn’t fill that hole inside.
“He wasn’t happy. It didn’t bring him joy or happiness or peace. And watching that go on on the lot — we were at Warner Bros, 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.”
Clooney saw the lesson to be learned in that, even then — but moreso now.
“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.”
So true. Really important to remember, if you think getting that one thing, that one promotion, that one car, even that one romantic partner, is going to make you happy? It won’t. You have to be OK with yourself, because that’s the one person who’s going to be with you the entire ride.
We’re just so heartbroken to know Matthew Perry, who gave so many such joy, wasn’t OK. Even to the end, he wasn’t OK. So sad…
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