Friday night’s Friends reunion was not something anyone was looking forward to seeing.
Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer arrived at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills, for the intimate ceremony where Matthew Perry was resting in a dark wooden coffin.
The friends, who were later joined by their co-star Matt LeBlanc, consoled one another outside the church after the hour-long private ceremony, which ended with Peter Gabriel’s song “Don’t Give Up” piping through the speakers.
After, the star, who died October 28, was buried alongside other legends like Humphrey Bogart, Nat King Cole, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor.
On October 28 when Matthew Perry, 54, was found dead in his jacuzzi, friends, family and fans have been trying to resolve the loss of one of Hollywood greats stars.
One of the top actors of his generation, the Emmy Award nominated Perry was best known as the sharp-tongued Chandler Bing on Friends.
The relationship he shared with his five best friends on screen translated into equally powerful friendships off screen.
And now they’re mourning his death.
The one they said good-bye
Jennifer Aniston, 54, Lisa Kudrow, 60, Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer, 57 – all dressed in black – arrived at Forest Lawn Church of the Hills in Los Angeles, while Matt LeBlanc met them outside following the tearful service.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” the cast said in a joint statement. “There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss. In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
Jim Burrows, who directed more than a dozen episodes of Friends, texted Aniston, Cox and Kudrow the moment he learned Perry had died.
“I had texted the girls the day we found out…They were destroyed. It’s a brother dying.”
According to the New York Post, Aniston’s bodyguards shuttled her from her LA home to venue before the Friday farewell.
A source told the Daily Mail that Aniston was one of the “first to arrive” at the funeral service, and “kept herself to herself. This is a high profile gathering.”
Perry’s sobbing mother Suzanne Morrison, 84, and Dateline journalist stepfather Keith, 76, were also in attendance, as was his father John Perry, 82.
As the service ended, a small crowd of mourners were seen outside the church, some embracing and comforting each other.
‘Don’t Give Up’
The service ended with a mournful rendition of the Peter Gabriel song “Don’t Give Up,” one of the late star’s favorite songs. He also quoted the lyrics when autographing his books.
In November 2022 Perry explained why he loves the song. “They are saying ‘Don’t give up,’ I mean come on, how am I not going to like that? But the music video of that was just them hugging each other and the camera just went around until the song ended. It was so cool and I loved that. I’ve been writing when I’ve signed the book, I always put ‘Don’t give up’ there because you shouldn’t give up.”
Remembering Perry’s words in life, guests were teary-eyed when he song was played.
“There was not a dry eye in there. There were a lot of tears and laughter. Only close friends and family spoke,” the source added.
After the service, in a private ceremony, Perry was buried in a dark wooden coffin at the Forest Lawn Cemetery, which is opposite Warner Bros Studios, where Friends was filmed for 10 seasons.
At 4:10 p.m. on October 8, emergency officials responded to a call in Pacific Palisades. They found Perry, lifeless in the jacuzzi of his Los Angeles home.
The caller’s identity has not been revealed by authorities, though TMZ reported it was Perry’s assistant who made the call after returning from an errand.
According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the person who called “re-positioned the victim where the head was out of water.”
The Fools Rush In star had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse and shared his decades-long journey with addiction in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.”
In his memoir, the 17 Again star revealed he had been to 6,000 AA meetings, went to rehab 15 times, had 14 surgeries to try and correct the damage from his addiction, and had been in detox 65 times.
Initial reports reveal that Perry did not have fentanyl or methamphetamines in his system when he drowned, however toxicology is still inconclusive, and more tests are required.
When investigators responded to Perry’s home, they did not find any illegal drugs, but found prescription medication that was properly labeled and kept in storage bottles.
Without an exact cause of death, speculation has been swirling that perhaps the beloved actor relapsed.
‘100 percent sober’
Hoping to put the rumors to rest, Athenna Crosby – who lunched with Perry 24 the Friday before his death – insisted Perry was 100 percent sober now. “I happen to be the last person to be seen with him…In the interaction that I had with him, he was extremely positive, sober, acting normal, spoke very well, did not give me any impression that he was under [the influence of] drugs or alcohol of any kind,” said Crosby, 25. “So, I think people are speculating that this was a relapse situation. I just want to defend him and say that it was not.”
Sharing that his toxic relationship with drugs and alcohol were “behind him,” Crosby said “he refused to touch the drink menu.”
In fact, “He was a little shy to order a Diet Coke because that’s caffeine, and it’s one more thing that some people might struggle with. But then eventually he said, ‘I’m actually doing really good, and this is just a little treat to myself.’”
Further defending his sobriety, a member of the actor’s recovery program told the Daily Mail, “Matty wasn’t drinking. He was a big part of our AA community. He was attending meetings, speaking at meetings and was working with a handful of newcomers.” The person, who chose to remain anonymous, continued, “He could speak so well and motivate people…It was important for him to reach the younger generation and spread his ‘Don’t Give Up’ message. He really lived by those words.”
Speaking of how Perry was an inspiration, the person added, “He always made people laugh, even in meetings. But he was also spiritual, not religious, but spiritual. He walked the talk and knew this was his mission. To help other people, to give them hope.”
“Matty will forever be the definition of hope because he never, ever gave up. He turned his life around and helped countless people in the program. More than he could imagine.”
Rest in peace, Matthew Perry. Maybe now that he’s in his final resting place, we can all start our own recovery process in letting go of his tragic death, instead remembering him for his brilliant talents.
Make sure you check out the story on what Marta Kauffman and David Crane, the creators of Friends, say about the comedic genius!
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