Matthew Perry's 'Friends' Mother Morgan Fairchild Shares Memories of Working Together (Exclusive)

Morgan Fairchild spoke to ET about working with Perry.

Morgan Fairchild, who played Chandler Bing’s mother on Friends, is remembering the late actor who portrayed him, Matthew Perry 

ET's Kevin Frazier sat down with Fairchild to reflect on the death of the beloved Friends actor. Fairchild shared her heartfelt memories of meeting Perry as a young child and later working alongside him on the hit television series.

Fairchild, who was performing in a play in Kansas City when she first learned of Perry's death, described her initial reaction to the tragic news. "I first heard it when I was in the dressing room, getting ready to go onstage Saturday night, and I saw it pop up on my phone,” she said.

“I tried to hide it from the other cast members because I knew they'd be upset. I was upset, but you know, I had to go out and do a comedy. I'm sure Matthew felt that same way many times, so yeah, it was very depressing to see. I was hoping that it was wrong."

On Saturday, Perry died at the age of 54 at his home in Los Angeles, California. 

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Fairchild went on to reminisce about her relationship with Perry, highlighting the changes that naturally occur after a long-running show like Friends concludes. "I hadn't talked to him in a long time at this point. You know, once the show ended, as often happens, people kind of go their separate ways and have separate interests and things. I ran into him once in a while out and about town, and he was just such a lovely person," she said.

“He was a kind person, and I was so proud of him for having come through some of these hard times and turning to try to help other people, which I think is kind of the legacy that he would like to be known by. Not only was he a friend, but he would be there for you, as the song goes, 'I'll be there for you,'” she added.

Perry has long been open about his history of substance abuse. In 2022, he came out with a memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir, which detailed his rise to fame, his struggle with drug and alcohol addiction and his health battles. 

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“You know that he was there for other people, and I think that was one of the great things about him, not only his great talent as an actor, especially as a comedian, his incredible timing, but also his giving nature, the fact that he was always trying to give to other people. I think part of his big legacy will be the fact that he did seem to help so many people on the road to recovery," Fairchild said. 

The 73-year-old actress acknowledged the impact Perry had on people's lives and shared some experiences of fans reaching out to her on social media. "Even since I've been online this morning, I've been having people DM me on social media saying, 'You know, he inspired me to get out. I never met him, but he inspired me to get sober,' and he leaves that legacy as well.”

Fairchild also spoke about her role as Chandler's mother on Friends and her first encounter with Perry on the set. "It was a lot of fun that first day on the set. Matthew came bounding over and said, 'Oh, you won't remember me, but I used to visit you on Flamingo Road and Falcon [Crest] with my dad.' I said, 'Oh, who's your dad?' and he said, 'John Bennett Perry.' I said, 'Oh my god, you're that little kid that I used to see on the set.'" 

Fairchild admits, “So right away, we kind of had that familiar kind of bond. I felt like I knew him better than I actually did at the time.”

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Fairchild reminisced about one of her favorite scenes with Perry, noting how his creativity enhanced the humor of the show. 

"One of my favorites is when he catches Ross and me kissing in the first episode in the first season. Just the look on his face, and we kind of were working through what would his reaction be because all the characters were still pretty new when I went on the show. It wasn't an established hit yet, so people were still working through their characters and trying to figure out how to come up with things and stuff. So it was just fun watching him do that," Fairchild said. 

Fairchild concluded by celebrating Perry's legacy, emphasizing the joy he brought to people's lives through his work and his outreach efforts. She fondly expressed, "You know, with Matthew, I think his legacy will be joy and the joy he brought to other people through his work, but also through his outreach, his willingness to be open about his problems, the joy that he brought into people's lives that way." 

"And I would just say, Matthew, a life well lived," she added. "Well done, well done, my son. Well done."

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