In an exclusive Today show interview this morning, James Burrows, the director of the beloved TV series Friends, expressed his deep sorrow over the passing of actor Matthew Perry. Burrows revealed that he needed a few days to process the loss, emphasizing how Perry had been an integral part of the Friends family but was now the first to depart from that close-knit circle.
Burrows, who directed the first four episodes of the iconic show, disclosed that upon learning of Perry’s untimely death at the age of 54 last Saturday, he reached out to several of the show’s cast members, including Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow.
Reflecting on Perry’s portrayal of Chandler Bing, Burrows praised his star-making performance, describing him as incredibly inventive in how he delivered his lines. He pointed out the intriguing parallel between the character Chandler and Matthew himself, highlighting their shared wit and a touch of awkwardness, making their blend a perfect match.
Recollecting the time just before Friends made its debut, Burrows recounted a pivotal moment when he took the cast to dinner at Spago and delivered a prophetic message, saying, “Put your seatbelt on because this is your last shot at anonymity.”
The director also fondly remembered a memorable episode featuring Perry’s Chandler stuck in an ATM vestibule with Victoria’s Secret model Jill Goodacre. He commended Perry’s remarkable ability to convey emotions through facial expressions, emphasizing how he was always conscious of his on-screen presence, even when he wasn’t speaking.
Regarding Perry’s well-documented struggles with addiction and alcoholism, Burrows expressed the team’s immense pride in witnessing his remarkable recovery in the last few years.