Words by Abi Scaife
In the wake of the incredibly sad passing of Matthew Perry, it’s important to remember his many incredible achievements. While many are reminiscing on Matthew’s witty one-liners as Chandler Bing in Friends, Smiley News wanted to take a moment to remind our readers of the other, incredible things that he did to give back throughout his lifetime.
It’s no secret that Matthew struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol during his time on Friends - and since then, spent much of his life helping other people to become, and remain, sober.
Did Matthew Perry have a charity?
From 2013 to 2015 Matthew turned his Malibu home into the Perry House - a sober living facility that helped men that struggled with addiction to find their way to sobriety. Though the Perry House had to close for financial reasons, Matthew was keen to reopen the facility somewhere less expensive. For the Perry House, Matthew received a Champion of Recovery award from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
According to PEOPLE, Matthew was also making plans to open a foundation helping those with addiction issues before his death.
Additionally, Matthew was an Honorary Board Member for the Lili Claire Foundation since it was created in 1997. The charity was created by Leslie Litt, the Casting Director for Friends, whose daughter unfortunately died at six months old after an 18-hour surgery for a neurogenetic birth condition.
He would support Leslie in remembering her daughter and raising funds to help other families and children with neurogenetic birth conditions, by hosting their annual fundraiser for over a decade, long after their professional relationship ended.
In an incredibly emotional interview with NewsNation Prime, Leslie shared some of her memories of Matthew, including how supportive he was of her, and her charity.
“During the very last episode of Friends, when the last scene was shot and everyone was on the floor hugging and crying, Matthew turned to me and said, ‘I know I won’t see you every day, but you don't have to ask me any more. I’m there for you. I will always host it.'" shared Leslie, during her interview.
Did Matthew Perry help people get sober?
In a video on Instagram paying tribute to Matthew, Hank Azaria, who played Phoebe’s scientist boyfriend in several episodes of Friends, opened up about Matthew’s friendship - and how helped Hank find sobriety.
“The night I went into AA, Matthew brought me in,” said Hank in the video. “The whole first year I was sober we went to meetings together … he totally helped me get sober.”
Matthew was also the spokesperson for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), an American not-for-profit working on criminal justice reform. In 2011, on behalf of the NADCP, Matthew even lobbied the US Government in support of funding for drug courts.
The cast of Friends, including Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt LeBlanc, released a joint statement in tribute to their beloved friend Matthew.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew,” the five said. “We were more than just castmates. We are a family. 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.”
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
Taking Action on Addiction. Taking Action on Addiction is a campaign to improve understanding of addiction and end the stigma that surrounds it. Learn more here.
We Are With You. This charity offers free, confidential support to people in England and Scotland who have issues with drugs, alcohol or mental health. Support them here.
Aquarius Charity. This is a Midlands-based charity helping people and communities overcome the harms caused by alcohol, drugs and gambling. Find out more.