Salma Hayek has said she will cherish the “silliness, perseverance, and lovely heart” of her late Fools Rush In co-star Matthew Perry.
While best known for playing witty and sarcastic Chandler Bing on hit sitcom Friends, Perry had described his starring role in the 1997 romantic comedy as “probably his best movie”.
Tributes from the entertainment world, including from the creators and supporting stars of Friends, have poured in since the news of Perry’s death aged 54 on Saturday.
Alongside a selection of photos of them together, Hayek wrote: “Two days ago, I woke up to the shocking news that Matthew Perry is no longer with us. It’s taken me a couple of days to process this profound sadness.
“There is a special bond that happens when you share dreams with someone, and together you work towards them.
“I was very moved last year when Matthew shared on his Instagram stories how much he loved ‘Fools Rush In,’ and how he thought that that film we did together was probably his best movie.
“Throughout the years, he and I found ourselves reminiscing about that meaningful time in our lives with a deep sense of nostalgia and gratitude.
“My friend, you are gone much too soon, but I will continue to cherish your silliness, your perseverance, and your lovely heart. Farewell, sweet Matthew, we will never forget you.”
They starred opposite each other in the film about a couple who find their lives altered after Hayek’s character gets pregnant following a one night stand.
Perry rose to fame alongside his fellow stars of the American sitcom Friends – Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer.
While his on-screen character brought joy to many, the actor has spoken candidly about how he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction when filming the series.
His fellow Friends cast member Maggie Wheeler, who played Chandler’s on-and-off girlfriend, Janice Hosenstein, was among those to pay tribute, saying the “world will miss you”.
She added: “The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on.”
Elliott Gould, who played the father of Ross and Monica Geller (Schwimmer and Cox), remembered Perry as “kind, thoughtful, smart, funny, and just a terrifically, talented actor”.
He added: “Matthew told me he was so honored to be working with me. What he didn’t know until I told him, was that it was my privilege to play his father-in-law.”
Actress Brooke Shields, who had a guest role as Joey Tribbiani’s (LeBlanc) stalker Erika Ford, said she loved Perry “dearly” and thanked him for the “belly laughs”.
While Hank Azaria, who appeared in several episodes of the sitcom playing Phoebe Buffay’s (Kudrow) love interest David, said Perry was like a “brother” to him.
In a video posted to his Instagram page he said: “We were there for each other in the early days of our career and he was, to me, as funny as he was on Friends… in person he was just the funniest man ever.
“And every night, he was like a genius, he would start to weave comedy threads together, just hanging out – little joke here, joke there, joke here, joke there – and then by the end of the night he would weave them all together in this crescendo of hilarity.”
In a joint statement, Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, along with executive producer Kevin Bright, described their “shock” and being “deeply saddened” at Perry’s death.
They added: “We will always cherish the joy, the light, the blinding intelligence he brought to every moment – not just to his work, but in life as well.
“He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart.”
They also said: “This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”
Lindsay Posner, who directed the play The End Of Longing, written by and starring Perry, said he wanted to be remembered for “helping people to recover”.
Paying tribute to the Emmy-nominated actor on Radio 4’s Today programme, the British theatre director recalled how he was “very warm and generous” and was “keen to be thought of as a serious actor, a comic actor”.
She added: “(The End Of Longing) was an autobiographical play about addiction.
“He said to me he would like to be remembered for helping people through the play … helping people to recover.”
Famous figures such as Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Sarah, Duchess of York are also among those who have paid tribute to the late star.
I remember being thrilled to have met a natural talent, comedian and brilliant actor. It is a tragedy to lose you so early in life, rest in peace dear Matthew … you have given so much joy and laughter to so many. pic.twitter.com/sdhtPuzOSV
— Sarah Ferguson (Fergie) (@SarahTheDuchess) October 29, 2023
Perry’s family said in a statement to US publication People that they were “heartbroken” following the “tragic loss” of their son and brother.
They added: “You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love.”
Los Angeles police responded to a radio call just after 4pm on Saturday for a death investigation of a male in his 50s, PA news agency understands.
A statement from Captain Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department to PA said they found a “male unconscious in a stand-alone jacuzzi”.
It also said: “The circumstances are under investigation by LAPD and the LA County medical examiner. We mourn with families and friends who lose a loved one unexpectedly.”