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Friends director details heartbreaking texts with Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow in wake of Matthew Perry's death

Jim Burrows, who directed the first four episodes of the iconic NBC sitcom, remembered the late actor's legacy during an appearance on the Today Show


Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow attend SAG-AFTRA Foundation's 4th Annual Patron of the Artists Awards at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on November 07, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California© Getty
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
November 2, 2023
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In the wake of Matthew Perry's sudden and tragic death, more and more of his beloved colleagues, co-stars, friends, family and fans are speaking out to honor his legacy.

Fellow stars like Salma HayekSelma BlairJohn StamosPierce BrosnanKate HudsonGwyneth Paltrow, plus his Friends family Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc have all shared their own tributes.

Now, Friends director Jim Burrows, who directed the first ever episode of the legendary sitcom, is giving insight into how the Friends family is doing in the wake of losing one of their own.

Remembering Matthew Perry: Our favorite Chandler Bing moments

During an appearance on the Today Show Thursday morning, Jim shared an update on how the Friends cast is doing, revealing he "texted the girls the day we found out."

"They were destroyed," he shared, adding: "It's a brother dying." In the cast's statement to People following the news, they wrote: "We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. 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" they noted, and concluded: "For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty's family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world."

"I had to have a couple of days to just let it soak in," Jim further told Today, heartbreakingly adding: "He was part of a family and he was the first one to not be part of that family anymore."

MORE: Who is keeping Matthew Perry's dog? The telling sign in glimpse from ex-fiancée amid Lisa Kudrow reports

MORE: How Matthew Perry's co-stars really supported him off-screen, Friends creators reveal

Looking back at the beginning days of Friends, before it premiered and took the world by storm, he recalled: "I took [the cast] to dinner at Spago and this is a true story. And I said to the six of them, 'Put your seatbelt on because this is your last shot at anonymity.'"

Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, James Burrows, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox at an An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows in 2016© Getty
Jim with the Friends cast in 2016 at an event honoring his work

And remembering what made Matthew the perfect Chandler Bing, he said: "He was incredibly inventive. He was inventive with how he did a line."

He went on: "He was really funny. He was a little awkward, too. Chandler was awkward. And  Matthew was awkward. So it was a perfect, perfect meld.

FRIENDS stars Courteney Cox Arquette as Monica Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay  © NBC
Friends ran on NBC for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004

"We were so proud of him these last couple of years that he was making a remarkable recovery," he added.

Finally, asked how he thinks Matthew would want to be remembered, he concluded: "As a wonderful actor, a funny man and a dear friend to a lot of people." 

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