Kathleen Turner remembers her “Friends” son Matthew Perry: 'It's extremely sad'

Kathleen Turner remembers her “Friends” son Matthew Perry: 'It's extremely sad'

Kathleen Turner is sharing a remembrance of her TV son, Matthew Perry, following his death at age 54 on Saturday.

Turner, who had a three-episode stint on Friends as the parent of Perry's Chandler Bing, said in a statement shared with EW, that she "was proud to play his 'Dad.'"

Turner and Perry communicated in the years after Friends, and the actress told PEOPLE he continued to jokingly call her "Dad."

"He came to see one of my Broadway shows, and he came backstage," Turner told the outlet. "When he saw me, he yelled out, 'Hey Dad,' and everyone thought it was pretty cool."

Kathleen Turner, Matthew Perry
Kathleen Turner, Matthew Perry

Karwai Tang/WireImage; Mike Pont/WireImage Kathleen Turner (left) and Matthew Perry (right)

The Oscar-nominated actress played Chandler's parent, a transgender woman named Helena. The show often jokingly misgendered the character and referred to her as Chandler's dad, something Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman expressed remorse over years after the show concluded.

"We kept referring to her as Chandler's father, even though Chandler's father was trans," Kaufman told BBC World Service's The Conversation in 2022. "Pronouns were not yet something that I understood. So we didn't refer to that character as she. That was a mistake."

The last time Turner and Perry got together was "at least 10 years [ago] at some event," she told PEOPLE. "I liked him. He had a good sense of humor and a good heart. He liked other people, which, to me, is terribly important, especially for an actor."

Turner continued: "It's extremely sad when you think about how young [he was] and a pity he couldn't get more control."

Friends Kathleen Turner
Friends Kathleen Turner

Everett Collection Kathleen Turner played Chandler's (Matthew Perry) transgender mother on 'Friends'

Though she appeared in just a few episodes of the hit show, it left a lasting impact on her life. "I am still constantly recognized by a certain age group as Chandler's dad," she said. "I met somebody last night and she said, 'Aren't you a movie star?' I said, 'Yeah, but before your time.' And she said, 'Well, where would I know you from?' And I said, 'Chandler's dad.' She said, 'Oh my God!'"

Turner is far from the only one sharing positive memories of time with the actor.

Morgan Fairchild, who played Perry's mother — and Turner's character's ex-wife — on Friendswrote on X (formerly Twitter): "I'm heartbroken about the untimely death of my 'son,' Matthew Perry. The loss of such a brilliant young actor is a shock. I'm sending love & condolences to his friends & family, especially his dad, John Bennett Perry, who I worked with on Flamingo Road & Falcon Crest. #RIPMatthew"

Friends co-creators Kaufman, David Crane, and executive producer David Bright said, "We will always cherish the joy, the light, the blinding intelligence [Perry] 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. We send all of our love to his family and friends."

The actor was found dead in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home on Saturday, the victim of an apparent drowning. Results of his autopsy are pending a toxicology report, which can take weeks to finish.

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content