Michael J Fox recalls Matthew Perry’s ‘big fat’ secret donation

Michael J Fox is remembering the “funny” Matthew Perry and the secret, generous donation he once made to support the Back to the Future star’s charitable organisation for Parkinson’s disease.

Speaking in an interview at the recent annual fundraising benefit for his Michael J Fox Foundation, the actor, 62, recalled the late Friends star writing the foundation a “big fat cheque” after he and his co-stars landed the historical $1m per episode contract.

“I hope this isn’t indiscreet,” Fox told Entertainment Tonight, “but when they first made their big sale and were made millionaires for the rest of their lives, [Perry] wrote a big fat cheque to the foundation.

“We were really early on and trying to find our feet. And it was such a vote of confidence,” he added. “And it wasn’t accompanied by any self-aggrandising or anything, he was just like, ‘Take it and do your best.’ I loved that.”

Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, founded his non-profit in 2000 to fund research to find a cure, as well as improve the development of therapies to aid those with the disease.

In November 2022, a year before Perry’s tragic death at age 54, he expressed his admiration for Fox, saying: “When I was in ninth grade, Michael J Fox had just done Back to the Future, and there was smoke coming out of my ears, I was so jealous of this guy.

“I was young, I had done a couple of plays in school, and Michael J Fox was it, man,” he said at an event in promotion of his memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

Michael J Fox and Matthew Perry (Getty Images)
Michael J Fox and Matthew Perry (Getty Images)

“And he had, at the time, the No 1 TV show and the No 1 movie at the same time! So he was huge,” Perry said, before quipping, “And I don’t know anybody else who’s done that – except me.”

Responding to Perry’s praise, Fox returned the kind words, calling him “a funny guy”. “He was just a funny guy, and if I was ever as funny as him – I mean, he was the funniest – I’m happy I had an impact on him,” the Stuart Little actor told ET.

“Matthew and I had spent some time together over the years,” Fox recounted. “He was a hockey player, a good hockey player, and we played hockey together.”

Perry, who saw instant success with his portrayal of sarcastic jokester Chandler Bing on the hit NBC sitcom, was found dead in an apparent drowning at his Los Angeles home on 28 October.

Although his cause of death was deemed “inconclusive” after an initial postmortem, his recently released death certificate states that his cause of death remains “deferred”.