Michael J. Fox recalled Matthew Perry’s generous donation to his foundation after the actor signed his record-breaking Friends contract.
“I hope this isn’t indiscreet … But when they first made their big sale [on their Friends contracts] and were made millionaires for the rest of their lives, he wrote a big fat check to the [Michael J. Fox] Foundation,” Fox, 62, told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published on Monday, November 13. “We were really early on and trying to find our feet. And it was such a vote of confidence.”
Fox added that Perry’s generous deed wasn’t “accompanied by any self-aggrandizing,” and instead served as a symbol of good faith in Fox’s efforts. “It was a, ‘Take it and do your best,’” Fox said. “I loved that.”
In 1998, Fox revealed he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease seven years prior. He subsequently became an advocate for finding a cure, founding the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000 to help fund research.
Perry, meanwhile, teamed up with the rest of the Friends cast in 2002 to negotiate a historic $1 million per episode for each of the show’s six main stars. The actor – along with Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow — all collectively bargained for the deal, telling the network they would leave the NBC hit if they weren’t paid equally.
Fox told ET on Monday that he and Perry “spent some time together over the years” and eventually formed a friendship over their mutual love for hockey. He called the late sitcom star — who often praised Fox publicly for his talent — a “funny guy,” adding, “I’m happy I had an impact on him.”
News of Perry’s death broke on October 28 after he was found “unconscious in a stand-alone jacuzzi” by law enforcement officials in his Pacific Palisades home. The Los Angeles Fire Department confirmed days later that he had been “deceased prior to the first responder’s arrival.” His official cause of death has yet to be confirmed pending a toxicology report. He was 54.
Following his death, it was announced that Perry’s legacy will live on through his own foundation, which will help those “struggling with the disease of addiction” and will be “guided by his own words and experiences and driven by his passion for making a difference in as many lives as possible.”
Throughout his life, Perry didn’t shy away from discussing his addiction issues, which he detailed in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. While promoting the book in November 2022, the Fools Rush In star opened up about how Fox helped shape him as an actor during an interview with Tom Power.
“I was young, I had done a couple of plays in school, and Michael J. Fox was it, man,” Perry gushed at the time. “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.”