Tom Selleck says Matthew Perry was the most talented Friends cast member

Tom Selleck, who played recurring character Richard on Friends, fondly remembers working with Matthew Perry on the sitcom.

matthew perry tom selleck

When beloved actor Matthew Perry passed away last October, the tributes from fans and collaborators poured in. Most of us anticipated the thoughts from his Friends co-stars, who made joint statements prior to individual ones. Now, Tom Selleck, who played Monica Gellar’s one-time love interest Richard Burke on the sitcom, is recalling his time working alongside Perry.

Speaking with USA Today, Tom Selleck remembered one moment where his character swapped mannerisms with Matthew Perry’s Chandler Bing, but the Blue Bloods actor had difficulty nailing Chandler’s trademark sarcasm. “Matthew had this speech pattern that I hadn’t been aware of…Matt told me, ‘It’s a joke, Tom.’ It’s the way he says it. But during that whole show, I kept going up to him asking, ‘Can you say it again?’ and he’d do the line. That was his signature.” On Perry’s skills overall, Selleck concluded, “He was raw talent. Matthew’s gone, so it’s easy to say this, but it’s true. I think he was the most talented of a very talented group of people.”

Tom Selleck also noted that he found a personal connection with Matthew Perry by bonding over the latter’s father, John Bennett Perry, who actually appeared on Selleck’s series Magnum P.I. “Everybody couldn’t have been nicer to me…But every day I’d see Matthew, and I’d ask him, ‘How’s your father?’ And he’d always smile and we’d catch up. I got to know his father when I was a young struggling actor. Almost any commercial or pilot I went out on, there was John. We became real good friends.” 

Tom Selleck would go on to score an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 2000. Selleck had previously won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, nabbing a total of five nominations for his work on Magnum P.I. Matthew Perry, meanwhile, would earn just one Emmy nomination for Friends in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category.

Selleck and the Friends cast got along very well – which wasn’t the case for all guest stars:

Tom Selleck was famously one of the most loved guest stars, with the Friends cast opening up in recent years about how some of the more famous people to be on the show felt it was below them. Jean-Claude Van Damme always said he was embarrased by his appearence, saying he was “hammy” and didn’t understand what the show was. By contrast, Aniston said Selleck was an angle, saying Tom has an angel’s halo over his head, it’s just a permanent halo over Tom’s head.” Selleck, for his part, said he was intimidated by how good the cast was at comedy, but says they all made him feel at home, with him particularly praising his on-screen love interest, Courtney Cox.

“Courteney helped a lot. Courteney’s a big help. But that group’s an incredible group of friends. They obviously became friends in life as well as on the show. And it shows. It was a wonderful place to work.”

For her part, Cox remembered Selleck as “the nicest” and “tallest” guest star. At 6″4, she’s not wrong there!

What is the most memorable Matthew Perry moment from Friends? Outside of the sitcom, what is your favorite Perry movie or TV show? Let us know below.

Source: USA Today

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.