The 'Blue Bloods' actor spoke out publicly for the first time since Perry's sudden death in October
In an interview with USA Today, Selleck recalled a scene from an early episode of the hit sitcom where his character, ophthalmologist Richard Burke, was dating Monica (Courteney Cox), and he started a joke with her friends Chandler Bing (Perry) and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc).
“We had this role reversal thing going,” Selleck said of the scene, where he “tried to be like” Chandler and Joey while they tried to act like his character.
"Matthew had this speech pattern that I hadn't been aware of," he continued, referencing Perry’s sarcastic delivery of his lines that earned his character such fame. Selleck said it took some time for him to master the delivery.
"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," Selleck recalled, adding of the iconic delivery, "That was his signature."
The Blue Bloods star also raved about how talented the late actor was – and how he’d had a front row seat to it.
Thinking back to the same scene, where Chandler and Joey pretend to be Richard and vice versa, Selleck said Perry “walked onto the set, and that brought the house down."
"He was raw talent,” he continued. “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."
Selleck reflected fondly on his time on Friends overall, crediting the show’s welcoming atmosphere – and his pre-existing friendship with Perry’s father, John Bennett Perry, which provided much of the basis for the relationship that he developed with the sitcom star.
He’d known John since he was a “young struggling actor,” Selleck told the outlet. “We became real good friends.”
“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,” Selleck recalled.
He appeared on 10 episodes of the sitcom, between season 2 and 6. He made his final appearance as Dr. Richard Burke in the episode where Chandler and Monica get engaged.
“There are no bad stories,” Selleck continued. "You'd sit down to get notes on rehearsal, and it was fascinating. Courteney would be sitting on somebody's lap and then someone else's the next time. They all just got along. I think it's because all these actors had failures on other shows. And now they're in this hit. They all realized how lucky they were."
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Following Perry's death in October, an autopsy report was obtained by PEOPLE on Dec. 15, confirming that the actor died due to acute effects of ketamine. Drowning, coronary artery disease and buprenorphine effects (a medication used to treat opioid use disorder) were also listed as contributing factors in his death, which was ruled accidental.
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