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George Clooney reflects on loss of “great, funny” Matthew Perry

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NBC’s 1990s “Must See TV” line-up famously saw Seinfeld, Friends, and ER dominating Thursday nights, and George Clooney looked back at those days to Deadline, through the lens of the loss of Matthew Perry.

“I knew Matt when he was 16 years old. We used to play paddle tennis together,” Clooney recalled of the actor who died at 54 on October 28.

An autopsy report named acute effects of ketamine as Perry’s cause of death.

“He’s about 10 years younger than me,” Clooney adds. “And he was a great, funny, funny, funny kid. He was a kid and all he would say to us … was, ‘I just want to get on a sitcom, man. I just want to get on a regular sitcom and I would be the happiest man on earth."”

Clooney continues, “And he got on probably one of the best ever. He wasn’t happy. It didn’t bring him joy or happiness or peace. And watching that go on on the lot — we were at Warner Brothers, we were there right next to each other — it was hard to watch because we didn’t know what was going through him.”

He adds he didn’t know about Perry’s Vicodin addiction at the time. “We just knew that he wasn’t happy … And it also just tells you that success and money and all those things, it doesn’t just automatically bring you happiness. You have to be happy with yourself and your life.”

Clooney says the casts of Friends and ER made their debuts together at NBC’s Upfront presentation in 1994, and remained “all really close.”

He explains, “Two weeks after we debuted, we were on the cover of Newsweek. Everything changed for us after that.”

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