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Tom Selleck asked ‘most talented’ Friends star Matthew Perry for comedic advice

Tom Selleck has shared a lasting on-set memory of Friends co-star Matthew Perry, who died last October aged 54.

The Magnum PI alum, 79, guest-starred on the hit sitcom as Richard Burke, the older love interest to Monica Gellar (Courteney Cox), before she went on to eventually marry Perry’s Chandler Bing.

In one of the show’s earlier episodes, Chandler and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) become infatuated with Richard’s charisma and begin copying him.

“We had this role reversal thing going, where (Richard) tried to be like them, and them like me,” Selleck told USA Today in a new interview.

During a later scene, when the three are playing foosball, Richard pointedly mimicks Chandler by saying: “Could that shot be any prettier?”

“Matthew had this speech pattern that I hadn’t been aware of,” Selleck explained, recalling that he had difficulty nailing the line with Perry’s signature sarcasm.

“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.”

Tom Selleck and Matthew Perry (Getty Images)
Tom Selleck and Matthew Perry (Getty Images)

“Everybody couldn’t have been nicer to me,” Selleck said. “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.”

Remembering Perry’s “raw talent”, Selleck added: “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.

“[Perry] walked onto the set, and that brought the house down,” he said.

The cause of Perry’s sudden death was revealed to have been due to the “acute effects of ketamine”, according to Los Angeles Medical Examiner’s Office. His death was ruled an accident.

Following his passing, the core Friends cast members, Cox, LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer, released a group statement: “We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”

They each later paid tribute to him in separate Instagram posts.