Fox, 62, shared a special memory about the celebrated comic actor when he sat down with ET’s Cassie DiLaura on Saturday at this year’s A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson’s Gala — his annual fundraising benefit for The Michael J. Fox Foundation — held at Casa Cipriani in New York City.
“Matthew and I had spent some time together over the years,” Fox shared. “He was a hockey player, a good hockey player, and we played hockey together.”
During an interview in 2022, Perry reflected on how, as a young, aspiring actor, he looked to Fox’s career as an inspiration for his own. According to Fox, the two wound up getting to know one another, and he reflected on the help Perry provided when Fox was trying to establish his charitable foundation.
Fox explained that when Perry and his fellow Friends co-stars signed their record-setting contracts, Perry showed a great deal of generosity to Fox’s organization.
“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 foundation,” he shared. “We were really early on and trying to find our feet. And it was such a vote of confidence.”
“And it wasn’t accompanied by any self-aggrandizing or anything, he was just like, ‘Take it and do your best,'” Fox said. “I loved that.”
As for serving as an inspiration or influence on Perry, Fox simply said, “He was just a funny guy, and if I was ever as funny as him — I mean, he was the funniest — I’m happy I had an impact on him. He was a funny guy.”
In November 2022, while promoting the release of his memoir — Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing — Perry sat down for a public conversation with Tom Power in Toronto, and he addressed being influenced by Fox when he was a teenager.
“I was young, I had done a couple of plays in school, and Michael J. Fox was it, man. When I was in 9th 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,” Perry explained during their discussion. And he had, at the time, the no. 1 TV show and the no.1 movie at the same time! So he was huge. And I don’t know anybody else who’s done that — except me.”
Perry was found dead in a hot tub at his home in Los Angeles, California, on Oct. 28. He was 54.
The actor was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, not far from Warner Bros. Studios where he filmed Friends. The funeral was held on Friday, Nov. 3, and was attended by his family and friends, including his former cast members Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer.