Near-fatal ODs and love faxes to Julia Roberts: What Matthew Perry’s memoir reveals
On Dec. 5, 1991, Matthew Perry’s mother, Ethel, went to the hospital. She was only 56, but doctors determined her condition was terminal, and by Jan. 31, 1992, she was gone.
She had been at the hospital for three days when her son received the final phone call: she was dying. But Ethel didn’t die there — she died at home in Beverly Hills.
On Feb. 3, 1992, Matthew was sitting in Beverly Hills High School’s gym, playing basketball, when the letter arrived in the mail. It was from his mother’s former doctor, Dr. Henry Kogan, who said he would have been proud of his mother’s life as a “model of courage and commitment.”
That week, when Perry graduated from high school, Dr. Kogan wrote to him:
Thank you for attending Beverly Hills High School. As you may know, your mother died on Jan. 31, 1992, and your life will never be the same. You will, however, live longer. Some time after you graduate from high school, you will go to medical school. You will make a difference in the lives of others.
I cannot express how proud I am of your mother. You have a wonderful father who is always with you. He is the best.
And so that was the end of Matthew Perry. His mother died, his father died, and he was about to attend a prestigious college — and leave behind a legacy.
He remembers seeing news reports about his mother and father, in her hospital bed, and in the years to come, he would hear about them from his father and other family members.
“It was painful to watch them. I was never one to grieve in a dramatic way. I was much more in the mode of getting on with my life,” Perry said. “You just