“Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?” Matthew Perry reportedly writes in his forthcoming memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, which comes out Nov. 1. In the book, which is excerpted today in the New York Post, the Friends actor repeatedly expresses such sentiments about Reeves, who counted Phoenix among his closest friends.
Deadline has reached out to Perry’s representative and will add any comment received.
Perry himself became friends with Phoenix after they made A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon in 1988. Five years later, Phoenix died in front of the Viper Room from an overdose of cocaine and heroin.
“I heard the screaming from my apartment; went back to bed; woke up to the news,” Perry says of the moment. He again repeats a version of the refrain about talented people dying. “River was a beautiful man inside and out and too beautiful for this world, it turned out. It always seems to be the really talented guys who go down.”
In another instance Perry, who had made Almost Heroes with Chris Farley in 1988 comedy co-starring Farley, recalled his reaction when he heard the SNL star had died of an overdose at age 33.
“I punched a hole through Jennifer Aniston’s dressing room wall when I found out.” Perry then writes, “Keanu Reeves walks among us.”
The Reeves comments are just the latest startling revelation from the book. Last week an excerpt detailed the time in 2018 that Perry, due to his opioid addiction, had his colon burst, landing him in very grave condition on life support. Earlier this week, the actor described the scenario in his heart stopped for five minutes after doctors, who he didn’t tell he’d been up the night before taking pain medication, gave the actor propofol before a surgery. The combination of drugs almost proved fatal.