David Schwimmer’s Generosity On ‘Friends’ Rediscovered Following Matthew Perry’s Death

In the mass of fresh appreciation for Matthew Perry and his work on Friends this week following his death last weekend, David Schwimmer’s generosity to his five castmates has come to light.

Perry and his five fellow leads on the record-breaking sitcom that ran from 1994 to 2004 were a famously tight bunch, both on and off screen. This weekend, The Guardian newspaper highlighted Schwimmer’s role in sharing out the riches that came the cast’s way as a result of the show’s enormous success.

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The newspaper quotes Perry’s memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, in which the actor revealed it was Schwimmer who was considered the show’s breakout star and, due to the success of the Rachel-Ross love story, was being paid more, along with Jennifer Aniston.

Perry wrote that, for season three, Schwimmer initiated the idea that, instead of his taking a bigger share, they should negotiate their salaries as a group. And he asked Aniston if she would be willing to take a pay cut along with him, so the others could get equal pay.

Perry applauded Schwimmer in his memoir. “David had certainly been in a position to go for the most money, and he didn’t,” he wrote. “I would like to think that I would have made the same move, but as a greedy 25-year-old, I’m not sure I would have. But his decision served to make us take care of each other through what turned out to be a myriad of stressful network negotiations, and it gave us a tremendous amount of power.”

Indeed, by the final season, each of them were making $1,100,040 an episode, Perry revealed, and doing fewer episodes. “We had David’s goodness, and his astute business sense, to thank for what we had been offered. I owe you about $30m, David.”

Perry’s five castmates released a joint statement this week, following his death last Saturday. They said they were still processing their unfathomable loss, and would say more in due course.

All five joined Perry’s friends and family at his funeral service at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles on Friday.

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