Chinese ‘Friends’ Fans Mourn Matthew Perry

Long before Friends made its official debut in China, the show was a word-of-mouth phenomenon in the country. In the wake of Matthew Perry’s death at 54, fans in China are mourning the loss of the star who felt less like a distant celebrity and more like an old friend.

A Wednesday evening memorial at a cafe in Shenzhen, a busy city across the border of Hong Kong, was one of several held throughout the country for the actor who played Chandler Bing and died Saturday in Los Angeles. The coffee shop — an homage to the 10-season sitcom, from its name (Smelly Cat) to the Central Perk sign on its glass wall — was packed with people and floral arrangements as the TV mounted in the corner played an episode of Friends.

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