Zac Efron had a lot of support on Monday as he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but there was someone whose absence was felt.
During his speech, the 36-year-old actor got a little choked up as he remembered his late 17 Again co-star, Matthew Perry.
“I also want to mention someone that’s not here today and that’s Matthew Perry, who was so kind and generous with me as we worked on 17 Again,” Efron shared. “Collaborating with him and Burr Steers was so much fun and it really did propel me and motivated me. In so many ways, it really pushed me into that next chapter of my career and for that, thank you so much, Matthew, thinking about you today.”
Perry died on Oct. 28. He was 54. The pair starred together in the 2009 comedy in which Efron played a teenage version of Perry’s character. Before his death, the late Friends actor said that he would love for Efron to play him in a biopic.
In November, the High School Musical alum reacted to Perry’s sentiments to ET.
“I heard that, it’s a huge honor,” Efron told ET. “To think he was thinking of me for that role, I mean, I would be honored to do it, to be honest.”
Present for the ceremony and there to support Efron on his big day were his Iron Claw co-star, Jeremy Allen White, the film’s director, Sean Durkin, Kevin Von Erich, whom he plays in the film, and his BFF, Miles Teller.
In the audience was Kenny Ortega, who directed the High School Musical franchise. In his speech, Efron gave his time as an East High Wildcat a special shout-out.
“You guys were both instrumental in giving me my start in High School Musical,” he said of the film’s director and producer. “And for that, I am eternally, eternally grateful, you have no idea. I still think about it every day. I still sing the songs in the shower.”
“Go Wildcats,” he added.
After the big event, Efron spoke with ET’s Cassie DiLaura about the honor, and how the entire experience was “very emotional” for him, as someone who essentially grew up working in the industry.
“I can’t believe it,” Efron said, when asked how it felt to have his name cemented in Hollywood history. “As soon as all my friends started speaking, I kind of lost it.”
“It means a lot to me, obviously. Its a huge honor to be here, you know?” he added. “I’ve been in Hollywood since I was a teenager.”
During Monday’s star ceremony, Efron became emotional while thanking his parents and his younger brother, Dylan, who were also in attendance.
“I really want to take this moment to thank my first fans, my family,” he said. “Thank you, Mom, thank you, Dad and thank you, Dylan. I know that there’s been a lot of sacrifices that you guys have made for me over my life. And it couldn’t have been easy, but thanks for believing in me and you’re the reason I’m here today. So it’s very, very special.”