Actor Matthew Perry, widely recognized for his role as the witty Chandler Bing in the immensely popular ’90s TV series “Friends,” and who candidly documented his prolonged battle with substance abuse in a memoir last year, has passed away at the age of 54.
News of his death was officially confirmed by NBC, the network that aired “Friends” for a decade, through a statement posted on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter).
NBC Entertainment expressed deep sadness, praising Perry for bringing joy to countless people around the world with his impeccable comedic timing and clever humor, ensuring his legacy would endure for generations.
Reports from unnamed law enforcement sources, as cited by the Los Angeles Times and TMZ.com, suggest that the American-Canadian actor was found dead in a hot tub.
Meanwhile, NBC News, citing an unnamed representative of Perry and a law enforcement source, reported that the actor appeared to have drowned, with his body discovered at his home in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.
In an ironic twist, Perry’s final Instagram post, dated October 23, featured a picture of him seated by a pool or jacuzzi at night, with a caption that read, “Oh, so warm water swirling around makes you feel good? I’m Mattman.”
Matthew Perry’s most iconic role was as Chandler in “Friends,” a series that ran for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004, alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow.
The show propelled all six cast members to international stardom, portraying a close-knit group of young adults who shared apartments and gathered at the “Central Perk,” a fictitious Manhattan café.
One of the central storylines involved Chandler’s secret romance with Monica Geller, portrayed by Courteney Cox, eventually leading to their marriage. In 2021, the entire cast reunited for a highly anticipated special that aired on HBO Max, marking 17 years since the series finale.
Despite their individual successes, none of the actors managed to replicate the level of fame and commercial triumph achieved as part of the “Friends” ensemble, each reportedly earning $1 million per episode at the pinnacle of the show’s popularity.
Throughout his career, Matthew Perry wrestled privately with addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol, which he candidly recounted in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.”
In the book’s opening, Perry wrote, “Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”
In a New York Times interview in October 2022, Perry revealed that he had been sober for 18 months, acknowledging the extensive financial and emotional cost of his journey to sobriety.
Following “Friends,” Perry took on leading roles in three short-lived network television projects, including “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “Mr. Sunshine,” and “Go On.”
He also made guest appearances and had recurring roles in popular TV series like “The West Wing,” “Ally McBeal,” “Scrubs,” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.” Perry’s filmography included movies such as “Fools Rush In,” “The Whole Nine Yards,” “Almost Heroes,” and “Three to Tango.”
Born in Massachusetts, Perry spent his formative years in Ottawa, Canada, following his mother’s marriage to a Canadian broadcast personality after her divorce from Perry’s father.
Justin Trudeau, the current Prime Minister of Canada and the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, paid tribute to Perry as a childhood friend and expressed his shock and sadness over the actor’s passing.
As a young athlete, Perry became a top-ranked junior tennis player before relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and improvisational comedy.