Remembering Matthew Perry: ‘Friends’ Star Who Triumphed and Struggled
Los Angeles, CA – The entertainment world is in mourning today as news of the untimely death of Matthew Perry, the beloved actor best known for his iconic role as Chandler Bing in the hit television series “Friends,” has shaken fans worldwide. Perry, who openly chronicled his long-standing battle with substance abuse, passed away at the age of 54.
The sad news of his passing was confirmed in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, by NBC, the network that aired “Friends” for a decade. NBC Entertainment expressed deep sorrow over Perry’s passing and acknowledged the immense joy he brought to countless fans around the world with his impeccable comedic timing and wry wit. They asserted that his legacy would endure for generations to come.
According to reports from The Los Angeles Times and TMZ.com, the actor was found lifeless in a hot tub or jacuzzi. NBC News, referencing an unnamed representative of Perry and a law enforcement source, revealed that the actor had tragically died from an apparent drowning at his residence in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Coincidentally, Perry’s final Instagram post, dated October 23, featured a photo of him sitting by a pool or jacuzzi at night, accompanied by the caption, “Oh, so warm water swirling around makes you feel good? I’m Mattman.”
Matthew Perry rose to stardom in the 1990s with his portrayal of Chandler Bing, one of the six close-knit friends in the groundbreaking sitcom “Friends.” The show, which aired for a decade from 1994 to 2004, was a colossal success, making international celebrities out of its six cast members, including Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow. They played a group of young adults sharing apartments and bonding over coffee at the fictional “Central Perk” café in Manhattan.
One of the show’s central plotlines involved a secret romance between Chandler and Monica Geller, played by Courteney Cox, a story arc that captivated fans as it unfolded over time. The characters eventually married, marking a memorable moment in the series. The entire cast reunited 17 years after the show’s conclusion for a highly-anticipated reunion special that aired on HBO Max in 2021. However, none of them could individually replicate the level of stardom and success they achieved as part of the ensemble cast. At the show’s peak, they each reportedly earned an astounding $1 million per episode.
Behind the scenes, Perry battled a prolonged struggle with addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol, a fight he candidly shared in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.” The book opens with a stark statement from the actor: “Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”
In an interview with The New York Times, published in October 2022, Perry disclosed that he had been clean for 18 months, revealing that he had spent a substantial amount of money in his journey towards sobriety. Despite the challenges he faced, he continued to inspire many with his resilience.
Following his role on “Friends,” Perry starred in several network television projects, including “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “Mr. Sunshine,” and “Go On,” though these ventures proved short-lived. He also made guest appearances or had recurring roles in other hit TV shows such as “The West Wing,” “Ally McBeal,” “Scrubs,” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.” Perry’s film credits included “Fools Rush In,” “The Whole Nine Yards,” “Almost Heroes,” and “Three to Tango.”
Born in Massachusetts, Perry grew up in Ottawa after his mother, a Canadian journalist who once served as press secretary to former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, divorced Perry’s father and married a Canadian broadcast personality. Current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was a childhood friend of Perry’s, expressed his shock and sadness over the actor’s passing, reminiscing about the schoolyard games they used to play and acknowledging the joy Perry brought to people worldwide.
As a young man, Perry excelled as a junior tennis player before relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and improvisational comedy.
Matthew Perry’s passing is a stark reminder of the challenges that many individuals face in their personal lives, regardless of their public success. He leaves behind a rich legacy as a talented actor who brought laughter and joy to millions, while also serving as an inspiration to those battling their own demons.