Matthew Perry, the actor renowned for his iconic portrayal of Chandler Bing in the 1990s hit U.S. television series “Friends” and known for candidly sharing his battle with substance abuse in his 2022 memoir, has tragically passed away at the age of 54.
The news of his demise was conveyed through a statement posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, by NBC, the broadcasting network that aired “Friends” for a decade. The statement read, “We are incredibly saddened by the too-soon passing of Matthew Perry. He brought so much joy to hundreds of millions of people around the world with his pitch-perfect comedic timing and wry wit. His legacy will live on through countless generations.”
Reports from The Los Angeles Times and TMZ.com, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, indicated that the American-Canadian actor was found dead in a hot tub or jacuzzi.
According to NBC News, an unnamed representative of Perry and a law enforcement source disclosed that the actor was found dead due to an apparent drowning at his residence in the Pacific Palisades neighbourhood of Los Angeles.
Curiously, Perry’s final Instagram post on October 23 featured a photograph of him seated by a pool or jacuzzi during the night, with his caption stating, “Oh, so warm water swirling around makes you feel good? I’m Mattman.”
Matthew Perry gained widespread recognition for his enduring role as Chandler in the immensely popular “Friends,” which graced NBC’s screens for a decade, from 1994 to 2004, alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow.
The series catapulted all six cast members to international stardom, portraying a tight-knit group of young adults who shared apartments and frequented the “Central Perk,” a fictional Manhattan cafe.
A central plotline featured the clandestine romance between Chandler and Monica Geller, portrayed by Courteney Cox, a secret eventually unveiled to the other friends—Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, and Ross—one by one, leading to the eventual marriage of the two characters.
After 17 years, the entire cast reunited for a highly anticipated special that aired on HBO Max in 2021, though none could replicate the same level of individual fame and commercial success they achieved as an ensemble during the show’s peak. Each reportedly earned a staggering $1 million per episode at that time.
For much of the original run, Matthew Perry’s protracted battle with prescription drug and alcohol addiction remained hidden from the public eye, a struggle he candidly shared in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.” The book opened with his words, “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 revealed that he had achieved 18 months of sobriety, stating, “I’ve probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober.”
Following the conclusion of “Friends,” Perry ventured into three more network television projects that proved to be short-lived: “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “Mr. Sunshine,” and “Go On.”
Throughout his career, he made guest appearances and had recurring roles in other successful TV shows, including “The West Wing,” “Ally McBeal,” “Scrubs,” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.” His film credits included “Fools Rush In,” “The Whole Nine Yards,” “Almost Heroes,” and “Three to Tango.”
The actor, originally from Massachusetts, grew up in Ottawa, Canada, after his mother, a Canadian journalist who had 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, paid tribute to him, expressing his shock and sorrow on X. “I’ll never forget the schoolyard games we used to play, and I know people around the world are never going to forget the joy he brought them,” Trudeau wrote.
During his youth, Perry excelled as a top-ranked junior tennis player before relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and improvisational comedy.