US actor Matthew Perry , renowned for his portrayal of Chandler Bing in the immensely popular ’90s TV series Friends, passed away at 54 at his residence in Los Angeles, as confirmed by law enforcement sources.
The iconic show, Friends, chronicling the lives of six close-knit friends in New York City, aired from 1994 to 2004, concluding with an episode that garnered a record-breaking 52.5 million viewers in the US, marking it as the most-watched TV episode of the 2000s.
Reports from the LA Times and TMZ revealed that Perry was found unresponsive in a hot tub at his home in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a “water emergency” in the Pacific Palisades area, without initially identifying Perry.
Warner Bros TV, the production company behind Friends, expressed deep sorrow over Perry’s passing, describing him as a profoundly talented actor who left an indelible mark within their TV family and worldwide. They conveyed heartfelt condolences to Perry’s family, friends, and devoted fans, acknowledging the enduring impact of his comedic brilliance.
Born in Massachusetts in 1969, Matthew Perry spent his formative years in Ottawa, Canada, attending school alongside Justin Trudeau, who would later become Canada’s Prime Minister. He relocated to Los Angeles during his teenage years and gained recognition for his role as Chazz Russell in Boys Will Be Boys, along with appearances in various shows, including Growing Pains.
Chandler Bing in Friends
However, it was his portrayal of Chandler Bing in Friends that catapulted him to international fame. The sitcom, co-starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow, became an iconic series that followed the trials and tribulations of six individuals navigating relationships, careers, and camaraderie.
Perry’s depiction of the quick-witted Chandler, known for his sardonic quips, earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination in 2002.
Throughout his career, Perry struggled with addiction to painkillers and alcohol, seeking rehabilitation on multiple occasions. In a 2016 interview with BBC Radio 2, he disclosed a three-year period during Friends that he couldn’t recall due to substance abuse.
In a more recent interview, Perry mentioned his reluctance to watch the show, explaining that it reminded him of the tumultuous times during the series’ filming due to his struggles with alcohol and drugs. He acknowledged, however, the incredible impact the show had across different generations and contemplated starting to watch it for its significance beyond his personal challenges.
Beyond Friends, Perry appeared in several movies, including Fools Rush In, Almost Heroes, and the Whole Nine Yards.