Matthew Perry, who was best known for playing sarcastic, wisecracking Chandler Bing on NBC’s smash hit comedy “Friends,” has died at 54.
Perry was found dead Saturday in a jacuzzi at his Los Angeles home, according to TMZ, the first to report the news. NBC News and the Los Angeles Times also confirmed his death with police sources.
Warner Bros. Television Group, which produced “Friends,” said in a statement. “We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry,” calling him “an incredibly gifted actor and an indelible part of the (studio’s) family. The impact of his comedic genius was felt around the world, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of so many. This is a heartbreaking day, and we send our love to his family, his loved ones, and all of his devoted fans.”
Perry co-starred on “Friends” for the entire 10-season run of what was then TV’s No. 1 comedy from 1994 to 2004, and appeared in all 234 episodes. He also starred in the films “Fools Rush In” “Almost Heroes” and “17 Again.” On TV, he followed his “Friends” role with short-lived series including Aaron Sorkin’s NBC drams “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” ABC comedy “Mr. Sunshine” and appearances on CBS’ “The Good Wife” and streaming spinoff “The Good Fight.”
It was his role as Chandler Bing on “Friends,” opposite Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc, that defined his career. By the series’ end, Chandler had married Monica (Cox) and had twins.
But Perry’s real life was not a comedy with a happy ending. He released his memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” in 2022, and opened up about life behind the scenes of the sitcom, chronicling his battle with alcohol and drugs. Perry wrote with candor and compassion and showed his dedication to continue to fighting a near-fatal battle.
“There is light in the darkness,” Perry wrote in the prologue. “You just have to look hard enough to find it.”
Perry reunited with the six original cast members of “Friends” hits HBO Max in 2021, for a sweet and emotional reunion at the Warner Bros. lot. The unscripted format allowed him to talk with co-stars Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc.
Throughout the book, Perry details an array of health complications stemming from his substance use, including alcohol-induced erectile dysfunction and pancreatitis at age 30. But one of the most eye-opening experiences in his journey was when he nearly died at age 49 after his colon exploded from opioid use. As a result, the actor was in a coma, on life support, for two weeks. What followed was five months in the hospital and nine more with a colostomy bag – a traumatic experience that ultimately “miraculously remove(d) my desire to take drugs.”
In fall of last year, Perry said he was 18 months sober. He said he was grateful to be alive and to finally share his story – with concerned “Friends” fans and addicts who face stigma and judgment.
“In the end, admitting defeat was winning,” he wrote. “Addiction, the big terrible thing, is far too powerful for anyone to defeat alone. But together, one day at a time, we can beat it down.”
Perry was born on Aug. 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. His mother, a Canadian journalist and press secretary to former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and father, an actor and model, split when he was 1, and his mother remarried “Dateline NBC” journalist Keith Morrison. He was raised in Ottawa by his mother and moved to Los Angeles as a teen. His first credited role was in ABC rescue series “240-Robert,” in 1979, and he also guest starred in ’80s sitcoms “Charles in Charge” and “Silver Spoons” early in his career.
Perry’s last Instagram post, on Monday, showed him in a jacuzzi.
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