We’ve received the heartbreaking news of the passing of US actor Matthew Perry, who will forever be cherished for his unforgettable role as the quick-witted Chandler Bing in the iconic ’90s TV show, Friends. At just 54 years old, he was found lifeless at his Los Angeles residence, a somber revelation delivered by US law enforcement authorities.
Friends, a show that captured the trials and tribulations of six close-knit friends navigating life in the bustling heart of New York City, ran from 1994 to 2004. Its final episode, a bittersweet farewell, drew a staggering 52.5 million viewers in the US, cementing its status as the most-watched TV episode of the 2000s.
News sources, including the LA Times and TMZ, report that Perry was discovered unresponsive in a hot tub at his Pacific Palisades home during a mysterious “water emergency.”
Warner Bros., the studio behind the show that continues to enchant new generations through reruns across the globe, paid tribute to Perry as a “true gift to us all.”
Born in Massachusetts in 1969, Perry spent his formative years in Ottawa, Canada, where he shared a schoolyard with Justin Trudeau, Canada’s future Prime Minister. Trudeau expressed his shock and sorrow at Perry’s passing, recalling their shared childhood games and acknowledging the enduring joy Perry brought to countless people worldwide.
Perry made the life-changing move to Los Angeles as a teenager, embarking on his acting journey with roles like Chazz Russell in Boys Will Be Boys and appearances in shows like Growing Pains. However, it was his portrayal of Chandler Bing in Friends, alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow, that catapulted him to international stardom. The show, celebrated for its poignant depiction of dating, careers, and enduring friendships, stands as one of the most iconic TV series in history.
Matthew Perry’s portrayal of Chandler Bing, an endearing character known for his sharp humor and endearing antics alongside roommate Joey Tribbiani, earned him an Emmy nomination in 2002.
Despite his fame, Perry faced a relentless battle with addiction to painkillers and alcohol, seeking rehabilitation on multiple occasions. In a candid 2016 interview with BBC Radio 2, he revealed his inability to recall three years of filming Friends due to substance use.
In a recent interview, he admitted that he had refrained from watching the show, fearing it would serve as a stark reminder of his struggles with addiction. Nevertheless, he expressed an earnest desire to revisit it, acknowledging its everlasting impact on different generations.
Matthew Perry’s untimely passing has left Los Angeles and the world in disbelief and profound sadness. Entertainment reporter Sean Mandell described Perry as a linchpin of Friends’ success, attributing the show’s unique charm to his character’s perfect blend of wit and genuine warmth.
Beyond his television career, Perry ventured into film but never stumbled upon a project that could rival the immense success and fame achieved through Friends. His later TV ventures, including roles in Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing and his personal series, Mr. Sunshine, were met with critical acclaim. Perry’s final significant TV project was a reboot of The Odd Couple, followed by the highly anticipated Friends reunion.
Maggie Wheeler, who portrayed Janice, Chandler’s infamous ex-girlfriend on Friends, was the first among his co-stars to publicly pay tribute, highlighting the indelible joy he brought into countless lives. Other colleagues, such as Morgan Fairchild and Selma Blair, also expressed their profound sorrow at the loss of this brilliant and beloved actor.
Just a mere five days before his departure, Matthew Perry shared his last Instagram post, which hauntingly featured a photo of himself in a hot tub, an image that now carries poignant significance.