“Matthew Perry, Renowned for His Iconic Role as Chandler Bing in ‘Friends,’ Passes Away at 54”
US actor Matthew Perry, best known for his portrayal of the wisecracking Chandler Bing in the beloved ’90s TV sitcom “Friends,” has sadly passed away at the age of 54.
Reports indicate that the actor was found deceased at his Los Angeles residence, according to information from law enforcement sources.
“Friends,” the hit TV series that followed the lives of six close-knit friends in New York City, aired from 1994 until 2004. Its final episode was a record-breaker, drawing 52.5 million viewers in the United States and earning the distinction of being the most-watched TV episode of the 2000s.
The LA Times and TMZ, the first to report Perry’s passing, mentioned that he was discovered unresponsive in a hot tub at his home.
While a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesperson confirmed responding to a “water emergency” at an address in the Pacific Palisades area, they did not initially identify Perry.
Warner Bros., the production company behind the long-running show, which continued to capture the hearts of new generations through reruns, expressed their appreciation for Perry, calling him a “true gift to us all.”
Born in Massachusetts in 1969, Perry grew up in Ottawa, Canada, where he attended elementary school with Justin Trudeau, who later became the Prime Minister of Canada.
In response to Perry’s passing, Prime Minister Trudeau shared his memories of their school days and expressed his sadness over the loss, saying, “Matthew Perry’s passing is shocking and saddening. 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. Thanks for all the laughs, Matthew. You were loved, and you will be missed.”
Perry relocated to Los Angeles during his teenage years and began his acting career, starring as Chazz Russell in “Boys Will Be Boys” and securing roles in other TV shows, including “Growing Pains.”
However, it was his role as Chandler Bing in “Friends,” alongside co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow, that catapulted him to international stardom. The show, which revolved around the romantic, professional, and personal adventures of six New Yorkers, became one of the most successful TV series of all time.
Perry’s portrayal of the awkward Chandler Bing, known for his sharp wit and playful antics with his roommate Joey Tribbiani, earned him an Emmy nomination in 2002.
Although at the height of his fame, Perry faced battles with addiction to painkillers and alcohol, leading to multiple stints in rehabilitation clinics. In a 2016 interview, he revealed that he couldn’t remember three years of filming “Friends” due to his struggles with substance abuse.
In a later interview, he admitted to not having watched the show, explaining that it was difficult for him to revisit it because it reminded him of his personal struggles. However, he expressed interest in watching it in the future, acknowledging its profound impact on different generations.
Entertainment reporter Sean Mandell described the sentiment in Los Angeles as one of shock and disbelief, highlighting Perry’s pivotal role in the success of “Friends” and the endearing qualities of his character.
Matthew Perry also appeared in several films, including “Fools Rush In,” “Almost Heroes,” and “The Whole Nine Yards,” but none of these projects matched the colossal success and fame he achieved with “Friends.”
In his later television work, Perry earned acclaim for his role as associate White House counsel Joe Quincy in Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing,” which earned him two Emmy nominations for outstanding guest actor in a drama series in 2003 and 2004. He also played the lead role in Sorkin’s subsequent series, “Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip,” and created and starred in his own show, “Mr. Sunshine.”
Perry’s final significant TV project, aside from the “Friends” reunion, was a TV reboot of “The Odd Couple,” which aired for three seasons on American television. In 2017, he humorously shared on Twitter that he learned of the show’s cancellation when he arrived on set and found his face painted over with green paint on the stage door.
Maggie Wheeler, known for her role as Chandler’s ex-girlfriend Janice in “Friends,” was the first of Perry’s co-stars to publicly pay tribute to the actor. She celebrated the joy Perry brought to many lives during his too-short lifetime and expressed her gratitude for the creative moments they shared.
Morgan Fairchild, who portrayed Perry’s on-screen mother and erotic novel writer Nora Bing, expressed her heartbreak at the untimely loss of her “son,” Matthew Perry, emphasizing the shock of losing such a brilliant young actor.
Actress Selma Blair, who worked with Perry, referred to him as her “oldest boy friend” and shared her deep affection for him. She expressed her broken heart and bid him sweet dreams.
Notably, just five days before his passing, Matthew Perry shared his last Instagram post, featuring a haunting image of himself in a hot tub.