Matthew Perry, the cherished actor renowned for his role as the witty Chandler Bing on the highly-rated 1990s American TV series “Friends,” passed away on Saturday. The cause of his death appears to be drowning in a hot tub, and he was 54 years old.
According to reports from the Los Angeles Times and TMZ.com, law enforcement sources revealed that the American-Canadian actor was discovered lifeless in a jacuzzi at his residence in Los Angeles. NBC, the network that aired “Friends” for a decade, officially confirmed his passing in a statement posted on the social media platform X.
The news elicited a wave of sorrow from fellow celebrities and prominent individuals.
Mira Sorvino, the actress, expressed on X: “Oh, what a loss!!! Matthew Perry!! You, a sweet and tormented spirit!! May you discover happiness in Heaven, sharing your unique wit to bring laughter to everyone!!!”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had been a former schoolmate of Perry’s in Ottawa, characterized his passing as “shocking and deeply saddening.”
“I’ll always cherish the schoolyard games we used to play, and I believe people worldwide will forever remember the happiness he shared with them,” Trudeau stated on X. “Thank you for all the laughter, Matthew. You were adored – and you will be remembered.”
NBC News reported, based on information from an unnamed representative of Perry and a law enforcement source, that he was discovered deceased at his residence in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.
“We deeply mourn the untimely passing of Matthew Perry,” stated NBC Entertainment. “He brought immeasurable joy to countless individuals worldwide with his impeccable comedic timing and clever humor. His legacy will endure for generations to come.”
Matthew Perry’s final Instagram post, dated October 23, featured a photo of him seated beside a pool or jacuzzi at night, accompanied by the caption: “Oh, so warm water swirling around makes you feel good? I’m Mattman.”
Perry was most renowned for his enduring portrayal of Chandler in the globally acclaimed “Friends,” a series that ran for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004. He starred alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow. The show catapulted all six cast members to international stardom as they portrayed a tight-knit group of young adults who shared their lives in each other’s apartments and at “Central Perk,” a fictional Manhattan coffee shop.
One of the major story lines involved a clandestine romance between Chandler and Monica Geller, the character played by Cox, which the four other friends – Rachel, Joey, Phoebe and Ross – each discovered one by one. The pair eventually marry. The group reunited in 2021, 17 years after the series finale, for a much-hyped special that aired on HBO Max.
The show was, for a time, the most watched U.S. television program in prime time, with each actor earning $1 million per episode at the height of its popularity. Hidden from the public’s view during much of the original run was Perry’s prolonged struggle with addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol, which he detailed in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.”
“Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead,” Perry wrote in the opening of the book.
In a New York Times interview published in October 2022, Perry said he had been clean for 18 months: “I’ve probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober.” Perry recounted in his book that he had to be driven back to rehab right after shooting the episode of Chandler and Monica’s wedding. Following “Friends,” Perry went on to star in three more network television ventures that proved short-lived – “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “Mr. Sunshine” and “Go On.” He also logged guest appearances or recurring roles in other hit TV shows, including “The West Wing,” “Ally McBeal,” “Scrubs” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
His motion picture credits included “Fools Rush In,” “The Whole Nine Yards,” “Almost Heroes” and “Three to Tango.” The Massachusetts-born actor grew up in Ottawa after his mother, a Canadian journalist who once served as press secretary to former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, divorced Perry’s father and married a Canadian broadcasting personality. Perry was a top-ranking junior tennis player before he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and improvisational comedy.