Matthew Perry, ‘Friends’ Star, Dies at 54
According to the Los Angeles Times, “authorities responded about 4 p.m. to his home, where he was discovered unresponsive. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, did not cite a cause of death. No drugs were found at the scene, sources said. Additionally, no foul play is suspected, according to law enforcement sources.” Perry’s battles with substance abuse are well documented; in his 2022 memoir Friends, Loves and the Big Terrible Thing he wrote about his long struggles with addiction. At that time, he said he had been sober for 18 months.
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Although he appeared in numerous other movies and television shows, Perry was best known for his role as lovably sarcastic Chandler Bing or ten seasons and over 230 episodes of Friends. As the story goes, Perry was Friends creators’ first choice for the role of Chandler — but he was under contract to another TV series at the time. Eventually, Perry was able to get out of the other show and audition for Chandler and got the role. He was only 24 years old at the time he was cast, and the youngest member of the core Friends cast.
Perry’s final major appearance in film or TV was in the 2021 Friends reunion on HBO Max.
Born in Massachusetts, Perry was largely raised in Canada; he went to school as a young man with future Candian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Besides his iconic role on Friends, Chandler also starred in the Aaron Sorkin series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and the sitcoms Go On and The Odd Couple. His film roles included Fools Rush In, 17 Again, and the hit comedy The Whole Nine Yards, plus its sequel, The Whole Ten Yards.
Although it’s been years since Friends was on the air, the show remains enormously popular in syndication and on streaming. In a statement, Warner Bros. Television Group said...
We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry. Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor and an indelible part of the Warner Bros. Television Group 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.
That pretty much says it. Perry was a remarkable, hilarious talent on Friends, and someone who clearly struggled away with addiction away from the cameras. This is a shocking, terrible loss.