Beloved actor Matthew Perry, renowned for his portrayal of Chandler Bing in the beloved TV sitcom Friends, has passed away at the age of 54.
According to reports from sources including a representative for the actor and law enforcement, Perry died in a tragic drowning incident at his residence in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. The official cause of death has yet to be disclosed.
Warner Bros Television Group, the production company behind all 10 seasons of Friends from 1994 to 2004, paid tribute to “our dear friend” and acknowledged him as “an incredibly gifted actor.”
“The impact of his comedic genius was felt worldwide, and his legacy will endure in the hearts of so many. This is a devastating day, and our love goes out to his family, loved ones, and his dedicated fans,” they wrote.
Before landing the iconic role of Chandler Bing, Perry had minor parts in Growing Pains, Beverly Hills 90210, and Dream On. Friends, a series centered around six friends living in New York City, swiftly gained immense popularity, garnering numerous Emmys and record-breaking ratings. The show’s 2004 finale attracted over 52 million viewers in the US, marking it as the most-watched TV episode of the 2000s.
In a 2014 interview, Perry expressed his discontent with being constantly recognized as Chandler, stating, “People come up to me every day and say, ‘Hey Chandler!’ I don’t respond to it. If somebody says, ‘Hi Matthew, I love your work,’ that’s one thing. But if somebody goes ‘Yo, Chandler,’ I don’t like that. I’m tired of it. I’m not Chandler.”
Perry’s journey began in Massachusetts in 1969, raised by his American father and Canadian mother, who served as a press aide to Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau. His memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, published in 2022, delved into his early life, recounting turbulent experiences after his father left the family to pursue acting ambitions, even including an incident of bullying a young Justin Trudeau.
Transitioning to Hollywood at the age of 15, Perry embarked on his acting career, eventually gaining attention in a diner and landing a role in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon alongside River Phoenix.
Perry’s legacy extends beyond Friends, as he received Emmy nominations for his performances in both Friends and his role as lawyer Joe Quincy on The West Wing. Despite his success, Perry battled addiction and health issues, sharing his struggles openly and candidly in his memoir and various interviews over the years.
The passing of this cherished actor has left a void in the entertainment industry, with fans and colleagues alike mourning the loss of a remarkable talent.