Matthew Perry, Actor Best Known For Friends, Dies At 54 Of Apparent Drowning

Matthew Perry, tragically passed away at the age of 54. The cause of death is apparent drowning. According to media reports, Perry's lifeless body was discovered in a jacuzzi located on the premises of his residence in the Los Angeles area.

Matthew Perry, best known for his iconic role as Chandler Bing in the beloved TV series Friends, has tragically passed away at the age of 54.

Perry's untimely death occurred under distressing circumstances, as he was found in an apparent drowning incident at his residence in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. Multiple sources, including a representative for the actor and law enforcement, have confirmed this, as reported by NBC News. The official cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

Warner Bros Television Group, the studio responsible for producing all 10 seasons of Friends, which aired from 1994 to 2004, offered a heartfelt tribute to Matthew Perry, referring to him as "our dear friend" and highlighting his exceptional acting talent.

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“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,” it wrote.

Following minor roles in television series such as Growing Pains, Beverly Hills 90210, and Dream On, Matthew Perry achieved a breakthrough with the role of the sarcastic and neurotic Chandler Bing in Friends. This iconic sitcom, centered around the lives of six friends residing in New York City, rapidly ascended to phenomenal success.

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It garnered numerous Emmy Awards and achieved record-breaking ratings. Notably, the series finale in 2004 drew an astounding audience of over 52 million viewers in the United States, solidifying its status as the most-watched TV episode of the 2000s.

“People come up to me every day and say, ‘Hey Chandler!’ I don’t respond to it,” he said in a 2014 interview. “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.”

Matthew Perry was born in 1969 in Massachusetts to an American father and a Canadian mother. He spent his formative years in Canada, where his mother held the position of a press aide to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

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In his widely acclaimed 2022 memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," Perry shared poignant memories of his childhood.

He recounted how he misbehaved after his father abandoned their family to pursue his own aspirations in the acting world. Notably, Perry mentioned an incident in which he had engaged in some childhood bullying with a young Justin Trudeau. Reflecting on their encounter, he humorously wrote, "I decided to end my argument with him when he was put in charge of an entire army."

At the age of 15, Matthew Perry moved to Hollywood, with the hope of reconnecting with his father. It was in this new environment that he discovered his passion for acting.

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Perry's break in the world of entertainment came unexpectedly when he was spotted at a diner, where he was "charming a bunch of young women," by director William Richert.

Intrigued by Perry's charisma, Richert left a note for him, inviting him to be a part of his upcoming movie, "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon," in which he would act alongside the late River Phoenix.

When Perry was 24 years old, he began portraying the character of Chandler Bing in the television series Friends. At that time, he was relatively unknown in the entertainment industry, much like his co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer.

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Courteney Cox was an exception, as she was already recognized for her role in "Family Ties."

In a 2019 interview, Friends co-creator David Crane revealed that Chandler was the most challenging character to cast, with actors such as Craig Bierko, Jon Cryer, and Jon Favreau also being considered for te role.

“Marta Kauffman, co-creator and I were thinking Chandler is just poorly written,” added Crane. “Then Matthew came in and you went, ‘Oh, well, there you go. Done. Done. That’s the guy.’”


Matthew Perry received five Emmy Award nominations during his career, including one for his role as Chandler Bing on Friends and two for his portrayal of lawyer Joe Quincy on The West Wing.

While working on Friends, Perry also took on roles in several films, such as "Fools Rush In" alongside Salma Hayek, "Three to Tango" with Neve Campbell, and "The Whole Nine Yards" alongside Bruce Willis. Additionally, he made guest appearances in television series like Ally McBeal and Scrubs.

In a 2002 interview with the New York Times, he confessed: “I wanted to be famous so badly. You want the attention, you want the bucks, and you want the best seat in the restaurant. I didn’t think what the repercussions would be.”

Unfortunately, Perry faced personal challenges related to addiction. His struggles with addiction began in 1997 after he became addicted to pain medication following a jetski accident.

Perry later revealed that he had no recollection of three years of his time on Friends due to his addiction. His battle to maintain sobriety was a costly one, with reports suggesting he spent over $9 million in his efforts to stay sober.

“I was taking 55 Vicodin a day, I weighed 128lbs, I was on Friends getting watched by 30 million people and that’s why I can’t watch the show, because I was brutally thin,” he said.

Perry later admitted he had suffered severe anxiety “every night” while filming the show and said he felt nothing when the show ended.

When Friends ended in 2004, Matthew Perry took on the role of a lead character in the television series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," created by Aaron Sorkin.

Unfortunately, the show was canceled after just one season. In 2009, he starred in the successful comedy film "17 Again" alongside Zac Efron. Perry also made guest appearances on popular legal dramas, including "The Good Wife" and "The Good Fight."

Perry had his own one-season sitcom called "Go On," and he also starred in a three-season remake of "The Odd Couple." In 2016, he wrote and starred in a play titled "The End of Longing," which premiered in the West End and later transferred to Broadway.

However, Perry faced a serious health crisis in 2019 when his colon ruptured due to opiate abuse, which led to him being placed in a two-week coma. He underwent a staggering 14 surgeries to repair the damage caused by this life-threatening situation.

“At this point in my life, the words of gratitude pour out of me because I should be dead, and yet somehow I am not,” he wrote in Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

Following the release of the memoir, he spoke about some of his private health struggles for the first time, including a 2018 incident in which his colon burst from opioid use.

"The doctors told my family that I had a 2% chance to live," Perry told People. "I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that's called a Hail Mary. No one survives that."

In an interview with the Washington Post in November 2022, Perry said of his memoir, “It's putting me on the map and people are talking about me again. That's nice because it’s been five or six years when there was none of that. Sometimes I think I went through the addiction, alcoholism and fame all to be doing what I'm doing right now, which is helping people."

As word of Perry's death spread, friends and colleagues paid tribute on social media, among them Maggie Wheeler, who played Chandler's on-off girlfriend Janice; Paget Brewster, who also appeared in Friends; Odd Couple co-star Yvette Nicole Brown; and Meredith Salenger, who starred with Perry in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, one of his pre-Friends roles.

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