‘Friends’ Star Matthew Perry Dead at 54
Matthew Perry, the Canadian-American actor best known for his role as Chandler Bing in the beloved sitcom Friends, has died. He was 54 years old.
Perry's death was first reported on Saturday night (Oct. 28) by TMZ, who reported that he died at his Los Angeles-area home of an apparent drowning. Capt. Scott Williams of the L.A. Police Department's Robbery-Homicide division subsequently confirmed Perry's death to the New York Times, adding that the cause of death will not be officially determined for some time, but that nothing indicates foul play.
TMZ also shared some details about the day that led up to Perry's death, reporting that he spent about two hours playing pickleball before returning home and sending his assistant out to run an errand. Upon returning, the assistant found Perry unresponsive and called 911.
Perry was born in 1969 in Williamstown, Mass., but he was raised primarily in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His mother, Suzanne Marie Morrison, and father, John Bennett Perry, divorced when he was a baby. His mother remarried Keith Morrison, famed broadcast journalist and longtime correspondent for NBC's Dateline, and Perry grew up with Morrison as his stepfather.
Perry began pursuing acting roles as a child, and he was 24 years old when he debuted his role of Chandler Bing on Friends in 1994. He was featured throughout all 10 seasons of the wildly popular sitcom, alongside his co-stars Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc.
As his career was busier and more successful than it had ever been, Perry's problems with addiction were ramping up: He battled alcohol and drug addiction for decades and spent "more than half his life in treatment centers or sober living facilities," according to the New York Times.
He became addicted to Vicodin in the late '90s, and was hospitalized for pancreatitis a few years later. The decades ahead included many attempts at sobriety and many lapses. In 2018, Perry spent five months hospitalized for a gastrointestinal perforation related to substance use. At the time of his hospitalization, he was given a two percent chance of survival. His colon burst, he spent two weeks in a coma and required a colostomy bag for the next nine months. Perry ultimately got sober and detailed his experience with addiction his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.
TMZ reported that no drugs were found at the scene of Perry's death.
Fan tributes poured in for Perry after news broke that he had died; among them was a post from actor Maggie Wheeler, who played Janice, Chandler Bing's longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend on Friends. Known for her distinctive laugh and catchphrase "Oh. My. GOD," Janice's character and her relationship with Chandler provided quirky comedic relief over the course of the show.
"What a loss," Wheeler wrote on social media, alongside a photo of herself and Perry in character. "The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on. I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared."
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Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes