Matthew Perry, ‘Friends’ Star, Dies at 54 of Apparent Drowning

He was reportedly found Saturday in his Los Angeles-area home

Matthew Perry attends the GQ Men of the Year Party 2022 at The West Hollywood Edition
Matthew Perry attends the GQ Men of the Year Party 2022 at The West Hollywood Edition (Credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

Matthew Perry, who famously played Chandler Bing on “Friends,” died Saturday at the age of 54. The cause of death is apparent drowning.

According to media reports, Perry’s body was found in a jacuzzi on the property of his Los Angeles-area home. Drugs were reportedly not found at the scene, and foul play is currently not suspected.

Perry is best known for his role as Chandler. He played the character for all 10 seasons of “Friends” and starred in each of its 234 episodes of the NBC sitcom, and the 2021 reunion special. His additional credits included “Ally McBeal,” “Home Free,” “The West Wing” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

The actor also tried his hand at the big screen more than once. His most memorable film roles included “Fools Rush In” and “The Whole Nine Yards.”

Perry was open about his battle for sobriety over the years. In his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” he revealed that “Friends” costar Jennifer Aniston confronted him about his drinking while the pair worked together.

He wrote, “I had long since gotten over her — ever since she started dating Brad Pitt, I was fine — and had worked out exactly how long to look at her without it being awkward, but still, to be confronted by Jennifer Aniston was devastating. And I was confused.”

“‘How can you tell?’ I said. I never worked drunk. ‘I’ve been trying to hide it…’” he continued before Aniston revealed that she and their castmates could smell the alcohol on him.

Elsewhere, Perry credited the show with changing his life in more ways than one. As he said, “They were understanding, and they were patient. It could be said that [doing the show] saved me.”

Fans voiced concern for Perry’s health after the “Friends” reunion special aired in 2021.

Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on Aug. 19, 1969, but grew up in Ottawa, Canada. He and his family had close ties to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Perry went to elementary school with the future PM, and his mother Suzanne Morrison worked as the press secretary for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

He moved to Los Angeles as a teen and began to pursue acting as a career. He starred as Chazz Russell on “Boys Will Be Boys” from 1987 to 1988 before moving on to roles in “Growing Pains” and “Sydney.”

Of course, his big break came in 1994 when he was cast on “Friends.” The show and its stars — which also included Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc — soon reached household-name status.

The cast famously earned $1 million per episode by the end of the series, a huge boost from the $22,500 per episode they each brought in during Season 1. LeBlanc later said, “Were we worth $1 million? To me, that’s such a strange question. It’s like, well, that’s irrelevant. Are you worth it? How do you put a price on how funny something is? We were in a position to get it.”

Despite the close bond the cast shared, Perry told GQ that he didn’t expect most of his castmates to read his 2022 memoir. He said, “Why would they read it? I don’t know. Because, you know, who cares? Addicts are going to care about this, and fans of ‘Friends’ are going to care about this. But the cast is not going to really care about this.”

The one exception was Kudrow, who wrote the book’s introduction. The actress wrote that the pair had not stayed in close contact after going their separate professional ways and that the book was the “first time I’m hearing what living with and surviving his addiction really was.”

“He has survived impossible odds, but I had no idea how many times he almost didn’t make it,” her introduction continued. “I’m glad you’re here, Matty. Good for you. I love you.”

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actress admitted that Perry was the funniest member of the cast. She said, “They were all funny in their own particular way! See, now, 20 people would be insulted… but because I spent 10 years laughing hysterically at Matthew Perry.”

She added, “Off-set, it’s Matthew Perry. And not laughing at him, laughing with him, sorry!”

The news of Perry’s death was first reported by TMZ and additionally by The Los Angeles Times.


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