- Michael Buckner / GETTY IMAGES
Actor Matthew Perry, best known for his role in the TV show “Friends,” has reportedly died at age 54, according to TMZ.
- JON RAGEL / Associated Press
Matthew Perry, left, with the cast of NBC sitcom “Friends,” clockwise from top: Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox.
Matthew Perry, idolized as Chandler Bing in the hit TV series “Friends,” has died. He was 54.
The Emmy-nominated actor was found dead at his L.A. home of an apparent drowning on Saturday, according to the Los Angeles Times and celebrity website TMZ, which was the first to report the news.
Both outlets cited unnamed sources confirming that Perry had died, and was found in a hot tub.
His publicists and other representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Asked by AP to confirm police response to what was listed as Perry’s home address, LAPD officer Drake Madison said that officers had gone to that block “for a death investigation of a male in his 50s.”
Perry’s 10 seasons on “Friends” made him one of Hollywood’s most recognizable actors, starring opposite Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer as a friend group in New York.
Born in the U.S., Perry moved to Ottawa with his mother as a young child. She worked for the federal Liberal party, eventually becoming press secretary to Pierre Trudeau while he was prime minister.
Perry and Justin Trudeau both attended Rockcliffe Park elementary, a public school attended by the children of ambassadors and politicians.
In a 2017 appearance on nighttime U.S. talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live, Perry told host Kimmel he remembered him and his friends “beating up” the current prime minister when he was in grade five — a few years ahead of Trudeau.
“I think he was excelling at a sport that we weren’t as good at. It was pure jealousy.”
Trudeau tweeted after the interview: “I’ve been giving it some thought, and you know what, who hasn’t wanted to punch Chandler? How about a rematch?”
Perry replied: “I think I will pass at your request for rematch kind sir (given that you currently have an army at your disposal).”
According to his IMDb biography, Perry was a top-ranked junior tennis player. During his high school years in L.A., Perry was ranked 17th nationally in the junior singles category and third in the doubles category.
He got his start as a child actor, landing guest spots on TV’s “Charles in Charge” and “Beverly Hills 90210.” After graduating high school in L.A., Perry intended to enrol at the University of Southern California but was offered a leading role on the 1987 TV series Second Chance and launched his adult acting career.
On “Friends,” he played the sarcastic yet insecure and neurotic Chandler, roommate of Joey and Ross — LeBlanc and Schwimmer, respectively. By the series’ end, Chandler is married to Cox’s Monica and they have a family, reflecting the journey of the core cast from single New Yorkers to married and starting families.
The series, which ran from 1994-2004, was one of TV’s biggest hits and has taken on a new life — and found surprising popularity with younger fans — in recent years on streaming services.
An HBO Max reunion special in 2021, hosted by James Corden, fed into huge interest in seeing the cast together again, although the reunion was the actors discussing the show and not a continuation of their characters’ storylines.
Perry received one Emmy nomination for his “Friends” role and two more for appearances as an associate White House counsel on “The West Wing.”
Perry wrote about his decades-long struggle with an addiction to drugs and alcohol in his 2022 memoir “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.”
His battle with substance abuse came to a head during the pandemic when his heart stopped for five minutes due to a lethal combination of hydrocodone and the anesthesia drug propofol, administered to him in advance of surgery.
“Apparently, the propofol had stopped my heart,” he wrote in his autobiography. “For five minutes. It wasn’t a heart attack — I didn’t flatline — but nothing had been beating. I was told that some beefy Swiss guy really didn’t want the guy from ‘Friends’ dying on his table … Did ‘Friends’ save my life again?”
Perry also had several notable film roles, starring opposite Salma Hayek in the rom-com “Fools Rush In” and opposite Bruce Willis in the crime comedy “The Whole Nine Yards.”
With files from The Associated Press
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