Matthew Perry, the actor known for playing Chandler Bing on the hit NBC sitcom “Friends,” has died. He was 54.
Perry was found dead Saturday in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home, law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times. Authorities found him unresponsive around 4 p.m, and there was no signs of foul play or drugs on the scene.
Perry gained international recognition for his role as the wry, fast-on-his-feet twentysomething Chandler on “Friends,” which ran for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004. He earned a Primetime Emmy nomination in 2002 for his performance on the iconic sitcom. Among the six stars in the “Friends” ensemble, Perry was ambitious as a performer and a producer, but he also grappled with a long struggle with substance abuse that stunted his career. Later in life, particularly with his 2022 book, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir,” Perry focused much of his energy on using his experience to help others stay sober.
“Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead,” Perry wrote in the opening of “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.” “I don’t write any of this so anyone will feel sorry for me — I write these words because someone else may be confused by the fact that they know they should stop drinking — like me, they have all the information, and they understand the consequences — but they still can’t stop drinking. You are not alone, my brothers in sisters.”
During the heyday of “Friends,” Perry was also a sought-after leading man who dabbled in feature films but never really took off on the big screen. His romantic life was also closely watched as Perry dated such stars as Julia Roberts, Selma Blair, Lizzy Caplan and the late Jamie Tarses, the NBC executive who developed “Friends” and went on to become the first female entertainment president of a Big Three network when she joined ABC in 1996.
Along with “Friends,” Perry co-starred appeared in such television series as “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “Go On,” “Mr. Sunshine” and a remake of Neil Simon’s enduring “The Odd Couple” with Perry in the Oscar Madison role made famous first by Walter Matthau and on TV by Jack Klugman. Perry scored two Emmy nominations in 2003 and 2004 for outstanding guest actor in a drama series for his role as Joe Quincy in “The West Wing.” On “The Odd Couple” and “Mr. Sunshine,” Perry was also an active producer who was key to bringing both shows to fruition.
Perry had a long association with Warner Bros. TV through “Friends,” “The West Wing” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” In a statement, the studio hailed his skill as a performer.
“We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry. Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor and an indelible part of the Warner Bros. Television Group family,” the statement read. “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.”