One of the stars of perhaps the most iconic sitcom in television history has died. Matthew Perry, the actor who portrayed the sarcastic, smarmy, yet loveable Chandler Bing on the hit sitcom “Friends,” has passed away at the age of 54.
Perry, who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and had several close encounters with death during the throes of his addiction, reportedly was found unresponsive in his home hot tub in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.
Authorities reported no drugs present at the location, no suspicion of foul play, and at least one outlet reported an alleged cardiac event. It is unclear what led to the actor’s death, as Perry had reportedly been clean for some time.
Perry rocketed to fame with the premiere of Friends in September of 1994. The show, which featured six twenty-something friends struggling with life, love, and employment in 1990s New York City, was an instant smash hit.
Friends ran until 2004 and still remains extremely popular in syndication and on streaming services. The show launched the careers of Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and others and recently had a much-ballyhooed reunion in 2021, where a sober Perry burst into tears reminiscing about his days on the set of the famous comedy.
Upon learning of his death, tributes have been pouring in from Hollywood. Among the heartfelt tributes were Mira Sorvino. She said, “Oh no!!! Matthew Perry!! You sweet, troubled soul!! May you find peace and happiness in Heaven, making everyone laugh with your singular wit!!!”
Hollywood legend Selma Blair weighed in: “My oldest boy friend. All of us loved Matthew Perry, and I did especially. Every day. I loved him unconditionally. And he me. And I’m broken. Broken hearted. Sweet dreams Matty. Sweet dreams.”
Maggie Wheeler, who portrayed the nasally, annoying on-again-off-again love interest Janice on Friends, said: “What a loss. The world will miss you Mathew Perry. 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.
Perry spent upwards of $9 million on his battle with substance abuse. At one point, Perry was reportedly taking an absurd 55 Vicodin a day. He revealed this and more in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.”
In the book, Perry revealed his struggles, including 15 stints in rehab and the 14 surgeries he underwent for addiction-related maladies. He also was comatose for two weeks and on life support as a result of his demons. Perry spoke about his addictions and writing his book and how emotions came “pouring out of me – the painful stuff, hospitals, rehabs, all of this stuff — it poured out of me. It went really quickly.”
The official “Friends” account wrote: “We are devastated to learn of Matthew Perry’s passing. He was a true gift to us all. Our heart goes out to his family, loved ones, and all of his fans,” and NBC added: “We are incredibly saddened by the too soon passing of Matthew Perry. He brought so much joy to hundreds of millions of people around the world with his pitch perfect comedic timing and wry wit. His legacy will live on through countless generations.”
It is an unfortunate end to a tortured life. It was a life that brought humor and happiness to many and will continue to do so on streaming and reruns. Matthew Perry will be missed by anyone who was ever a Friend.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
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