Matthew Perry, star of ‘Friends,’ dies at 54
By Orlando Mayorquin and Matt Stevens
Matthew Perry, who portrayed Chandler Bing in the acclaimed sitcom “Friends,” has died. He was 54.
The death was confirmed by Capt. Scot Williams of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide division. He said the cause of death was not likely to be determined for some time, but there was no indication of foul play.
Perry was well known to American television audiences, featuring in over 200 episodes in all 10 seasons of “Friends,” the hit NBC show that followed a group of friends and their journey as young professionals living in Manhattan. Perry starred alongside prominent actors including Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow.
Warner Bros. Television Group, the studio behind “Friends,” said in a statement Saturday night that Perry was a gifted actor whose “comedic genius was felt around the world, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of so many.”
Perry’s character, Chandler Bing, was a successful executive known on the show for his witty and sardonic personality.
“Friends” has endured decades after it first aired in 1994, gaining popularity among young audiences in recent years.
Perry’s career in television spanned nearly four decades, with his earliest credit in 1979, when he was a young child in an episode of the cop show “240-Robert,” according to IMDb.
He had prominent roles in various television shows in the 2010s, including “Mr. Sunshine,” a 2011 ABC comedy in which he starred as Ben Donovan, the general manager of the Sunshine Center, a San Diego sports and entertainment arena. In that role, he portrayed a gloomy, self-absorbed loner who was turning 40. Perry also played Oscar Madison opposite Thomas Lennon, who portrayed Felix Unger, in all three seasons of a remake of “The Odd Couple,” which ran on CBS from 2015 to 2017.
“I was a guy who wanted to become famous,” Perry told The New York Times in a 2002 interview. “There was steam coming out of my ears, I wanted to be famous so badly. You want the attention, you want the bucks, and you want the best seat in the restaurant. I didn’t think what the repercussions would be.”
Perry had a history of addiction and related medical problems that, by his accounting, led him to spend more than half his life in treatment centers or sober living facilities.
In a memoir released last year, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” he described his decades of drinking and drug use.
Perry first went to rehab in 1997 for what was described in news reports as an addiction to pain medication. In 2000, he was hospitalized for pancreatitis, an inflammation that can be caused by alcohol and drug abuse.
His addiction led to a series of complications in 2018 that included pneumonia, an exploded colon, a brief stint on life support, two weeks in a coma, nine months with a colostomy bag and more than a dozen stomach surgeries.