‘Friends’ actor Matthew Perry dead after apparent drowning

Actor Matthew Perry, best known for playing Chandler Bing on the hit 90’s sitcom “Friends”, was found dead at a Los Angeles-area home on Saturday. He was 54.

TMZ and the Los Angeles Times both cited law enforcement officials who say he was found unresponsive in a jacuzzi by first responders.

Foul play is not suspected.

LAPD Officer Drake Madison told The Associated Press that officers had gone to Perry’s home address “for a death investigation of a male in his 50s.”

In a statement, Warner Bros. Television Group said it is “devastated” by Perry’s passing.

“Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor and an indelible part of the Warner Bros. Television Group family,” it said. “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.”

Born in Williamstown, Mass., Perry spent his early childhood and teen years in Ottawa with his mother. He also lived briefly in Toronto and Montreal before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career at the age of 15.

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.

As Chandler, he played a sarcastic yet insecure and neurotic roommate of Joey and Ross, played by 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 was one of television’s biggest hits and has taken on a new life – and found surprising popularity with younger fans – in recent years on streaming services.

The series ran from 1994 until 2004. A reunion special in 2021 was hosted by James Corden and fed into huge interest in seeing the cast together again, although the HBO Max 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’s other acting credits include Aaron Sorkin’s shortlived TV show ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’, the romantic comedy ‘Fools Rush In’ starring Salma Hayek, and ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ starring Bruce Willis and Amanda Peet.

In his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir, Perry spoke about his struggle with drugs and alcohol while detailing his rise to fame.

“’Friends’ was huge. I couldn’t jeopardize that. I loved the script. I loved my co-actors. I loved the scripts. I loved everything about the show but I was struggling with my addictions which only added to my sense of shame,” he wrote. “I had a secret and no one could know.”

“I felt like I was gonna die if the live audience didn’t laugh, and that’s not healthy for sure. But I could sometimes say a line and the audience wouldn’t laugh and I would sweat and sometimes go into convulsions,” Perry wrote. “If I didn’t get the laugh I was supposed to get I would freak out. I felt that every single night. This pressure left me in a bad place. I also knew of the six people making that show, only one of them was sick.”

Perry also recalled a near-death experience when he was 49 spending two weeks in a coma and five months in hospital after suffering a gastrointestinal perforation when his colon burst from opioid overuse.

Files from The Associated Press were used in this report

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