Friends star Matthew Perry has been found dead of an apparent drowning at his Los Angeles home in Los Angeles, according to a report from TMZ. The 5-time Emmy nominee was best known for his iconic performance as the sarcastic, persnickety Chandler Bing on the long-running NBC sitcom. He was 54 years old.
TMZ is reporting that Perry played pickleball for two hours earlier this morning, then returned to his home with his assistant. The assistant left to run “an errand,” and when the assistant returned two hours later, Perry was found in a jacuzzi. “We’re told there were no drugs found at the scene,” the TMZ report mentions, and that foul play is not suspected.
Just five days ago, Perry posted a picture of the apparent view from his jacuzzi on his personal Instagram page, with the caption: “Oh, so warm water swirling around makes you feel good? I’m Mattman.” Ironically, this would be his final Instagram post.
Perry (1969-2018) made his screen debut in the 1988 movie A Night In The Life of Jimmy Reardon, before quickly rising to national acclaim with a three-episode guest turn on the ’80s sitcom behemoth Growing Pains. He scored a series of recurring television parts before landing the role that changed everything in 1994: Chandler Bing, one of the six primary Friends. Over the course of its 10 seasons, the NBC sitcom became one of the most popular and highly regarded sitcoms of all-time, making Perry and his castmates (Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer) extremely famous and extremely wealthy. Perry’s portrayal of Bing, one of TV’s most hilariously sarcastic characters, resonated deeply with viewers at the time of its release — could he BE any more popular? — but arguably even more so with later generations of millennials and Gen Z audiences, who devoured the show when the series landed on Netflix on January 1, 2015. (Friends is currently streaming on Max.) At the peak of their earning power, the Friends were making $1 million per episode. Arguably the most skilled comedic performer of any of the cast members, fittingly Perry got to deliver the line responsible for the show’s final laugh.
When Friends ended in 2004, Perry quickly landed another plum gig on Aaron Sorkin’s cult fave Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, but the show quickly proved to be a troubled production and ratings flop, crashing and burning after just 21 episodes. He had made a quick run at silver screen success as a rom-com leading man in the ’90s, but his film career never quite found footing. He starred in a number of tv roles in those intervening years — Mr. Sunshine, Go On, and even a reboot of The Odd Couple — but it’s extremely difficult to capture lightning in the bottle twice.
Perry’s personal life became a persistent tabloid fixture from the moment he first found fame on Friends, as the actor struggled with substance abuse, depression, and a number of high-profile relationships. The cast of Friends reunited in May of 2021 for a widely-viewed HBO special, and Perry split with his then-fiancee shortly after. But he appeared to have turned things around, healthwise, in recent years; he appeared on Real Time With Bill Maher in November of 2022 and was publicly congratulated for his long stretch of sobriety.
This report is developing…