LOS ANGELES — Matthew Perry, who starred as sarcastic-but-sweet Chandler Bing in the hit series “Friends,” has died. He was 54.
The Emmy-nominated actor was found dead of an apparent drowning at his Los Angeles home Saturday, according to the Los Angeles Times and celebrity website TMZ, which was the first to report the news. Both outlets cited unnamed sources confirming Perry’s death.
His publicists and other representatives did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment. Asked to confirm police response to what was listed as Perry’s home address, LAPD Officer Drake Madison told AP that officers had gone to that block “for a death investigation of a male in his 50s.”
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 the quick-witted, insecure and neurotic roommate of LeBlanc’s Joey and a close friend of Schwimmer’s Ross. 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.
“Friends” ran from 1994 until 2004, and the cast notably banded together for later seasons to obtain a salar of $1 million per episode for each.
Unknown at the time was the struggle Perry had with addiction and an intense desire to please audiences.
“’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 in his memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.” “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.”
An HBO Max reunion special in 2021 was hosted by James Corden and fed into huge interest in seeing the cast together again, although the program consisted of the actors discussing the show and was 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 also had several notable film roles, starring opposite Salma Hayek in the rom-com “Fools Rush In” and Bruce Willis in the the crime comedy “The Whole Nine Yards.”