‘Friends’ Star, Matthew Perry, Dies at 54

'Friends' star Matthew Perry, age 54, passed on October 28, 2023 in his home in Los Angeles | Source: BBC News

“The goal is to have to do the shot again because the camera guy shook a little bit as he was laughing. Without that happening, I’m not happy because there’s nothing better for me than a world that everybody’s just trying to make each other laugh.” – Matthew Perry

The highlight of Matthew Perry’s career was his role as Chandler Bing, a sarcastic but lovable character on the television series ‘Friends.’ He lived a life full of joy, but also pain as he entertained millions of people on the TV screen.

Early Life

Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts on August 19, 1969. His parents separated when he was just one year old and he was primarily raised by his mother in Ottawa, Ontario where he was a top-ranked junior tennis player.

By age 10, Perry was misbehaving. He stole money, smoked cigarettes, and beat up fellow students. By age 14, he began drinking. At age 15, Perry moved to Los Angeles to live with his father and became more interested in acting. He attended the University of Southern California and continued his tennis career until he seized opportunities in his early roles.

Early Roles

Between 1979 and 1993, Matthew Perry made a name for himself through small roles and guest appearances. These included but were not limited to:

  • ‘240-Robert’
  • ‘Not Necessarily the News’
  • ‘Silver Spoons’
  • ‘Sydney’
  • ‘Home Free’

Then he was cast in the role that made him an international celebrity.

‘Friends’ Breakthrough

Between 1994 and 2004, Matthew Perry was cast as Chandler Bing in ‘Friends.’ The show took off and he, along with his co-stars, began earning $1 million per episode.

Chandler was the yuppie of the group with the white-collar job that nobody understood. He smoked cigarettes moodily and wore sweater vests. People fell in love with this sarcastic character. Matthew Perry helped entertain a generation of over 30 million television viewers for 10 seasons of the show. Other characters on the show created humor through misfortune, but Chandler cracked jokes. He was known for comments such as “Could she be more out of my league?” He was truly the king of sarcastic jokes.

Chandler was funny and engaging, but most importantly, Chandler was very human. That’s what people loved about him. This characteristic was particularly reflective of Matthew Perry himself and his personal struggles.

Struggles with Addiction

It seemed like this hilarious actor had it all, but just below the surface, he was struggling immensely. Matthew Perry’s 2022 memoir called “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing” spoke of his experiences with addiction. In one specific memory, he recalled his co-star Jennifer Aniston came to his trailer one day and politely addressed how clear it was that he had been drinking too much. The entire cast confronted him about it in his dressing room.

Additionally, a jet ski accident in 1997 set in motion an addiction to painkillers. A year and a half later, he was taking 55 pills a day and was in rehab. He was struggling. Matthew Perry went from being a charming and funny man to spiraling in his personal life. His friends were stuck watching the struggle from the sidelines as he experienced numerous health issues.

Two years ago, Matthew Perry finally decided to take control of his life and become sober long-term. After going to rehab 15 times and spending $9 million fighting addiction, he was able to share his stories of addiction and his spiraling personal life behind the scenes of the beloved character, Chandler Bing. He wanted to help others overcome similar struggles and his life was on the up.


On October 28, 2023, the 54-year-old actor’s life came to a close far too soon. A hero who had overcome so much struggle and pain passed away in his home in Los Angeles. He was found in his hot tub with the cause of death still unconfirmed. There are several theories, but, most likely, drowning was the cause of death.

His ‘Friends’ co-stars said their final farewells on November 3, 2023, at a private memorial. In a joint statement to E! News, Perry’s cast mates said, “We were more than just cast mates. We were family.”

In a statement to CNN, co-creators of ‘Friends’ Marta Kauffman and David Crane along with executive producer Kevin Bright said, “We will always cherish the joy, the light, the blinding intelligence he brought to every moment – not just to his work, but in life as well. He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart…This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”

Matthew Perry was human. He made mistakes and struggled immensely. He overcame these struggles and dedicated his life to helping others and making them laugh. We experienced a massive loss on October 28th, but with Perry’s unfortunate passing, his character, Chandler Bing, still lives on.

“I’m not great at the advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?” -Chandler Bing

About the Author

Michelle Fanjoy
Hey! I am a sophomore at IMSA ('26) and I live in 1503. I enjoy playing tennis and the flute. I also love watching Formula 1, but most importantly, I love writing! I am looking forward to working as a staff writer for The Acronym this year.

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