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Matthew Perry, Emmy-nominated ‘Friends’ star, dead at 54

today10/30/2023 49

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Friends” star Matthew Perry, the Emmy-nominated actor whose sarcastic, but lovable Chandler Bing was among television’s most famous and most quotable characters, has died at 54.

The actor was found dead at his Los Angeles home, according to coroner’s records. An investigation into how Perry died is ongoing, and it may take weeks before his cause of death is determined.

Perry’s body was found in a hot tub at his home, according to unnamed sources cited by the Los Angeles Times and celebrity website TMZ, which was the first to report the news. LAPD Officer Drake Madison told The Associated Press on Saturday that officers had gone to that block “for a death investigation of a male in his 50s.”

“This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken, “Friends” co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, and executive producer Kevin Bright, said in a statement. “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.”

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. During the show’s hijinks, he could be counted on to chime in with a line like “Could this BE any more awkward?” or another well-timed quip.

Perry was open about his long and public struggle with addiction, writing at the beginning of his 2022 million-selling memoir: “Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”

Some of his “Friends” guest stars paid tribute on social media, posting photos, GIFS and bloopers from their favorite episodes.  “What a loss,” actress Maggie Wheeler, who played Perry’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Janice, wrote on Instagram. “The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on.”  Actress Morgan Fairchild, who played Perry’s mother on the show, said the loss of a “brilliant young actor” was a shock.  “I’m heartbroken about the untimely death of my ‘son,'” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

By the “Friends” finale, Chandler is married to Cox’s Monica and they have a family, reflecting the journey of the core cast from single New Yorkers trying to figure their lives out to several of them 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.  Perry described reading the “Friends” script for the first time in his memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.”

“It was as if someone had followed me around for a year, stealing my jokes, copying my mannerisms, photocopying my world-weary yet witty view of life. One character in particular stood out to me: it wasn’t that I thought I could ‘play’ Chandler. I ‘was’ Chandler.”  On Sunday, Perry’s book was ranked No. 1 on Amazon, supplanting Britney Spears’ memoir.  Unknown at the time was the struggle Perry had with addiction and an intense desire to please audiences.

He worked consistently after “Friends,” though never in a role that brought him as much attention or acclaim.
In 2015, he played Oscar for a CBS reboot of “The Odd Couple” that aired for two seasons. He told the AP that playing Oscar Madison, the character originally made famous by Walter Matthau in the 1968 movie, was a “dream role.” He also said he was surprised how much he enjoyed being filmed again in front of a live audience.
“I didn’t realize I missed it really until it actually happened, til we actually shot the pilot and there was a studio audience there and I realized, ‘Wow, I really like this. This is nice,'” he said. “You kind of ham up for the people in the audience. My performance never got better than when there was an audience there.”

Perry was born Aug. 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. His father is actor John Bennett Perry and his mother, Suzanne, served as press secretary of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and is married to “Dateline” correspondent Keith Morrison.

Source: AP – All contents copyright 2023 Associated Press.  All rights reserved.

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