Matthew Perry, Star of TV Series ‘Friends,’ Dies Aged 54

Matthew Perry, Star of TV Series ‘Friends,’ Dies Aged 54

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(Bloomberg) — Matthew Perry, a comedian and actor who starred in “Friends” and “The Whole Nine Yards,”  has died. He was 54.

The American-Canadian star was discovered unresponsive around 4 p.m. local time Saturday in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home, the Los Angeles Times and ABC News reported, citing anonymous law enforcement sources. Investigations are ongoing, with the cause of death yet to be determined. There were no signs of foul play.

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Perry began his acting career in Los Angeles during his early teens. It wasn’t long before he found enduring fame after being cast as main character Chandler Bing in the popular sitcom “Friends” at the age of 24. It was during the decade-long run of the hit NBC show that he became a household name, and he most recently starred in a 2021 reunion special.

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Perry was born on Aug. 19, 1969, the son of actor John Bennett Perry and Suzanne Marie Langford, who had once served as a press secretary to former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. His parents divorced before his first birthday. He spent most of his early years in Ottawa, where he attended the same school as Justin Trudeau — Canada’s current Prime Minister and the first son of Pierre. Perry often joked about having once been in a brawl with the future leader of Canada when they were children.

His parents’ separation left a lasting trauma on the actor, and wealth and recognition compounded it. Perry struggled for years with alcohol and drug addictions, which he recounted in a frank 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.”

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“I figured being famous would fill the great hole that was endlessly growing inside of me,” he wrote.

Perry estimated he spent $9 million on efforts to become sober, and took up to 55 Vicodin pills — a painkiller — a day at the height of his addiction. He suffered a health scare a few years ago when his colon ruptured from an opioid overdose and he had to be resuscitated after his heart stopped, a procedure that required breaking eight of his ribs. The near-death experience ultimately led to him pulling out of “Don’t Look Up,” a film he was set to star in with actress Meryl Streep.

“My life has had so many highs and so many lows that I felt that it really was time to help people,” he said in an interview last year on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert about his reasons for writing his book. “The lower the scale I go, the more helpful I can be to other people that have gone so low.”

—With assistance from Yi Wei Wong.

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