The internet mourns beloved ‘Friends’ star Matthew PerryReading Time: 3 minutes
Fans honor the actor’s long history of addiction and mental health support.
Actor Matthew Perry, a sitcom legend, died on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the age of 54. Perry was found unresponsive in a hot tub at his home, the Los Angeles Times reports, and his cause of death is still under investigation.
Known most prominently for his 10-season long run on broadcast television behemoth Friends, Perry is often considered a ’90s icon. He had a decades-long career in television, appearing in shows like ABC’s Mr. Sunshine, and hit a movie stride in the 2000s (he previously said his best role was in the Salma Hayek-led rom-com Fools Rush In). But his most recent headline-making appearances have been more personal, including the 2022 release of his memoir, ‘Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.’
Many fans directly connected Perry’s death to the loss of his most famous character, Friends‘ dry-witted Chandler Bing, and the cultural (and personal) importance the role has assumed with age — the announcement prompted some fans to place flowers outside of the West Village apartment that acted as the exterior view of the Friends apartment.
‘Watching friends for the first time and falling in love with chandler bing is something i will forever hold dearly. one of the best characters on television, and one of the best actors to play it. im beyond distraught. matthew perry was too young. this is heartbreaking,’ wrote X user @svlmonskinrolls.
But others, including fellow actors and performers, remembered the actor for his openness about addiction and recovery, and his later-in-life commitment to helping others in their own journey towards sobriety. Perry opened the now-closed Perry House in 2013, a sober living facility for men based in his own Malibu, California home.
In a 2022 profile with GQ, Perry said he felt compelled to write his book following a decade of attempts at sobriety. ‘There has to be some reason why I’m still here, having done all of this crazy stuff, and I came to the conclusion it’s to write a book that will help people who are going through the same thing that I am, or did.’
Singer Adele paid tribute to Perry while on stage in Las Vegas. ‘He was so open with his struggles with addiction and sobriety, which I think is incredibly, incredibly brave. I just wanna say how much I love what he did for all of us,’ the star told the crowd.
‘Please read his book,’ wrote fellow TV actor Paget Brewster. ‘It was his legacy to help. He won’t rest in peace though.. He’s already too busy making everyone laugh up there.’
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared his condolences, noting the two’s history as former classmates. ‘Matthew Perry’s passing is shocking and saddening. I’ll never forget the schoolyard games we used to play, and I know people around the world are never going to forget the joy he brought them. Thanks for all the laughs, Matthew. You were loved – and you will be missed.’
‘The best thing about me, bar none, is that if somebody comes to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking, can you help me?’ I can say ‘yes’ and follow up and do it,’ said Perry in a 2022 interview with podcaster Tom Power. ‘When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned. And I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving that.’
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