Matthew Perry starred in the biggest sitcom of all time. He was most proud of his impact off-screen.

Actor Matthew Perry has died at the age of 54.

The successful Friends star and author's death was first reported by TMZ after first responders were called to a home in Los Angeles. 

He allegedly died from drowning. 

Perry was born on August 19, 1969, in Williamstown Massachusetts but raised in Ottawa, Canada, where he attended elementary school with Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

Young Matthew Perry. Image: Getty.


His mother, Suzanne Morrison, was a journalist and press secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father. Perry’s stepfather is Dateline‘s Keith Morrison. His father, John Bennett Perry, was an actor and model — of which younger Perry even guest-starred in one episode of his dad's show, 240-Robert, in 1979. 

He had a distant relationship with his father.

"I was one," Perry said about his parents' split, per In Touch Weekly"So I didn’t blame myself quite yet."

But he still looked up to him.

"That was mostly the way that I saw my father when I was young — on TV shows, and you know, getting shot through a door on Mannix, or something like that. That’s my dad," he said. 

His dad's career is what pushed him to move to Los Angeles and pursue acting at just 15 years old. Perry landed a few roles including as Chazz Russell on Boys Will Be Boys from 1987 to 1988. He was also on Growing Pains and Sydney, but his life changed when the opportunity to play 'Chandler Bing' on the sitcom Friends came in 1994. 

It cemented his career and shot the actor into fame. The series was one of the most-watched shows on television of all time, ran for 10 seasons and received 62 Primetime Emmy nominations. The newfound fame was a profound pivot to Perry's previous life. 


Friends. Image: NBC.

But fame could not cure his addiction to alcohol, a struggle that he first began developing at 14 years old when he took his first sip of alcohol. By 18, he was drinking every day and it was at 24, when he was in Friends, that he realised he couldn't control it.

"I could handle it, kind of," he told PEOPLE in 2022. "But by the time I was 34, I was really entrenched in a lot of trouble."


In his memoir Friends, Lovers and The Big Terrible Thing, Perry was open about suffering from alcoholism but explained he did go through phases where he was sober. 

Matthew Perry with Jennifer Aniston. Image: Getty.

"Season nine was the year that I was sober the whole way through," he said. "And guess which season I got nominated for best actor? I was like, 'That should tell me something.'" 


But his addiction escalated and at one point, he lost a substancial amount of weight and was taking 55 painkillers a day.

"I didn't know how to stop," he recalled. "If the police came over to my house and said, 'If you drink tonight, we're going to take you to jail,' I'd start packing. I couldn't stop because the disease and the addiction [are] progressive," he continued.

In his book, Perry detailed his long journey with addiction, fame and recovery. His relationship with drugs began when he was only a 30-day-old newborn and was prescribed a barbiturate for Baby colic, something which he believes had a lasting impact on his sleep. 

He also later developed an addiction to Vicodin, which he was prescribed after a Jet Ski accident in 1997.

"It wasn't my intention to have a problem with it," he told PEOPLE. "But from the start, I liked how it made me feel, and I wanted to get more."

However, it was the addiction to alcohol that took its toll on his mental health.

"I finally felt at home, for the very first time, as soon as I drank alcohol," recalled Perry. "And I had a much different reaction than normal people have. Normal people have a drink and they feel a little, you know, woozy.… I have a drink and, for the first time in three weeks, life seems to make sense."

His substance abuse was also so dire that he was hospitalised and given a two per cent chance of survival after his colon burst from opioid overuse. 


The actor was put on life support — extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). It did the work of the heart and lungs so they can rest — and his parents were prepared for the worst. 

"Five people had an ECMO machine that night and the other four died," he said. "And I survived." 

The actor was also open about his relationships as well, including with very private ex-girlfriend Lizzy Caplan, whom he was with for six years and had met on the set of Mr. Sunshine.

Perry admitted he considered proposing to his long-term partner and although he never named Caplan, he did share the hurt he felt when she revealed her engagement via email. 

Matthew Perry and Lizzy Caplin on Mr. Sunshine. Image: ABC.


"There was one person who wouldn't come to the play, even though I begged," he penned. "The woman I'd dated for six years was, by now, dating a British guy, and they were spending half the year in London, the rest in Los Angeles."

After she said she couldn't meet him, he added: "I replied saying I was a little hurt that she couldn't make it…and then a while later I got an email telling me that she was getting married and that she had no room in her life for friends.

"It was an incredibly harsh way to reveal the news that she was getting married, and not something that I would ever do to a person, but there you have it. I'm glad she got married and that she's happy. I want nothing but the best for her, forever."

He was also previously engaged to his ex-girlfriend Molly Hurwitz, who he praised as the "greatest woman on the planet" in 2020 to PEOPLE.

"I decided to get engaged," he told the publication in November of that year. "Luckily, I happened to be dating the greatest woman on the face of the planet at this time."


The couple had reportedly been dating since 2018 but split in 2021 with Perry telling PEOPLE"Sometimes things just don't work out and this is one of them... I wish Molly the best." 

Before his death, the actor was happily embracing sobriety, although he did not publicly disclose how long it had been since his last sip of alcohol or taking of drugs. 

"It's important, but if you lose your sobriety, it doesn't mean you lose all that time and education," he said in 2022. "Your sober date changes, but that's all that changes. You know everything you knew before, as long as you were able to fight your way back without dying, you learn a lot."

He shared that his motivation, or rather reminders, to stay sober were etched into his scars from the 14 surgeries on his stomach.

"That's a lot of reminders to stay sober," he told PEOPLE. "All I have to do is look down."

He referred to sobriety as the start of "everything.. because if you don't have sobriety, you're going to lose everything that you put in front of it, so my sobriety is right up there. I'm an extremely grateful guy. I'm grateful to be alive, that's for sure. And that gives me the possibility to do anything."

It was a journey the actor said made him stronger in "every way" despite being incredibly dark. 

"What I'm most surprised with is my resilience," he said. The way that I can bounce back from all of this torture and awfulness. Wanting to tell the story, even though it's a little scary to tell all your secrets in a book, I didn't leave anything out. Everything's in there."


His memoir, despite touches of tragedy, darkness and addiction, was also one that he believed was "filled with hope," he added. "Because here I am."

Before Perry's death, his passion was helping others recover from addiction. At one point, he even transformed his Malibu mansion into a rehab site before selling it for US$10.65 million to continue the business elsewhere.

"That was a Malibu beach house, and it was too expensive to run and the business didn’t really work,” Perry said to The Hollywood Reporter, who runs the facility with addiction specialist Earl Hightower. "So we’re looking at smaller places in Santa Monica and Studio City. I’m keeping the business going because I like it; it’s a good way to help alcoholics."

His dream, which was one he achieved for close to a decade before his death, was to help others who struggled like he did.

"I've had a lot of ups and downs in my life and a lot of wonderful accolades," he previously said in 2015. "But the best thing about me is that if an alcoholic comes up to me and says, 'Will you help me stop drinking?' I will say, 'Yes. I know how to do that.'"

Feature Image: Getty/NBC