‘Heartbroken’ Friends stars among those paying tribute to Matthew Perry: ‘He brought so much joy’

Chandler Bing actor, who died at his LA home, is being remembered for making the world laugh

Ellie Harrison
Monday 30 October 2023 07:25 GMT
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Watch Matthew Perry's most iconic Friends scenes

The entertainment world is in mourning after Friends star Matthew Perry’s death at the age of 54.

Perry was best known for his portrayal of the witty Chandler Bing in the stratospherically successful sitcom. He was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Saturday 28 October.

The American-Canadian star died in an apparent drowning, his representative told NBC News.

Perry played sarcastic self-sabotager Chandler in all 10 seasons of Friends on NBC from 1994 to 2004, with the show catapulting him and the rest of the young cast – Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox – to global fame.

Supporting actors from Friends are among those who have led tributes to Perry.

Morgan Fairchild, who played Chandler’s mother Nora Bing, said: “I’m heartbroken about the untimely death of my ‘son’ … The loss of such a brilliant young actor is a shock.”

Maggie Wheeler, who played Chandler’s love interest Janice (he was often trying to hide from her and sheltering his eardrums from her abrasive laugh), shared a picture of them together on Instagram with the caption: “What a loss. The world will miss you Matthew Perry. The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on. I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared.”

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who was a friend of Perry’s at school, called the star’s death “shocking and saddening”. He wrote: “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.”

Wendell Pierce, who starred with Perry in The Odd Couple, wrote: “Damn. For two years Matthew Perry was my boss, my colleague, and a giving, kind, funny man. I pray and hope he is at peace.”

In the sitcom, Pierce played the agent of Perry’s Oscar Madison, a lazy sportswriter and sports talk radio personality.

Selma Blair, who starred with Perry in a Friends episode called “The One With Christmas In Tulsa”, shared a selfie of the pair of them together, saying she is “broken” by the loss.

She played a character called Wendy who flirts with Chandler while he’s away for work.

Co-creators of Friends Marta Kauffman and David Crane along with executive producer Kevin Bright released a statement about the tragic loss.

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“We are shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by our beloved friend Matthew’s passing. It still seems impossible. All we can say is that we feel blessed to have had him as part of our lives.”

“He was a brilliant talent," the statement continued, according to ABC News. “It’s a cliche to say that an actor makes a role their own, but in Matthew’s case, there are no truer words. From the day we first heard him embody the role of Chandler Bing, there was no one else for us. 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."

“We send all of our love to his family and friends. This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”

Comedian David Baddiel also commented, writing: “Friends has always been a bit sneered at critically – too glossy, too popular – but actually it was an amazingly funny and engaging sitcom, driven by six brilliant comic actors, of which Matthew Perry was the most purely funny.”

British singer Adele paid tribute to Perry at her show in Vegas, saying: “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.”

Former star of The Inbetweeners, Blake Harrison, posted: “Matthew Perry was a huge inspiration to me growing up. My friends and I would come into school having memorised his sarcastic one-liners, speech patterns, even Chandler’s dance. He brought me so much joy and without knowing it he encouraged me to pursue acting. Thank you.”

Sex Education and Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham called Perry “magic” on Instagram, writing: “I can’t stop looking at photos of this beautiful man. I’m so so sad that such a cruel, unyielding disease always tried to define him. It will never define him for me. His untouchable gift for comedy, his total honesty on and off screen and his beautiful, handsome face will.”

Jon Ronson, who directed Perry in an episode of Playhouse Presents, shared a moving tribute, writing: “I worked with Matthew Perry nine years ago and got to know him a little. He was extremely thoughtful and generous, even letting us stay in his home, for no reason other than kindness. Anyway, when someone is that kind, you should let people know, hence this tweet.”

Perry

Mira Sorvino, who starred with Perry in the 1994 movie Parallel Lives, shared: “Oh no!!! Matthew Perry!! You sweet, troubled soul!! May you find peace and happiness in Heaven, making everyone laugh with your singular wit!!!”

Actor Paget Brewster, who played Chandler’s girlfriend Kathy in season four of Friends, wrote on Twitter/X: “He was lovely to me on Friends and every time I saw him in the decades after. Please read his book. It was his legacy to help. He won’t rest in peace though. He’s already too busy making everyone laugh up there.”

Meredith Salenger, who starred in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon with a 16-year-old Perry, shared four photos of them together. “Matthew and I have known each other since [we] were 16 years old. Oh man. No words. Rest in peace sweet @MatthewPerry,” she said.

“What a tragic piece of news to read,” actor George Takei wrote. “My heart goes out to his loved ones and long time cast mates.”

Broadcaster Piers Morgan called Perry “a great actor, but by his own admission, a very tormented guy. His recent autobiography about his addiction-ravaged life was one of the most powerful, honest and revealing I’ve ever read. Such sad news.”

British actor Daniel Mays shared: “Chandler Bing was my favourite character in Friends growing up and Matthew Perry fit the character like a glove. A huge talent, impeccable comic timing with plenty of pathos and vulnerability just beneath the surface. Thank you for the fun, joy, light and laughs you gave the world.”

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