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Saying Goodbye to Matthew Perry–Our “Chandler Bing”

Beloved “Friends” star died at age 54 this past Saturday
Matthew Perry during and after his time on “Friends”

Many hearts are hanging heavy after Matthew Perry, the dearly-loved “Chandler Bing” in NBC’s television sitcom, “Friends”, passed away suddenly in his Pacific Palisades home on Saturday, October 28.

Perry only lived fifty-four years, and spent most of his adulthood starring in comedic movies and TV shows. He was born to his Canadian mother, Suzanne Morrison, and American father, John Bennett Perry. His parents split apart when he was only one year old, and he spent most of his childhood living in Ottawa, Canada with his mother. 

Perry attended Rockcliffe Park Public School, as well as Ashbury College, a boarding school in Ottawa. After his misbehavior became an obstacle, he moved to Los Angeles, California to live with his father. Shortly after, he began auditioning for acting roles. His first credited role was a small part in “240-Robert” in 1979, and thereon, he made guest appearances on “Not Necessarily the News” in 1983, “Charles in Charge” in 1985, and “Silver Spoons” in 1986. 

After getting the role of Chandler Bing in 1994, Perry’s acting career blossomed. “Friends” has remained one of the most loved sitcoms on television; many people who watch the show specifically love Chandler Bing for his humorous lines and unique relationships with the rest of the characters. Although Perry gained most of his fame from “Friends”, he has appeared in several movies, as well, such as “17 Again” and “Fools Rush In”. Overtime, his acting career gradually dwindled; however, he made an appearance in “Friends: The Reunion” in 2021, where he and his cast mates came together to celebrate the sitcom one last time. 

Perry was recognized for his on-screen excellence multiple times. In 1996, he received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, as well as Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his performances in The West Wing and The Ron Clark Story later on. 

Not only was he well-liked for his work in the television and film industries, but he was also admired for his transparency regarding his addiction to drugs and alcohol. In his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing”, he details his relationship with alcohol and addiction to Vicodin after a jet-ski accident in 1997, and shares how a near-death experience in 2019 after his colon burst led to opioid abuse. 

Perry’s story as both an actor and survivor is admired, especially by his co-stars from “Friends”. On Monday, they called his death “an unfathomable loss” that has left them “utterly devastated”, according to NBC news. In a joint-statement, Perry’s co-stars Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Shwimmer admitted that to this day, the cast is a family. They share over two decades of memories and have been here for each other since the outset of their careers, so the passing of their longtime friend has collectively been a surreal and devastating experience. 

Junior Luna Han grew up watching “Friends”, and feels shell-shocked by Perry’s passing. Luna, like many fans who have reminisced about the show since his passing, “cannot imagine how the cast must feel.” According to Luna, Perry will be missed because he played an amusing character who brought so much joy to the show, and never failed to make his audience or the cast laugh. 

Social studies teacher Mr. Hittinger agreed that Perry’s death has been tragic for “Friends” fans, as he also watched the show while growing up and admires how close the cast has remained since the show’s release. He added that he especially enjoyed Chandler Bing’s sarcasm on the show, as well as his “bantering back and forth with Joey”. Perry’s fans appreciate his work for several reasons, and agree that the joy he brought to the world of television will be missed. 

In a 2022 interview with Tom Power, Perry requested that, when he does say goodbye, people remember him as “somebody who lived well, loved well, was a seeker… and his paramount thing is that he wants to help people”. With the comfort he brought on-screen and his heartwarming life story, Perry was able to touch the hearts of millions of fans throughout his career. Although the truth behind his death is still being investigated, what we are sure of is that Perry was truly a one of a kind comedic actor and admirable survivor of addiction. He will be remembered as he always wanted, and his memory as both a loved one and comfort character will forever be held close to our hearts. 

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About the Contributor
Stephanie Tulpan
Stephanie Tulpan, Junior Editor
Stephanie is a junior here at Wayne Hills. She has been writing for the Patriot Press ever since her freshman year, and is currently the 2023-2024 Junior Editor. She primarily enjoys writing about school news and culture/entertainment news. She is an officer in several other clubs, including student council and French Club, and is also a member of the Wayne Hills Dance Team.

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