Article by Aidan O’Sullivan
This past weekend, the entertainment world was shaken by the sudden passing of the beloved actor Mathew Perry, who was found deceased in his hot tub at his home in Los Angeles. Perry, 54, was best known for his role as the witty “Chandler Bing” on the hit 1990s sitcom “Friends”. In the wake of his untimely death, fans everywhere are mourning. In this time of grief, it is important to honor the legacy he left behind: not only his talent as a hilarious actor but also his courageous battles with addiction and advocacy to help those struggling with a similar battle.
Born on August 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Perry began his acting career as a young child. Through his comedic timing, witty sense of humor, and charismatic personality, Perry became a fan favorite early on in the majority of his projects. However, what sent his career into full-blown stardom was his long-standing role as the comedically awkward and witty Chandler on “Friends”. Through this role, Perry soon became a household name, stealing the hearts of fans all over. The massive success of the show drove Perry to become a pop-culture icon and a sitcom staple. Outside of his role on “Friends”, Perry continued to display his acting chops through notable roles such as “Fools Rush In”, “17 Again”, and “The Whole Ten Yards”, among many others. He also had notable features in other TV shows such as “The Odd Couple”. Through his diverse and versatile acting skills, Perry was able to excel in roles ranging from comedy to drama.
Although Perry enjoyed much of the success and glamour that comes with being a Hollywood star, his life was not without immense struggles. Throughout a large portion of his career, Perry struggled with addiction, specifically with alcohol and prescription drugs. His struggles could be seen through his fluctuating weight loss, which led to Perry doing multiple stints in rehab throughout his career. Despite these personal struggles with addiction, Perry’s effort to face his struggles demonstrated his fortitude and strength. He has utilized his personal experiences to raise awareness about addiction and the significance of receiving treatment. He frequently spoke honestly about his struggles, seeking to motivate others to get the help they needed to deal with their addictions. This past year, Perry released his memoir “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” in which he discusses his toxic relationship with alcohol and opioid. He explains that his addiction became prevalent in his life following a 1997 jet skiing accident, and in 2019 when Perry’s colon nearly exploded due to his opioid usage. Throughout his memoir, he candidly shares the tumultuous moments throughout his life, discussing family struggles, his rise to stardom, and his ongoing fight with addiction. Mathew Perry’s honesty and advocacy for addiction recovery
have inspired many other individuals fighting the same fight.
In a recent interview with Perry discussing his trials and tribulations with addiction, he stated “When I die I don’t want Friends to be the first thing people think of. I want to help people to be the first thing mentioned. And I am going to live the rest of my life proving that.” This is a true testament to the legacy he sought to leave, and the brave efforts he put forth to not only improve his life for the better, but to be a resource for others struggling with addiction. Mathew Perry’s death not only deprived the world of a great actor, but also a fearless advocate and a compassionate spirit working to transform his struggles into a positive influence on others. And although his presence as an actor will be missed, his legacy will carry on as a light for others— a symbol of strength and perseverance.