In a shocking revelation, the renowned actor Matthew Perry, best remembered for his role as Chandler Bing from the evolutionary sitcom ‘Friends,’ reportedly made a whopping $20 million annually solely from syndications and streaming revenue. The sudden death of Perry at the age of 54 in a hot tub in his LA home last month, still bereft of a confirmed cause, has jolted the entertainment world. His enduring popularity (Friends aired its finale almost two decades ago), has left millions mourning for their beloved ‘Chandler Bing.’
Perry, who portrayed Chandler with unrivaled charm, precision, and relatability for close to a decade, carved a niche in the global pop culture. Even as his physical form ceased to exist, his artistic legacy continues to inspire and entertain generations. Without a spouse or children, Perry’s fortune may end up in the hands of his surviving parents unless he assigned beneficiaries or nominated a trust for the vast residual payments his role earned him.
Residual payments become the personal property of an actor post their demise. According to Charlie Douglas, a financial planning expert, three possibilities buttress the destination of Perry’s residuals from Friends based on California’s laws. Perry may have enlisted beneficiaries (persons or organizations) who would inherit these payments, closely mirroring policies like naming a beneficiary for accounts such as a 401(k). Alternatively, he could have assigned a trust to receive these payments, the owners of which are likely to remain unknown due to the private nature of trusts compared to wills that are public record.
However, the circumstances change if Perry had not designated a specific beneficiary. Douglas opines that often, individuals lacking a spouse or children might neglect this aspect. Should such an oversight have taken place, intestacy laws, which establish a framework for the division of an individual’s assets upon their death, would come into play. Nevertheless, what strikes as unique about Perry’s case is the divorce and subsequent re-marriage of his parents, eventually giving him half-siblings. These siblings stand to gain control over Perry’s acting royalties and other assets that include his 2022 memoir.
In addition, Perry, remaining true to his philanthropic spirit, might have planned to bequeath a portion of his wealth to those outside his immediate family or even charitable institutions. Notably, the actor had previously revealed his struggles with addiction and even made attempts to help others grappling with the same issue. Consequently, the possibility of a certain percentage of his wealth flowing into relevant channels does not seem outlandish.
The passing of Perry has left his co-stars and loved ones in a state of grief and disbelief. Evidently, Chandler was more than just a fictional character –to many, he was Matthew Perry- a kindred spirit, a brother, a friend. The world is undoubtedly grappling with the shock and sadness of this unfair turn of events. As tributes pour out and mourning intensifies, the final cause of death, still under investigation, stands eagerly awaited – a critical piece in the puzzle of Perry’s untimely demise.
In the poignant finale of one of the most adored acts of all time, we bid goodbye to a man loved by peers, admired by millions, and etched in the annals of television history. Matthew Perry may no longer be with us physically, but his legacy as Chandler Bing and his contributions to art and society will etch his memory in our hearts forever. As we grapple with this loss, we strive to remember Perry as he wished to be remembered- as a man who aspired to leave an imprint of his kindness and help on the world, possibly larger than his commercial success. Let’s celebrate this extraordinary soul who, in his unique way, transformed countless lives forever, a true testament to the power of humor, humanity, and art.