Matthew Perry

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Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry 2013 lighting and color corrected.jpg
Perry in 2013
Matthew Langford Perry

(1969-08-19) August 19, 1969 (age 53)
Occupation(s)Actor, comedian, producer
Years active1979–present

Matthew Langford Perry (born August 19, 1969) is an American-Canadian actor, comedian and producer. He is best known for his role as Chandler Bing on the NBC television sitcom Friends (1994–2004).[1][2]

As well as starring in the short-lived television series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Perry has appeared in several films, including Fools Rush In, Almost Heroes, The Whole Nine Yards, 17 Again and The Ron Clark Story.[3] In 2010, he worked in both voice-over and video games doing the voice of Benny in the video game Fallout: New Vegas.[4]

Perry was co-creator, co-writer, executive producer, and star of the ABC sitcom Mr. Sunshine, which ran from February to April 2011.[5] In August 2012, Perry began starring as Ryan King, a sportscaster, on the NBC sitcom Go On. The series was canceled on May 10, 2013.[6] Perry co-developed and starred in the CBS sitcom The Odd Couple portraying Oscar Madison from 2015 to 2017.[7]

Early life[edit]

Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on August 19, 1969.[8] His mother, Suzanne Marie Morrison née Langford (born 1948),[9] is a Canadian journalist and served as press secretary to former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. His father, John Bennett Perry (born 1941), is an American actor and former model.[10][11][12]

His parents divorced before his first birthday and his mother married Canadian-born broadcast journalist Keith Morrison. He was raised by his mother in Ottawa, Ontario (although he lived briefly in Toronto and Montreal, Quebec),[13] and was educated at both the Rockcliffe Park Public School, alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and at Ashbury College.[14][15] While growing up, he took a keen interest in tennis and became a top-ranked junior player.[11][16]


Perry departing rehearsal for the 1995 Emmy Awards

When he was 15, Perry moved from Ottawa to Los Angeles to pursue acting and attended The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, graduating in 1987.[16][17] He pursued improvisational comedy at the LA Connection in Sherman Oaks while still in high school.[citation needed]

After graduating, he took the role of Chazz Russell in the TV series Second Chance. After 13 episodes, Second Chance became Boys Will Be Boys, with the plots refocused on the adventures of Chazz and his friends. After the show's single season, Perry stayed in Los Angeles and made his screen debut in the 1988 film A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon.[18] In 1989, Perry had a three-episode arc on the series Growing Pains, in which he portrayed Carol Seaver's boyfriend Sandy who dies in the hospital after a drunk-driving accident.[18]

In the midst of his many continuing guest roles on TV, Perry was cast as a regular on the 1990 CBS sitcom Sydney, playing the younger brother of Valerie Bertinelli's title character. In 1991, he made a guest appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210 as Roger Azarian. Perry landed his next TV starring role on the ABC sitcom Home Free, which aired only 11 episodes in the spring of 1993, followed by a sitcom pilot titled LAX 2194.

He attempted to secure an audition for the pilot Six of One, later to be known as Friends, by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, both of whom he had worked with on Dream On. However, due to previous commitments to the pilot LAX 2194, he was not initially considered for an audition. When he did eventually get a reading, he landed the part of Chandler Bing. He was the youngest of the main cast at age 24.[18]

Perry in 2007

Friends was hugely successful, and Perry, along with his co-stars, became international celebrities – something Perry had long hoped for. "There was steam coming out of my ears, I wanted to be famous so badly," he told The New York Times in 2002. "You want the attention, you want the bucks, and you want the best seat in the restaurant."[19] Due to the immense popularity of the sitcom, Perry and the rest of the six-member main cast ensemble were each making $1 million per episode by 2002.[20] The program earned him an Emmy nomination[21] in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, along with Matt LeBlanc, but the two lost to Ray Romano. Perry appeared in films such as Fools Rush In (alongside father John Bennett Perry and Salma Hayek), Almost Heroes, Three to Tango, The Whole Nine Yards (alongside Bruce Willis) and its sequel The Whole Ten Yards, and Serving Sara.[18]

While known primarily for his comic roles, Perry has carved out a career in drama as well, particularly in his portrayal of Associate White House Counsel Joe Quincy in Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing. His three appearances in that series (twice in the fourth season and once in the fifth) earned him two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2003 and 2004. Perry is referred to in the show prior to his guest appearance – Donna Moss seeks him out (off-screen) in the episode "20 Hours in LA." He also appeared as attorney Todd Merrick in two episodes near the end of Ally McBeal's five-season run, including a two-hour special intended to revive the legal comedy-drama.[18]

After Friends wrapped up, Perry made his directorial debut in an episode of the 4th season of the American comedy-drama Scrubs, in which he also guest starred as "Murray Marks", an operator of a small airport's traffic control team. Murray is asked to donate a kidney to his father Gregory (played by Perry's real father).[18]

He starred in the TNT movie The Ron Clark Story, also known as "The Triumph," which premiered August 13, 2006. Perry played small-town teacher Ron Clark, who relocates to the toughest class in the country. Perry received a Golden Globe nomination as well as an Emmy nomination for his performance.[citation needed]

From 2006 to 2007, Perry appeared in Aaron Sorkin's drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Perry played Matt Albie alongside Bradley Whitford's Danny Tripp, a writer-director duo brought in to help save a failing sketch show. Perry's character was considered to be substantially based on Sorkin's own personal experiences, particularly in television.[22]

Perry in 2010

In 2006, he began filming Numb, a film based on a man suffering from depersonalization disorder. The film's tentative release date was pushed back several times, but was finally released to DVD on May 13, 2008. He also appeared in David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago in London.[23] In 2009, he starred in the film 17 Again playing the older Mike O'Donnell. In 2008, Perry starred in the offbeat film Birds of America as Morrie Tanager, an uptight man who has to deal with his siblings.[citation needed] Showtime passed on a pilot called The End of Steve, a dark comedy starring, written and produced by Perry and Peter Tolan.[24]

Perry's new comedy pilot, Mr. Sunshine, based on Perry's original idea for the show, was bought by ABC.[25][26] Perry was set to portray a middle-aged man with an identity crisis.[27] ABC canceled the series after nine episodes.[28][29]

On March 1, 2012, it was reported that Perry had signed on to star on the NBC comedy pilot Go On, written and produced by former Friends writer/producer Scott Silveri.[30] The project was picked up to series in May 2012. Perry portrayed Ryan King, a sportscaster who tries to move on after the death of his wife through the help of mandatory therapy sessions. The pilot aired on August 8, 2012, as a "sneak preview" after the 2012 Summer Olympics.[31] The series premiered on September 11, 2012.[32] On October 2, 2012, NBC ordered a full season of 22 episodes.[33] NBC canceled Go On in May 2013, shortly after the conclusion of its first season.[citation needed]

In 2012, Perry guest-starred on the CBS drama The Good Wife, as attorney Mike Kresteva. In 2013, he reprised his role in the fourth season.[34]

In 2014, Perry made his British TV debut in the one-off comedy program The Dog Thrower, which aired on May 1 as part of Sky Arts' Playhouse Presents. Perry portrayed "a charismatic man" who enchanted onlookers by throwing his dog in the air.[35] From 2015 to 2017, Perry starred in, co-wrote, and served as executive producer of a revival of the sitcom The Odd Couple on CBS. Perry played Oscar Madison opposite Thomas Lennon as Felix Unger.[7][36]

Perry played the lead role in a new production of his play The End of Longing, which premiered on February 11, 2016, at the Playhouse Theatre in London.[37] The play transferred Off-Broadway to MCC Theater, which opened on June 5, 2017, with Jennifer Morrison.

In March 2017, Perry again reprised his role as attorney Mike Kresteva, in The Good Fight, a sequel show to the CBS drama The Good Wife.[38]

Later in 2017, he starred as Ted Kennedy in the mini-series The Kennedys: After Camelot.[39][40]

In 2018, Business Insider reported Perry's net worth to be around $80 million.[41]

In October 2022, Perry published a memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. It became a bestseller on both Amazon and The New York Times charts.[42][43]

Personal life[edit]

Perry talking about the National Drug Control Policy program in 2011

Perry holds both Canadian and American citizenship.

Perry dated Yasmine Bleeth in 1995. He also dated Julia Roberts from 1995 to 1996. He later dated Lizzy Caplan from 2006 to 2012.[44][45][46]

Perry is a fan of the Fallout video game series. On a 2009 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, he gave DeGeneres a copy of Fallout 3. This prompted game studio Obsidian Entertainment to cast him in the next installment of the series, Fallout: New Vegas.[47]

In August 2018, it was reported that Perry had abdominal surgery to repair a gastrointestinal perforation.[48] On September 15, 2018, he revealed in a tweet that he had spent three months recovering in the hospital, suggesting the surgery had taken place in June 2018.[49][50]

He became engaged to Molly Hurwitz, a literary manager, in November 2020. In June 2021, Perry announced he had called off the engagement, telling People magazine, "Sometimes things just don't work out and this is one of them. I wish Molly the best."[51]

He has described his politics as "left of center".[52]

Drug and alcohol addiction[edit]

Perry became addicted to Vicodin after a jet-ski accident in 1997, and completed a 28-day rehab program later that year.[53] His weight fluctuated drastically over the next few years and once dropped to 145 pounds (66 kg). He lost 20 pounds (9.1 kg) in 2000 due to pancreatitis.[54] He again entered rehab in February 2001 for addiction to Vicodin, methadone, amphetamines, and alcohol.[55][56] He was filming Serving Sara in Texas when he suffered severe stomach pains, and flew to Los Angeles to check into Marina del Rey's Daniel Freeman Hospital. Perry's publicist, Lisa Kasteler, confirmed his rehab stay. He says he has spent around $9 million to get sober.[57] He has revealed that due to his addiction issues, he does not remember three years of the time he was acting on Friends, "somewhere between season three and six."[58]

In 2011, as a celebrity spokesperson for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Perry went to Capitol Hill to lobby members of Congress in support of funding for drug courts.[59] Perry received a Champion of Recovery award in May 2013 from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for opening Perry House, a sober living home situated in his former mansion in Malibu, California.[60][61] Perry later sold the home and shuttered the rehab center in 2015.[62] Perry has been completely sober since 2021.[63]



Year Title Role Notes
1988 A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon Fred Roberts Credited as Matthew L. Perry
1989 She's Out of Control Timothy
Fat Man and Little Boy Bomb Technician Uncredited
1994 Getting In Randal Burns
1997 Fools Rush In Alex Whitman
1998 Almost Heroes Leslie Edwards
1999 Three to Tango Oscar Novak
2000 The Whole Nine Yards Nicholas "Oz" Oseransky
The Kid Mr. Vivian Cameo (uncredited)
2002 Serving Sara Joe Tyler
2004 The Whole Ten Yards Nicholas "Oz" Oseransky
2006 The Ron Clark Story Ron Clark
2007 Numb Hudson Milbank Also executive producer
2008 Birds of America Morrie
2009 17 Again Older Mike O'Donnell


Year Title Role Notes
1979 240-Robert Arthur Television debut
Episode: "Bank Job"
1983 Not Necessarily the News Bob Episode: "Audrie in Love"
1985 Charles in Charge Ed Episode: "The Wrong Guy"
Credited as Matthew L. Perry
1986 Silver Spoons Davey Episode: "Rick Moves Out"
1987 Morning Maggie Bradley McAllister Television movie
Credited as Matthew L. Perry
1987–1988 Boys Will be Boys Chazz Russell Series regular; 21 episodes (also known as Second Chance)
1988 Dance 'til Dawn Roger Television movie
1988 Just the Ten of Us Ed Episode: "The Dinner Test"
Credited as Matthew L. Perry
1988 Highway to Heaven David Hastings 2 episodes
1989 Empty Nest Bill at 18 Episode: "A Life in the Day"
1989 Growing Pains Sandy Recurring role; 3 episodes
1990 Sydney Billy Kells Series regular; 13 episodes
1990 Who's the Boss? Benjamin Dawson Episode: "Roomies"
1990 Call Me Anna Desi Arnaz Jr. Television movie
Credited as Matthew L. Perry
1991 Beverly Hills, 90210 Roger Azarian Episode: "April Is the Cruelest Month"
1992 Dream On Alex Farmer Episode: "To the Moon, Alex!"
1992 Sibs Chas Episode: "What Makes Lily Run?"
1993 Deadly Relations George Westerfield Television movie
1993 Home Free Matt Bailey Series regular; 13 episodes
1994 Parallel Lives Willi Morrison Television movie
1994 L.A.X. 2194 Blaine Television movie
1994–2004 Friends Chandler Bing Main role; 236 episodes
1995 Caroline in the City Episode: "Caroline and the Folks"
1995 The John Larroquette Show Steven Episode: "Rachel Redux"
1997 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Matthew Perry/Oasis"
2001 The Simpsons Himself (voice) Episode: "Treehouse of Horror XII"
2002 Ally McBeal Todd Merrick 2 episodes
2003 The West Wing Joe Quincy Recurring role; 3 episodes
2004 Scrubs Murray Episode: "My Unicorn"
Also director
2005 Friday Night Lights Short Scene Football Player Television short
2006 The Ron Clark Story Ron Clark Television movie
2006–2007 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Matt Albie Series regular; 21 episodes
2011 Childrens Hospital Himself Episode: "The Black Doctor"
2011 Mr. Sunshine Ben Donovan Series regular; 13 episodes
Also creator/executive producer/writer
2012–2013 The Good Wife Mike Kresteva Recurring role; 4 episodes
2012–2013 Go On Ryan King Series regular; 22 episodes
Also executive producer
2014 Cougar Town Sam Johnston Episode: "Like a Diamond"
2014 Playhouse Presents The Charismatic Man Episode: "The Dog Thrower"
2015 Web Therapy Tyler Bishop 2 episodes
2015–2017 The Odd Couple Oscar Madison Series regular; 38 episodes
Also executive producer/writer
2017 The Good Fight Mike Kresteva Recurring role; 3 episodes
2017 The Kennedys: After Camelot Ted Kennedy Television miniseries; 4 episodes
Also executive producer
2021 Friends: The Reunion Himself HBO Max special;[64] also executive producer[65]


Year Title Role Notes
2003 Sexual Perversity in Chicago Danny Broadway play at West End theater in London, England
2016 The End of Longing Jack Off-Broadway play at Playhouse Theater in London, England

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
2010 Fallout: New Vegas Benny


Year Title Role Notes
2013 TSN: The Hangover Angry Matthew Perry Cameo

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Title Result
1996 American Comedy Awards Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a Television Series Friends Nominated
2004 Gold Derby Awards Comedy Lead Actor Nominated
2005 Comedy Guest Actor Scrubs Nominated
2007 Television Movie/Miniseries Lead Actor The Ron Clark Story Won
2009 Television Movie/Miniseries Lead Actor of the Decade Nominated
2012 Drama Guest Actor The Good Wife Won
2013 Nominated
2007 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television The Ron Clark Story Nominated
2013 Huading Awards Best Global Actor in a Television Series Go On Won
2002 Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards Favorite Television Actor Friends Nominated
2017 People's Choice Awards Favorite Comedic Television Actor The Odd Couple Nominated
2002 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Friends Nominated
2003 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series The West Wing Nominated
2004 Nominated
2007 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie The Ron Clark Story Nominated
2021 Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) Friends: The Reunion Nominated
2006 Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Series – Drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Nominated
1996 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Friends Won
1999 Nominated
2000 Nominated
2001 Nominated
2002 Nominated
2003 Nominated
2004 Nominated
2007 Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries The Ron Clark Story Nominated
2004 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor – Comedy Friends Nominated
2000 TV Guide Awards Editor's Choice Award Won
2006 TV Land Awards Most Wonderful Wedding (shared with Courteney Cox) Nominated


  • Perry, Matthew (2022). Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir. Flatiron Books. ISBN 978-1-250-86644-8.


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External links[edit]