Matthew Perry

Matthew Langford Perry (August 19, 1969 – October 28, 2023) was an American and Canadian actor.

He gained international fame for starring as Chandler Bing on the NBC television sitcom Friends (1994–2004). Perry also appeared on Ally McBeal (2002) and received Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his performances in The West Wing (2003) and The Ron Clark Story (2006). He played a leading role in the NBC series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006–2007). He also became known for his leading film roles in Fools Rush In (1997), Almost Heroes (1998), Three to Tango (1999), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Serving Sara (2002), The Whole Ten Yards (2004), and 17 Again (2009).

Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry
Perry in 2012
Born
Matthew Langford Perry

(1969-08-19)August 19, 1969
DiedOctober 28, 2023(2023-10-28) (aged 54)
Los Angeles, California, US
Burial placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California
Citizenship
  • United States
  • Canada
OccupationActor
Years active1979–2022
Parents
Signature
Matthew Perry

Perry was co-creator, co-writer, executive producer, and star of the ABC sitcom Mr. Sunshine, which ran from February to April 2011. In August 2012, he starred as sportscaster Ryan King on the NBC sitcom Go On. He co-developed and starred in a revival of the CBS sitcom The Odd Couple portraying Oscar Madison from 2015 to 2017. He had recurring roles in the legal dramas The Good Wife (2012–2013), and The Good Fight (2017). Perry portrayed Ted Kennedy in The Kennedys: After Camelot (2017) and appeared as himself in his final television appearance, Friends: The Reunion (2021). He voiced Benny in the video game Fallout: New Vegas (2010).

For the majority of his life, Perry suffered from severe addictions to drugs and alcohol. Through his recovery, he became an advocate for rehabilitation and a spokesperson for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. In 2013, Perry received the Champion of Recovery Award from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In 2022, he released his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

Early life and education

Matthew Langford Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on August 19, 1969. His mother, Suzanne Marie Morrison (née Langford, born 1948), is a Canadian journalist who was press secretary to Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau. His father, John Bennett Perry (born 1941), is an American actor and former model.

Perry's parents separated when he was one year old, and his mother married Canadian broadcast journalist Keith Morrison. He was raised by his mother mostly in Ottawa, Ontario, but he also lived briefly in Toronto and Montreal. Perry attended Rockcliffe Park Public School and Ashbury College, a boarding school in Ottawa. He had four younger maternal half-siblings, as well as a younger paternal half-sister. His siblings "would stand and applaud" him for early performances.

By the time he was ten, Perry started misbehaving. He stole money, smoked, let his grades slip, and beat up fellow student and future Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Perry later attributed this to feeling like a family outsider who did not belong when his mother began having children with Morrison, writing "I was so often on the outside looking in, still that kid up in the clouds on a flight to somewhere else, unaccompanied". At the age of 14, he began drinking alcohol and was drinking every day by the time he was 18. Perry practiced tennis, often for 10 hours per day, and became a top-ranked junior player in Canada with the possibility of a tennis career. However, at the age of 15, he moved from Ottawa to live with his father in Los Angeles, where competition was tougher.

At 15 years old, Perry studied acting at Buckley School, a college-preparatory school in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, and graduated in 1987. While in high school, he took improvisational comedy classes at L.A. Connection in Sherman Oaks.

Career

1979–1993: Early roles

Matthew Perry 
Perry as Chazz Russell in Second Chance, 1987

Perry's first credited role was a small part in 240-Robert in 1979 as a child actor. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Perry started auditioning for roles. Perry made guest appearances on Not Necessarily the News in 1983, Charles in Charge in 1985, and Silver Spoons in 1986. In 1987 and 1988, he played Chazz Russell in the TV series Second Chance (later called Boys Will Be Boys). Perry made his film debut in 1988 with A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon. In 1989, he had a three-episode arc on Growing Pains, portraying Carol Seaver's boyfriend Sandy, who dies in a drunk driving incident.

Perry was cast as a regular on the 1990 CBS sitcom Sydney, playing the younger brother of Valerie Bertinelli's character. In 1991, he made a guest appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210 as Roger Azarian. Perry played the starring role in the ABC sitcom Home Free, which aired in 1993.

1994–2004: Breakthrough with Friends

Matthew Perry 
Perry departing from rehearsal for the 1995 Emmy Awards

Perry's commitment to a pilot for a sitcom called LAX 2194, set in the baggage handling department of Los Angeles Airport 200 years in the future, initially made him unavailable for a role in another pilot, Six of One, later called Friends. After the LAX 2194 pilot fell through, he had the opportunity to read for a part in Six of One and was cast as Chandler Bing. At the age of 24, he was the youngest member of the main cast. After making the pilot and while waiting for the show to air, Perry spent the summer of 1993 performing at the Williamstown Theater Festival alongside Gwyneth Paltrow.

Friends was hugely successful, and it made Perry an international celebrity. By 2002, he and his co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer were making $1 million per episode. The program earned him an Emmy nomination in 2002 for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series award. Perry appeared in films such Fools Rush In, Almost Heroes, Three to Tango, The Whole Nine Yards and its sequel The Whole Ten Yards, and Serving Sara.[citation needed] In 1995, he and Jennifer Aniston appeared in a 60-minute-long promotional video for Microsoft's Windows 95, released on VHS on August 1.

For his performance as Joe Quincy in The West Wing, Perry received two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2003 and 2004. He appeared as attorney Todd Merrick in two episodes of Ally McBeal. In 2004, he made his directorial debut and acted in an episode of the fourth season of the comedy-drama Scrubs, an episode which included his father.

2005–2022: Later work

Matthew Perry 
Perry in 2007

Perry starred in the TNT movie The Ron Clark Story, which premiered August 13, 2006, and received a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination for his performance. From 2006 to 2007, he 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.

In 2006, Perry began filming Numb, a film based on a man suffering from depersonalization disorder. The release was postponed several times, but it was finally released on DVD on May 13, 2008. Perry also appeared on stage in London in David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago. In 2008, Perry starred in the independent film Birds of America. Showtime passed on a pilot called The End of Steve, a dark comedy starring, written, and produced by Perry and Peter Tolan.

In 2009, Perry starred in the film 17 Again playing a 37-year-old man who transforms into his 17-year-old self (Zac Efron) after an accident. The film received mixed reviews and was a box-office success. A review on WRC-TV found Perry miscast in his role, emphasizing the disbelief in Efron growing up to resemble Perry, both physically and behaviorally — a sentiment echoed by other critics.

In 2009, Perry was a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, when he presented Ellen DeGeneres with an Xbox 360 video game console and a copy of the game Fallout 3. The gesture led to game studio Obsidian Entertainment casting him in Fallout: New Vegas as the voice of Benny.

Perry's new comedy pilot, Mr. Sunshine, based on his original idea for the show, was bought by ABC. He played the lead role as a middle-aged man with an identity crisis. ABC canceled the series after nine episodes in 2011.

Matthew Perry 
Perry in 2012

In 2012, Perry starred in the NBC comedy series Go On, written and produced by former Friends writer/producer Scott Silveri. Perry portrayed Ryan King, a sportscaster who tries to move on after the death of his wife through the help of mandatory therapy sessions. In the same year, he guest-starred on the CBS drama The Good Wife as attorney Mike Kresteva. He reprised his role in the fourth season in 2013.

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. He portrayed "a charismatic man" who enchanted onlookers by throwing his dog in the air. From 2015 to 2017, Perry starred in, co-wrote, and served as executive producer of a reboot of the sitcom The Odd Couple on CBS. He played Oscar Madison opposite Thomas Lennon as Felix Unger.

Perry played the lead role in the world premiere production of his play The End of Longing, which opened on February 11, 2016, at the Playhouse Theatre in London. Its limited run proved successful despite mixed reviews. Perry restructured the play and appeared alongside Jennifer Morrison in its second off-Broadway production, which opened at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on June 5, 2017. It closed on July 1 after receiving poor reviews. Years later Perry described the play as "a personal message to the world, an exaggerated form of me as a drunk. I had something important to say to people like me, and to people who love people like me."

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. Later that year, he starred as Ted Kennedy in the mini-series The Kennedys: After Camelot.

In May 2021, he participated in the special episode Friends: The Reunion. He was meant to have a role in Don't Look Up, but withdrew in 2020 because of CPR-induced broken ribs. Perry published a memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, in October 2022. It became a bestseller on both Amazon and The New York Times charts.

Personal life

Matthew Perry 
Perry in 2013

Perry held Canadian and American citizenship. He dated Yasmine Bleeth in 1995, Julia Roberts from 1995 to 1996, and Lizzy Caplan from 2006 to 2012. In November 2020, Perry became engaged to literary manager Molly Hurwitz. Their engagement ended in 2021.

Residences owned at some point by Perry included a condo in Sierra Towers purchased from Elton John, a house in Hollywood Hills, a house in Malibu, and a cottage in Pacific Palisades. In 2017, Perry purchased a condo occupying the top floor of The Century in Los Angeles for $20 million, selling it to Nick Molnar for $21.6 million in 2021, who in turn sold it to Rihanna in 2023. In June 2023, Perry purchased a mid-century modern house in Hollywood Hills.

Perry had a perfectionist and obsessive personality, spending many hours perfecting his answering machine message. He also believed in God, with whom he had "a very close relationship," calling himself "a seeker."

Health and addiction

In his memoirs, Perry wrote that by the age of 14, he became an alcoholic. He became addicted to Vicodin after a jet-ski accident in 1997, and completed a 28-day rehab program at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation that year. His weight dropped to 128 pounds (58 kg) as he took as many as 55 Vicodin pills per day. In May 2000, at the age of 30, he was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with alcohol-induced pancreatitis.

While Perry said in 2002 that although he had made an effort not to drink on the set of Friends, he did arrive with extreme hangovers and sometimes would shake or sweat excessively on set. During the later seasons of the series, he was frequently drunk or high on set. His castmates made efforts to help him, even staging an intervention, but were unsuccessful.

In February 2001, Perry paused productions of Friends and Serving Sara for two months so that he could enter in-patient rehabilitation for his addictions to Vicodin, methadone, amphetamines, and alcohol. He said later that due to his substance use disorder he had no memory of three years of his work on Friends.

In 2018, Perry spent five months in a hospital for a gastrointestinal perforation. During the hospital stay, Perry nearly died after his colon burst from opioid abuse. He spent two weeks in a coma and used a colostomy bag for nine months. Upon being admitted to the hospital, doctors told his family that Perry had a 2% chance of survival. He was connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine.

Two years later, while attending rehab in Switzerland, Perry faked pain to get a prescription for 1,800 milligrams of Oxycontin per day and was having daily ketamine infusions. He was given propofol in conjunction with a surgery, which stopped his heart for five minutes. The resulting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) resulted in eight broken ribs. He paid $175,000 for a private jet to take him to Los Angeles to get more drugs. When doctors there refused, Perry spent another $175,000 to take a private jet back to Switzerland. In 2022, he estimated that he had spent $9 million on his addiction, including 14 stomach surgeries, 15 stays in rehab, and therapy twice a week for 30 years and had attended approximately 6,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Philanthropy and advocacy

In July 2011, Perry lobbied the US Congress as a celebrity spokesperson for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals in support of funding for drug courts. He received a Champion of Recovery award in May 2013 from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for opening Perry House, a rehab center in his former mansion in Malibu. In 2015, Perry sold the mansion and relocated its services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he launched an apparel line inspired by Friends, with proceeds donated to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 relief fund.

Death

On October 28, 2023, Perry was found unresponsive in a hot tub at his home in Los Angeles. He was pronounced dead at 4:17 pm that day at the age of 54.

On November 3, 2023, Perry's funeral was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles where he was buried. His five Friends co-stars attended, as did his father, mother and stepfather. The Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush song "Don't Give Up" was played at his funeral. Perry was enamored with the song, and he referenced it in signed copies of his autobiography, released in part to help people suffering from depression or addiction issues. Following Perry's death, the National Philanthropic Trust established the "Matthew Perry Foundation" to support people suffering from addiction.

On December 15, 2023, Perry's death was revealed to have occurred due to "acute effects of ketamine". Other circumstances that contributed to his death included the effects of buprenorphine, drowning, and coronary artery disease. The LA County medical examiner said in a statement that "at the high levels of ketamine found in his post-mortem blood specimens, the main lethal effects would be from both cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression," while "drowning contributes due to the likelihood of submersion into the pool as he lapsed into unconsciousness; coronary artery disease contributes due to exacerbation of ketamine induced myocardial effects on the heart". Perry had been receiving ketamine-assisted psychotherapy sessions to treat anxiety at the time of his death, his last known session of which having been the week prior to his death. However, the report stated, "The ketamine in his system at death could not be from that infusion therapy, since ketamine's half-life is 3 to 4 hours, or less".

Acting credits

Film

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
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 Direct to video
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
2007 Numb Hudson Milbank Also executive producer
2008 Birds of America Morrie
2009 17 Again Older Mike O'Donnell
2015 Misery Loves Comedy Himself

Television

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1979 240-Robert Arthur 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"
1987–1988 Second Chance/Boys Will Be Boys Chazz Russell Main role
1988 Dance 'til Dawn Roger TV movie
Just the Ten of Us Ed Episode: "The Dinner Test"
Credited as Matthew L. Perry
Highway to Heaven David Hastings 2 episodes
1989 Empty Nest Bill at 18 Episode: "A Life in the Day"
Growing Pains Sandy Recurring role
1990 Sydney Billy Kells Main role
Who's the Boss? Benjamin Dawson Episode: "Roomies"
Call Me Anna Desi Arnaz Jr. TV 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 Episde: "What Makes Lily Run?"
1993 Deadly Relations George Westerfield TV movie
Home Free Matt Bailey Main role
1994 Parallel Lives Willi Morrison TV movie
1994 LAX 2194 Blaine Unaired Pilot
1994–2004 Friends Chandler Bing Main role
1995 Caroline in the City Episode: "Caroline and the Folks"
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
2004 Scrubs Murray Episode: "My Unicorn"; director
2006 The Ron Clark Story Ron Clark TV movie
2006–2007 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Matt Albie Main role
2011 Childrens Hospital Himself Episode: "The Black Doctor"
Mr. Sunshine Ben Donovan Main roler; creator, executive producer and writer
2012–2013 The Good Wife Mike Kresteva Recurring role
Go On Ryan King Main role; Also executive producer
2014 Cougar Town Sam Johnston Episode: "Like a Diamond"
Playhouse Presents The Charismatic Man Episode: "The Dog Thrower"
2015 Web Therapy Tyler Bishop 2 episodes
2015–2017 The Odd Couple Oscar Madison Main role; creator, executive producer and writer
2017 The Good Fight Mike Kresteva Recurring role
The Kennedys: After Camelot Ted Kennedy Miniseries; executive producer
2021 Friends: The Reunion Himself Executive producer

Theatre

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2003 Sexual Perversity in Chicago Danny Comedy Theatre, London
2016 The End of Longing Jack Also playwright; Playhouse Theatre, London
2017 Also playwright; Lucille Lortel Theater, off Broadway

Video games

Year Title Voice role Ref.
2010 Fallout: New Vegas Benny

Specials

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

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations received by Matthew Perry
Award Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
Golden Globe Awards 2007 Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film The Ron Clark Story Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards 2002 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Friends Nominated
2003 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series The West Wing Nominated
2004
2007 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie The Ron Clark Story
2021 Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) Friends: The Reunion Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards 1996 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Friends Won
1999 Nominated
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2007 Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries The Ron Clark Story Nominated
American Comedy Awards 1996 Funniest Supporting Male Performer in a TV Series Friends
1998
Huading Awards 2013 Best Global Actor in a Television Series Go On Won
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2002 Favorite TV Actor Friends Nominated
People's Choice Awards 2016 Favorite Comedic TV Actor n/a
2017
Satellite Awards 2006 Best Actor in a Series, Drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Teen Choice Awards 2004 Choice TV Actor – Comedy Friends
TV Guide Awards 2000 Editor's Choice Won
TV Land Awards 2006 Most Wonderful Wedding Nominated

Publications

  • Perry, Matthew (November 1, 2022). Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir. Foreword: Lisa Kudrow. New York: Flatiron Books. ISBN 978-1-250-86644-8. OCLC 1338841699.

Notes

References

  • ^ Ip, Stephanie (October 8, 2013). "Lavigne, Perry honoured at China's Huading Awards". globalnews.ca. Archived from the original on June 20, 2023. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  • ^
  • ^ "People's Choice Awards 2016: See the Full List of Winners Here". Billboard. January 6, 2016. Archived from the original on October 26, 2022. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  • ^ "People's Choice Awards 2017 Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. January 18, 2017. Archived from the original on October 29, 2023. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  • ^ "Satellite Awards nominations announced". Variety. December 1, 2006. Archived from the original on October 16, 2023. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  • ^
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