When I say we will never forget Matthew Perry, I mean it.
Beloved Emmy and golden Globe nominated “Friends” star Matthew Perry, best known for his role as Chandler Bing passed away on October 28th , the world, the entertainment industry, and most importantly his friends and family were devastated and shocked to their core.
Perry touched the lives of many with his charming personality, his sense of humor and his kind heart. The characters he played always emulated that aspect of himself.
I am me, and that should be enough, it always has been enough. I was the one who didn’t get that, and now I do. I’m an actor, I’m a writer, I’m a person, and a good one at that. – Matthew Perry
While it’s hard to think of him agone, join me for a few minutes while I remember him and take a trip through his journey onscreen and off in some of his most memorable projects.
Friends (1994 – 2004)
Of course first up we have the show that made Matthew L. Perry, THE Matthew Perry. Perry first got the role of the beloved sarcastic Chandler Bing when he was 24, he was one of the 6 main cast members of the show starring alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer. His character is notable for his sarcasm and witty sense of humor. Perry’s comedic timing, one liners and all in all lovable personality on and off the camera made him and his character a favourite amongst fans. The show ran which was about 6 friends living in new york and going through life’s joys, sorrows and heartbreaks together ran for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004, it was an instant hit and still remains to this day one of the most popular TV shows of all time.
In his Memoir ‘Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing’, he wrote “When I read the script for “Friends Like Us”, it was as if somone had followed me arround for a year… I was Chandler.” Perry also spoke about the effect the fame of the show had on him in the 2004 book ‘Friends … ‘Til the End’, “At first you have the wave of ‘I’m famous, and this is exactly what I’ve wanted my whole life.’ But then you go through the whole recluse stage where you think, ‘I wish everybody would stop staring at me.’ And then you eventually, hopefully, get through all that. You find things in your life that are grounding, like your family and good friends.”
Studio 60 on the Sunet Strip (2006 – 2007)
Despite only having run for 1 season, Matthew Perry was very proud to have been a part of “Studio 60”. The series takes place behind the scenes of a live sketch comedy show (also called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip or Studio 60) on the fictional television network NBS (National Broadcasting System), whose format is similar to NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Matthew Perry starred as Matt Albie, a former writer for Studio 60 who takes over production along with long-time friend Danny Tripp, as executive producer and head writer. “Studio 60” aired for 22 episodes from 2006 to 2007.
Perry told USA Today of the Aaron Sorkin project “Studio 60 taught me that even if a show has this insane amount of power behind it, you never know what’s going to happen, I was really proud of being part of that, because that pilot was just as good as anything I’ve seen on television. I can’t believe I was in it.”
The Whole Nine Yards and The Whole Ten Yards (2000 and 2004)
Aside from his many roles on different TV shows, Perry appeared in a variety of different films over the years. His most notable films were in the late 90s andearly 2000s. “The Whole Nine Yards” and its sequel “The Whole Ten Yards” saw Perry starring alongside Bruce Willis in this hilarious crime comedy. What starts out as a man’s life turning upside down when a gangster moves in next door, ends up being a series of unfortunate events and eventually eveolves into a story of friendship between a most unlikely pair. A dentist and a contract killer.
In his memoir ‘Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing’ Perry wrote about the first movie saying “Bruce hadn’t been sure the film would work at all, and I’d bet him it would — if he lost, he had to do a guest spot on Friends, (he’s in three episodes of season six).”
Boys Will Be Boys (1987 – 1988)
In his first starring role in a TV show, Matthew Perry played the hilarious Chazz Russell in “Boys Will Be Boys”. A character almost like a younger version of Chandler Bing. In this series, the first season included a supernatural element which included a ghost returning to the present to guide his younger self. However that was scrapped from the show, The show then went on to focus on three high school teens looking for independence who become roommates in an apartment over a local garage. The show revolves solely around the antics of Chazz, Booch and Eugene.
Fools Rush In (1997)
In one of his best film roles we saw Matthew Perry star alongside Salma Hayek in a sweet and entertaining rom com that solidified Perry as a leading man. In this film a one night stand leads to an unexpected pregnancy, so Alex (Perry) and Isabel (Hayek) decide to get married. However, along with the marriage comes compromise of cultural traditions. The two delivered incredible performances in this film, straying away from rom com cliches and making a movie that was one of its kind of its time.
In his memoir ‘Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing’, he wrote that Hayek had an unorthodox method to try and get him out of his comfort zone on the set of “Fools Rush In” “She came into my trailer at the start of the shoot and said, ‘Let’s just spoon a little bit,'” He goes on to say she “tried her best” to help him “tap into real feelings and to be more of a leading man than a funny sitcom actor.”
Three to Tango (1999)
In this unique rom com that stars a trio of talented actors, Matthew Perry, Neve Cambell (Scream) and Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story) we see a rich businessman named Charles ask his new colleague Oscar who he assumes is gay to keep an eye on his mistress, Amy. However, the man, who is very straight, begins to fall for the woman himself. Leading to a very complicated set of events. Perry got to flex his dramatic acting skills in this movie. This is yet another film he was very proud of.
“I was attracted to this film because of the very interesting dynamic of the character” Said Perry in a Three to Tango press release, “He’s had intimacy issue with women petty much his whole life. Now, by having to pretend his gay, it’s finally safe for him to get to really know a women and ultimately to fall in love with her.” Perry said “I was proud of the dramatic stuff in Three to Tango.”
17 Again (2009)
Despite only being in this film for a few scenes, Matthew Perry made an impact, both hilariously and emotionally on this movie. Playing the grown up version of Mike O’Donnell, with the younger version played by Zac Effron. He also starred alongside Leslie Mann in this coming of age comedy in which we see Mike who after peaking in high school is now a loser in life, miraculously transform into a teenager (Efron). On a journey to try to fix his past and save his future.
Go On (2012)
In this sitcom, Matthew Perry co-executive produces “Go On” and stars as a sports talk radio host who is trying to deal with the death of his wife. His version of coping is simply pushing his feelings down and geting back to work. This leads Ryan’s boss, to insist he get counseling refusing to let him back on air until he does. When Ryan joins a support group, his lack of interest not only makes therapy interesting but also serves as the breath of fresh air needed to get his group members back on track.
Mr Sunshine (2011 – 2012)
This series was co created by Matthew Perry, who also starts in the show as Ben Donovan, the operations manager for the Sunshine Center, a second-tier arena in San Diego. Perry starred alongside Allison Janney who played his unpredictable boss who would constantly have unusual demands.
“When you meet Ben, he’s just pretty much been thinking about himself his entire life, and he’s sort of whistling in the dark and thinks he’s a happy guy,” Said Perry “And he learns rather quickly that the sort of secret to being happy and maybe gaining some inner peace is to care about your fellow man, to care about others.”
Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir
You can’t list Matthew Perry’s most memorable projects without one of his most iconic works. In this truly honest and raw memoir, ‘Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing’, Perry takes us along on his journey from childhood ambition to fame, behind the scenes, to his struggles with addiction, his near death experience and much more. Perry was hesitant to share his experiences in a book at first, however he explained how thinking of the people it would help would keep him going.
In her forward for the memoir Lisa Kudrow wrote “Matthew Perry, who is whip smart … charming, sweet, sensitive, very reasonable and rational. That guy, with everything he was battling, was still there. The same Matthew who, from the beginning, could lift us all up during a grueling night shoot for the opening titles inside that fountain.” Despite everything he was going through in his personal life, Matthew Perry never failed to bring joy to the lives of those around him, especially to the lives of his fans.
Matthew Perry has made a lasting impact on the entertainment industry, with his talent and in the world with the kind of person he was. Despite his many struggles in life, during Friends and after, he kept rising above them and continously making himself better. An example we should all take from him. He used his fame and his platform to help and reach out to those who were struggling with addiction as well. In an interview last year he mentioned that he wanted to be remembered for more than just “Friends”, but instead for the things he did “to try to help other people.” It’s upto us to make sure his legacy lives on.
“There are two ways to go when you hit that crossroads in your life: There is the bad way, when you sort of give up, and then there is the really hard way, when you fight back. I went the hard way and came out of it okay. Now, I’m sitting here and doing great.” – Matthew Perry
As an entertainment writer it pains me to write this, but Matthew Perry, thank you for a lifetime of laughter. He truly had a unique ability to light up every movie and show he was on the same way he lit up a room, no matter what, with every character he played and with every person he cared about. It’s heartbreaking to think we’ll never see that light again. Oh but wait, yes you will, everytime you turn on one of his shows or movies, Matthew Perry’s light, will be right there. So never let the laughter stop.
Tell me what your favorite Matthew Perry role is in the comments.