While most may know him best as Chandler Bing from the hit sitcom, Friends, Matthew Perry is a highly celebrated actor whose career spans several decades. He’s worked throughout film, television and theatre – and has even published a best-selling autobiography.
Matthew Perry, was born on August 19, 1969 in Williamstown, a small town in Massachusetts, though he was raised in Ottawa. His father, John Bennett Perry was an actor and his mother Suzanne Marie Morrison worked as a journalist and political advisor.
While he always had a skill for performing, he originally devoted most of his time to tennis. In fact, he was once a top-ranked junior player in Canada.
At the age of just 15, Matthew Perry moved to LA, and began to pursue a career within the entertainment industry. His first TV role was in the series Second Chance (Later renamed Boys Will Be Boys). While this show was short-lived, Matthew began to work quite consistently within film and TV.
Friends and Fame
In 1994, he was offered the role of Chandler Bing in Friends – a sitcom which would become an overnight night hit, and eventually accumulate millions of monthly viewers. Friends remains one of the most-streamed TV series to date, despite broadcasting at a time before streaming services even existed.
In his 2022 autobiography, Friends, Lovers & The Big Terrible Thing, Perry recalled how just a few weeks before his audition, “I found myself getting to my knees, closing my eyes tightly, and praying. I had never done this before,” saying, “God, you can do whatever you want to me. Just please make me famous.”
The rest is history, some might say!
As Friends soared in popularity, the cast were not only recognizable around the world, but also earning some of the most competitive salaries in the industry. By entering negotiations together as a team, the cast were able to negotiate payment of $1 million per episode during the show’s later seasons.
The cast also made history by only submitting themselves as supporting actors for awards, as opposed to entering the leading actor categories, because they agreed that Friends was largely an ensemble production. They had previously used this same logic to advocate for equal pay for all six of the friends.
Matthew Perry has worked extensively in film and TV. Some of his most celebrated films include 17 Again, The Whole Nine Yards and Fools Rush In. More recently, Perry has taken a break from on-camera work, releasing a memoir in 2023 that explored his career, personal life and struggles with overcoming addiction.
Perry has been nominated for over 34 awards throughout his career. His big wins include:
- TV Guide Awards (2000) Editors Choice, shared with Friends Co-Stars.
- Screen Actors Guild Awards (1996) Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, Friends.
- OFTA (1997) Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series, Friends.
- Golden Derby Awards (2010) TV Movie Actor of the Decade, The Triumph
- Golden Derby Awards (2012) Drama Guest Actor, The Good Wife.
- Matthew is missing the tip of his right middle finger (an injury that is sometimes noticeable on camera). This incident occurred when Matthew was just three years old, as he tapped his finger in a door frame.
- During grade school, Matthew Perry was classmates with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
- As a high school student, a teacher told Perry that he would never amount to anything if he was joking around all the time. When he first graced the cover of People Magazine, he sent a copy to the same teacher.