Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry
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Name: Matthew Perry

Real name: Matthew Langford Perry

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Place of birth: Williamstown, Massachusetts, US

Death date: 28 october (54 y.o.)

Height: 6'0 ft ()

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Matthew Perry Biography

Millions of viewers worldwide knew Matthew Perry as the sarcastic joker Chandler Bing from the TV show "Friends". This role made the aspiring actor a superstar and brought him incredible popularity. But even devoted fans didn't suspect that behind Chandler's sarcasm and constant jokes, Perry was hiding terrible demons - addiction to alcohol and illegal drugs.

He could have died several times: the actor was admitted to the hospital with acute pancreatitis and emaciation, was in a coma after an intestinal rupture, and experienced clinical death. In 2022, Perry illuminated his entire struggle with addiction in his autobiography "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing", which immediately became a bestseller. The sitcom star was proud that he had finally achieved sobriety and hoped to be remembered by viewers in other roles, not just as Chandler.

But he didn't make it. On October 28, 2023, Matthew Perry passed away in his beloved hot tub at his mansion in Los Angeles - he drowned following a heart attack.
Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry

Early Years

Matthew Perry was born on August 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. His mother, Suzanne Marie Langford, was a professional journalist who aspired to become a model and frequently attended various castings. His father, John Bennett Perry, was an actor who appeared in commercials and wasn't very successful, hoping for a star role.

As young parents, they didn't really know how to care for an infant. At two months, Matthew started having severe colic and sleep issues. A doctor suggested Suzanne and John use phenobarbital, claiming its opioid effect would be soothing.
Matthew Perry as a child
Matthew Perry as a child
"Apparently, the sequence of events was as follows: I cried, they gave me medication, the drug kicked in, and I quickly lost consciousness. Interestingly, all of this greatly amused my father," the actor recalled in his autobiography.

When Perry was nine months old, his parents divorced. His mother decided to return to her homeland, Ottawa, while his father stayed in the US. Suzanne soon married NBC announcer Keith Morrison and found a prestigious job. She became the press secretary of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Matthew Perry with his parents
Matthew Perry with his parents
Matthew's father also remarried, to actress Debbie Boyle. Matthew moved to Canada with his mother but often visited his father. He later admitted that the divorce had deeply traumatized him. He dreamt of family reunion for several more years.

Matthew spent most of his childhood in Ottawa. He completed middle school there, then enrolled in Ashbury College. He also dedicated time to sports - he played tennis and even won awards in junior tournaments. In the national ranking of Canadian tennis players, he was the 17th solo player and the 3rd in doubles.
I progressed in tennis to the point that we were seriously considering my admission to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.
Matthew Perry
However, attempts to play at a more professional level resulted in failures, and he had to give up his dream of sports. To his great regret, as only on the court did he feel happy. At home, Matthew suffered from loneliness: his mother and stepfather were focused on raising their own children, leaving the eldest son to himself. At the age of 14, he first tried alcohol, getting in with a bad crowd.

In 1984, Perry decided to move to Los Angeles to live with his father. There he developed a serious interest in acting: the teenager volunteered to participate in school plays and attended acting classes. In this, he was trying to emulate his father, who had always been his role model. His father supported his son in this endeavor. After his first role as George Gibbs in Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," Matthew received the textbook "The Craft of Acting" as a gift from his father.
Matthew Perry in his youth
Matthew Perry in his youth
Addiction to the stage grew along with a fondness for alcohol. Later, Matthew, already a successful actor, admitted that he started drinking heavily while living with his father.

After finishing school in 1987, Matthew focused on his acting career. His father insisted that he get a university education. John set a condition for his son: if he could manage without his finances for a whole year and still not give up on his dream of acting, he would forgive him for not having a degree. And that's exactly what happened.

Early Roles

In the beginning, Perry could only count on episodic characters in various TV shows. For instance, he made appearances in series like "Silver Spoons", "Charles in Charge", and "Growing Pains".
Matthew Perry - first early role - Charles In Charge 1985
In 1987, Matthew received an invitation to the series "Second Chance". He was entrusted with the role of Chazz Russell, which soon became central to the project. While filming, he fell in love with Valerie Bertinelli from afar.
Matthew Perry in the series 'Second Chance'
Matthew Perry in the series 'Second Chance'
"I was obsessed with her and harbored complex fantasies about her leaving Eddie Van Halen and spending the rest of her days with me," he admitted.
Matthew Perry in «Second Chance» - Pilot
A year later, the actor made his debut in a feature film - a dramatic melodrama about youth life "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon" with River Phoenix in the lead role. But the long-awaited breakthrough didn't happen: after the film, Perry was again offered only minor roles in series. Nevertheless, viewers began to recognize the actor on screen, appreciating his comedic talent.
Matthew Perry in the movie 'A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon'
Matthew Perry in the movie 'A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon'

Friends

Matthew Perry only found absolute success after playing Chandler Bing in the series "Friends", which premiered in September 1994. The actor recalled that, after reading the script, he was surprised by the similarities between him and Chandler. Both were not overly confident young men, hiding this insecurity behind sarcasm and irony.

When Perry appeared for the auditions, the creators of the series, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, breathed a sigh of relief: the casting had been going on for several weeks, and they had despaired of finding the perfect candidate. Among the potential performers considered were Craig Bierko and Jon Cryer, but Perry outshone them all.
Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing
Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing
However, everything was nearly ruined due to scheduling conflicts. Matthew had already been approved for a leading role in a series about a future airport and could not break the contract. Fortunately, the project fell through, and Matthew joined the cast of "Friends". Perry explained that he and his co-stars - Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc, with whom Perry had a particularly large number of joint scenes, became inseparable from day one.
Matthew Perry in the TV series 'Friends'
Matthew Perry in the TV series 'Friends'
Intensive filming allowed the star to practically overcome his alcohol addiction. "I had a job that changed my life, which I had dreamed of, so I drank much less than usual," he recalled in his memoirs.
Chandler's Unforgettable Moments! - Friends
The series gained popularity immediately. By 2002, Perry's fees for a single episode reached 1 million dollars. In addition, he became in demand in feature films, primarily as a comedy actor. Matthew appeared in such films as "Fools Rush In" with Salma Hayek (1997) and "Three to Tango" (1999) with Neve Campbell.
Matthew Perry in the movie 'Three to Tango'
Matthew Perry in the movie 'Three to Tango'
During the filming of "Fools Rush In", Perry suffered a serious injury while riding a jet ski. Doctors prescribed him painkillers, which quickly led the actor into another addiction. "When the pill kicked in, something clicked inside of me. And that was the click I had been chasing all my life," he admitted.
Matthew Perry in the movie 'Fools Rush In'
Matthew Perry in the movie 'Fools Rush In'
Despite his condition, Perry continued to work hard. In 2000, he starred in the comedy "The Whole Nine Yards". His co-star was Bruce Willis. Two years later, Perry appeared in the film "Serving Sara" with Elizabeth Hurley.
Matthew Perry in the movie 'Serving Sara'
Matthew Perry in the movie 'Serving Sara'
He also appeared in several episodes of the series "The West Wing" and was nominated twice for an Emmy Award as "Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series".
Matthew Perry in the TV series 'The West Wing'
Matthew Perry in the TV series 'The West Wing'
In 2004, the sitcom "Friends" was shut down after 10 very successful seasons. Later, Perry admitted that his co-stars noticed his destructive addiction - to both pills and alcohol. He stated that only the ninth season of the series was the only one where he was completely sober.

Further Career

The sequel to "The Whole Nine Yards," released in 2003, was a flop. Perry's opportunities in feature films dwindled again. He declined comedic roles in TV shows. In 2004, he made his directorial debut with an episode of "Scrubs."
Matthew Perry in 'The Whole Ten Yards'
Matthew Perry in 'The Whole Ten Yards'
Perry told his agents that he was ready to try a new genre and consider dramatic roles. One such role was offered to him in "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," which aired in 2006. The show was quite successful, but it was cancelled after the first season. Perry then played a teacher working with troubled teenagers in "The Ron Clark Story" and received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations.
Matthew Perry in 'The Ron Clark Story'
Matthew Perry in 'The Ron Clark Story'
In 2007, the actor starred in the melodrama "Numb". Two years later, Perry starred alongside Zac Efron in the comedy "17 Again". He also reunited with his "Friends" co-star Courteney Cox on the set of "Cougar Town" and played Mike Kresteva in several episodes of "The Good Wife".
Matthew Perry in 'Cougar Town'
Matthew Perry in 'Cougar Town'
Matthew had many ideas for his own projects, one of which was the sitcom "Mr. Sunshine," which premiered in 2012. In the show, the actor served as the lead, co-writer, and producer. The show about a middle-aged clerk trying to find harmony in his life was cancelled after just one season. "Despite putting my all into it, the show was a huge success for about two weeks before everyone in the world decided they didn't want to watch it," Perry wrote years later.
Matthew Perry in 'Mr. Sunshine'
Matthew Perry in 'Mr. Sunshine'
He made another attempt to break into the world of television with the project "Go On" in 2013, but this dramedy only lasted one season on the air. These failures once again plunged the actor into depression and exacerbated his addiction to alcohol and opiates.
Matthew Perry in 'Go On'
Matthew Perry in 'Go On'
In 2016, producers gathered the entire cast of "Friends" for a special two-hour program. However, Perry did not appear on the show. He explained his refusal by stating that he had no intention of returning to comedy and would never have approved participation in a sitcom sequel.
Mr. Sunshine - Official Trailer
Nevertheless, Perry accepted guest roles in other series - "The Odd Couple" (2015) and "The Kennedys: After Camelot" (2017). He also reprised his role as Mike Kresteva in "The Good Fight," which aired from 2017 to 2022.
Matthew Perry in 'The Kennedys: After Camelot'
Matthew Perry in 'The Kennedys: After Camelot'
In the spring of 2021, the special episode "Friends: The Reunion" was released, gathering all the central performers of the series. Fans noted that Perry looked unwell in the studio, had difficulty speaking, and scared them with his distant gaze. Matthew explained this by having undergone dental surgery the day before.
Matthew Perry in 'Friends: The Reunion'
Matthew Perry in 'Friends: The Reunion'

Health Issues

Matthew Perry's addiction to drugs and alcohol regularly led him to rehabilitation clinics. His first stint in rehab was in 1997. The treatment significantly affected his appearance – the actor lost weight and dropped down to 145 pounds.

Depression and struggles with pills and alcohol once again landed him in a clinic in 2001. Additionally, he was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Perry admitted that he was so out of sorts during those years that he can't recall almost three years of his time on the set of "Friends".

In 2013, the actor opened a rehabilitation center named Perry House in his mansion in Malibu. The organization lasted for two years before it was closed. Soon after, Perry found himself in rehab again.
Matthew Perry in 2015
Matthew Perry in 2015
The actor's prolonged addiction almost cost him his life several times. In 2018, opiates caused gastrointestinal problems, and the actor suffered a ruptured bowel. "It felt like my body was exploding, my insides were tearing out. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, screaming like an animal," Perry recalled.

Doctors gave him a mere 2% chance of survival. He had to spend two weeks in a coma, underwent 14 surgeries, and lived with a colostomy bag for nine months before he recovered.
Matthew Perry shares his incredible story of survival and why fame wasn't the answer to his problems
In 2020, Perry had a cardiac arrest. During a routine operation in Switzerland, the administered drugs had a dangerous reaction with the pills the actor had been taking. Among the medical staff, there happened to be a "Friends" fan who resuscitated Perry for a full five minutes until he regained consciousness. This resulted in Perry suffering from eight broken ribs. Due to the need for recovery, he had to pull out of the filming of "Don't Look Up", the 2022 hit movie that was nominated for four Oscars.

In 2022, the actor shared his battle with addiction in his autobiography "Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing", confessing that he had been sober for a year and a half by the time the book was released. He noted that his attempts to get sober cost him a total of about $9 million.
Matthew Perry's Book
Matthew Perry's Book

Matthew Perry's Personal Life

The actor has always been popular among women. Perry had dates with Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz. In 1995, he started dating actress Yasmine Bleeth, but soon left her for Julia Roberts.

Their acquaintance happened just before the "Pretty Woman" star's appearance in "Friends". The actress requested that her character have a connection to Perry's character, and she was introduced in the series as Chandler's former classmate.

Matthew sent Roberts three dozen red roses with a touching note: "The only thing more exciting than the prospect of you joining the show is that I finally have a reason to send you flowers."
Matthew Perry and Julia Roberts
Matthew Perry and Julia Roberts
Almost immediately, a workplace romance ensued between the co-stars, and soon they became an official couple. But after a few months, Perry ended the relationship for fear of being dumped himself. "Dating Julia Roberts - it was too much for me. I was 100% sure she would dump me," he confessed later.

Perry's next high-profile affair was with actress Lizzy Caplan. It lasted for six years - from 2006 to 2012. The actors managed to keep their personal life a secret. They broke up because they were not ready for something more serious - family and children.
Matthew Perry and Lizzy Caplan
Matthew Perry and Lizzy Caplan
In 2018, Matthew met Molly Hurwitz, a literary agent 22 years his junior. Despite the age difference, their feelings were serious. Two years later, the couple announced their engagement. However, in June 2021, Perry and Hurwitz broke up. "Sometimes things just don't work out, and this is one of them. I wish Molly all the best," Matthew briefly commented.
Matthew Perry and Molly Hurwitz
Matthew Perry and Molly Hurwitz
In 2020, the "Friends" star registered on social media for the first time, creating an Instagram account. In the first 24 hours, over a million people followed him.

Matthew Perry's Death

On October 28, 2023, the body of Matthew Perry was found in a mansion in Beverly Hills. The actor died in his favorite jacuzzi. He often shared photos from this location on social media, and the last photo on his Instagram was exactly from there.

Matthew's assistant raised the alarm - unable to reach him, he called the rescuers.
Matthew Perry's Last Photo
Matthew Perry's Last Photo
The preliminary cause of the tragedy was named a heart attack followed by drowning. A couple of hours before his death, Perry was playing pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, table tennis, and badminton.

The police found prescription medication in Perry's house, including antidepressants and sedatives. However, a toxicological examination did not reveal any traces of drugs in the actor's blood.
Matthew Perry's Funeral
Matthew Perry's Funeral
The movie star's funeral took place on November 3. All of his colleagues from the series "Friends" came to the farewell ceremony with Perry. The death of a close friend plunged Jennifer Aniston into depression. Lisa Kudrow volunteered to take Matthew's poodle, Alfred.

After his death, an American foundation that helps people fight addictions was named after Matthew Perry.

Interesting Facts

  • Matthew Perry always had an interest in theater. At the dawn of his career in Los Angeles, he performed in productions of "The Sound of Music" and "The Miracle Worker". Hollywood diva Patty Duke highly appreciated the young colleague's talent for improvisation.

  • The actor was missing the phalanx of the middle finger on his right hand. He pinched his fingers with a door back in kindergarten. Subsequently, Perry considered restoring the finger several times but never decided to undergo the operation.

  • Matthew was a big fan of the Fallout video game series from Bethesda Studio and participated in the voiceover for "Fallout: New Vegas".

  • Perry's autobiographical book "Friends, Lovers and One Big Terrible Thing" became a bestseller in The New York Times and on Amazon rankings.

  • The last photo of Perry alive on social media was taken in the same jacuzzi where he was found dead a few days later.

  • Perry's co-star in "17 Again", Zac Efron, stated that he is ready to play the actor if a film about him is made.
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