Matthew Perry Biography: The Man, The Myth, The Unfiltered Biography!

Matthew Perry is an American-Canadian actor, comedian, executive producer, screenwriter, and playwright who is best known for his role as Chandler Bing on the hit TV sitcom “Friends”. Perry has received acclaim for his comedic talents and timing, and has worked extensively in film, television and stage over his decades-long career.

Early Life and Education

Matthew Perry was born on August 19, 1969 in Williamstown, Massachusetts. His mother, Suzanne Marie Morrison, was a Canadian journalist and press secretary to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. His father, John Bennett Perry, was an American actor and model. His parents divorced before his first birthday.

Perry moved to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with his mother when he was a baby. He holds dual American and Canadian citizenship. Perry was raised by his mother in the Sandy Hill neighborhood of Ottawa.

As a child, Perry struggled with health problems. He had a congenital intestinal condition that prevented his body from properly digesting food. Between the ages of 15 months to 2 years, he was hospitalized 13 times and fed through an IV.

Perry attended Rockcliffe Park Public School, where he began developing his talent for tennis. He later attended Ashbury College, a private school in Ottawa. Perry played competitive junior tennis in his teenage years and at one point was ranked top three in Canada for players under 14.


At age 15, Perry moved from Ottawa to Los Angeles to pursue acting and attend The Buckley School. He struggled academically at the highly competitive prep school due to dyslexia. However, he excelled on the school’s tennis team.

Upon graduating from high school, Perry enrolled at the University of Southern California. He studied for two years before deciding to pursue acting full time.

Early Career

Perry’s television career began when he was cast in a production of “A Twist of Fate” in 1988. The following year, he made his professional debut in the sitcom “Second Chance”. However, the show only lasted one season.

His next roles were guest appearances on shows like “Growing Pains” and the TV movie “Dance ‘Til Dawn”. In 1993, he landed a regular role as Kenny Lacos on the comedy “Sydney”. However, “Sydney” was also short-lived, being cancelled after one season.

Breakthrough Role on Friends

Perry got his big break in 1994 when he was cast as Chandler Bing on the NBC sitcom “Friends”. The show revolved around a group of six friends living in Manhattan. As Chandler, Perry played a sarcastic, self-deprecating character who used humor as a defense mechanism.

“Friends” was wildly popular and propelled Perry into stardom. The chemistry between Perry and his co-stars was praised as a major factor in the show’s success. Perry went on to earn an Emmy nomination in 2002 for his performance.

“Friends” finished its 10 season run in 2004, with the series finale bringing in over 50 million viewers. To this day it remains one of the most popular sitcoms in television history.

Film Roles During Friends

While starring on “Friends”, Perry expanded into film as well. Early film roles included “Fools Rush In” (1997) opposite Salma Hayek and “Almost Heroes” (1998) with Chris Farley.

In 2000, Perry co-starred with Bruce Willis in the comedy “The Whole Nine Yards”. His performance was praised by critics and the film was a box office success. Perry reprised his role in the sequel “The Whole Ten Yards” in 2004.

Career After Friends

Following the end of “Friends”, Perry starred in the TNT television movie “The Ron Clark Story” (2006), earning a Golden Globe nomination for his dramatic performance. He next had a role in the sci-fi miniseries “The Beach” in 2000.

In 2011, Perry developed and took on a starring role in the ABC sitcom “Mr. Sunshine”. Despite positive reviews, the show was cancelled after one season.

From 2012-2017, Perry had a recurring role on the hit CBS drama “The Good Wife”. He played an attorney with a chaotic personal life. Critics praised Perry’s performance as his most complex and engaging since the end of “Friends”.

Most recently, Perry starred as Senator Ted Kennedy in the miniseries “The Kennedys After Camelot” (2017).

Stage Work

In addition to on-screen roles, Perry has extensive stage experience as a playwright and actor.

In 2004, he made his playwriting debut with “Sexual Perversity in Chicago”, which had a successful off-Broadway run before moving to London’s West End. He followed up with the play “The End of Longing” (2016), in which he also starred on London’s West End.

As an actor, Perry starred in off-Broadway productions of “The Jamie Lloyd Company” (2013-2014) and a 2015 revival of “The End of Longing”. In 2016-2017, Perry portrayed a fictionalized version of himself in “The End of Longing” during its London run.

Film Work

Perry has appeared in various films since “Friends”, though none achieving the same level of success and visibility as his previous starring vehicles. His film credits have included “Numb” (2007), “17 Again” (2009), “Serving Sara” (2002), “Birds of America” (2008), “17 Again” (2009), “Barry Munday” (2010), “Go On” (2012), and “The Dogwalker” (1999).

In 2018, Perry portrayed Ted Kennedy once again in the historical drama “Chappaquiddick”. Reviews praised his dramatic depth in the role.

Upcoming films include “Don’t Look Up” directed by Adam McKay and “Friendsgiving” set for release in 2022.

Personal Life

Perry has openly discussed his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction spanning decades. At the height of his alcoholism during “Friends”, Perry would sometimes show up to set “foggy” and unable to remember his lines.

In 1997, he became addicted to Vicodin after a jet ski accident and briefly entered rehab. By 2001, his addiction was serious enough that he completed a 28-day program. However, his sobriety only lasted two years before relapsing.

In 2011, Perry underwent gastrointestinal surgery to repair a perforated bowel caused by his substance abuse. After the surgery, he spent six months using a colostomy bag. He became dependent to Vicodin again while recovering. It wasn’t until 2015 that Perry finally achieved sobriety.

Today he continues to be outspoken about breaking the stigma around addiction. “I had to stop,” Perry has stated. “Otherwise, it was death.”


In addition to spreading awareness for substance abuse issues, Perry has advocated for other health-related causes. He has done public service announcements for cancer research and skin cancer screenings. After undergoing surgery in 2011, he also became an outspoken advocate for colostomy bag education.

Accolades and Legacy

For his role as Chandler Bing, Perry received an Emmy nomination in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. He’s also received multiple honors at award ceremonies like the Screen Actors Guild Awards and TV Guide Awards.

Additionally, Perry earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 2007 for his performance in “The Ron Clark Story”.

While “Friends” received 62 Primetime Emmy nominations over the course of its run, none of the main six actors ever won. This has caused controversy, with critics arguing that the show was constantly overlooked by the award committees.

Cultural Impact

As one of the six main stars on NBC’s cultural phenomenon “Friends”, Perry became a household name and cemented himself as an iconic comedic TV actor. Chandler’s sarcasm and lovable neuroticism endeared him to fans for 10 seasons.

Perry had a lead role in shaping the character, who was not part of the Friends pilot script initially. The character evolution allowed Perry to draw on his own life in creating Chandler’s persona and comedic style.

Both during and following “Friends”, Perry has left a lasting mark on TV comedy and pop culture. As part of the iconic cast, he’ll remain forever beloved to loyal fans even years after the show’s end.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old was Matthew Perry when Friends first aired?

Matthew Perry was aged 24 when Friends first aired in 1994.

What character did Matthew Perry play on Friends?

On Friends, Matthew Perry portrayed the beloved role of Chandler Bing – Monica Geller’s neighbor across the hall and roommate of Joey Tribbiani.

Has Matthew Perry ever been married?

No, as of 2024 Matthew Perry has never been married. However, he has been engaged twice: first to fashion student Rachel Dunn from 1996-1997, and later to Mean Girls actor Lizzy Caplan from 2006-2012.

Does Matthew Perry have children?

No, Matthew Perry does not have any children as of 2024.