Matthew Perry Then and Now

By / May 29, 2024

Matthew Perry Then

Matthew Perry was born on August 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, into a family with strong ties to both the media and entertainment industries. 

He was the only child of Suzanne Perry, a journalist who later worked as a press secretary for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and John Bennett Perry, an actor best known for his role as a sailor in Old Spice cologne commercials during the 1970s and ’80s. 

Following his parents’ divorce when he was an infant, Perry moved to Ottawa, Ontario, where he was raised by his mother. 

Suzanne Perry later married Keith Morrison, a television journalist and NBC’s Dateline correspondent, while John Bennett Perry married writer Debbie Doyle, expanding Matthew Perry’s family to include five half-siblings.

matthew perry young
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Growing up in Ottawa, Perry was a top-ranked junior tennis player, harboring ambitions of becoming a professional athlete. 

However, his life took a significant turn at age 15 when he moved to Los Angeles to live with his father. This relocation sparked Perry’s interest in acting.

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While attending the Buckley School, he pursued his burgeoning passion for performance by taking improv classes at the comedy theater LA Connection. 

This early exposure to the world of entertainment set the stage for his acting career.

Perry made his television debut in 1979 with a guest appearance on the police drama “240-Robert,” which starred his father. 

During the mid-1980s, he landed minor roles on several popular TV shows, including “Charles in Charge,” “Silver Spoons,” and “The Tracey Ullman Show.” 

These early roles provided Perry with valuable experience and helped him establish a foothold in the competitive entertainment industry, paving the way for his eventual breakthrough as a major television star.

Related Article: Lisa Kudrow Then and Now

Matthew Perry Acting Career

Matthew Perry’s career trajectory in the entertainment industry began with his graduation from the Buckley School in 1987. 

That same year, he landed his first starring role in the sitcom “Second Chance,” which was later renamed “Boys Will Be Boys.” 

Although the show only lasted one season, it marked the start of Perry’s journey in television. 

In 1988, he made his film debut in “A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon,” a coming-of-age story starring River Phoenix. 

Perry continued to build his acting résumé with a memorable guest role on the popular sitcom “Growing Pains” in 1989, where he played a character who tragically dies in a drunk-driving accident.

matthew perry career
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Despite these early roles, mainstream success eluded Perry until he was cast as Chandler Bing on “Friends,” a sitcom that debuted in 1994.

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Set in New York City, “Friends” follows the lives of six young adults navigating careers, relationships, and personal growth. 

Perry’s character, Chandler, quickly became a fan favorite due to his witty sarcasm and self-deprecating humor. 

The show was an immediate hit, propelling Perry and his co-stars—Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer—to international stardom. 

“Friends” ran for ten successful seasons, with Perry and his castmates earning up to $1 million per episode in the later seasons. 

The series finale in 2004 attracted over 52 million viewers, underscoring the show’s massive popularity.

During the peak of “Friends,” Perry explored opportunities in film, though with varying degrees of success. 

He starred in romantic comedies like “Fools Rush In” (1997), “Three to Tango” (1999), and “Serving Sara” (2002), but these films did not achieve significant commercial success. 

However, Perry found greater success with “The Whole Nine Yards” (2000), a comedy in which he played a dentist whose new neighbor (Bruce Willis) is a gangster.

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The film was well-received, and Perry reprised his role in the 2004 sequel, “The Whole Ten Yards.”

Perry also made notable appearances on television outside of “Friends.” 

He guest-starred in several episodes of “Ally McBeal” and “The West Wing,” earning critical acclaim and two Emmy nominations for his role in the latter as a Republican lawyer in a Democratic administration. 

In 2004, he made his directorial debut on the medical comedy “Scrubs,” where he also acted alongside his father.

Post-“Friends,” Perry continued to focus on television. He starred in the TV movie “The Ron Clark Story” (2006), portraying a dedicated teacher in Harlem, a role that earned him another Emmy nomination. 

Perry then took the lead in Aaron Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” (2006–07), a series that, despite high expectations, was canceled after one season.

Perry’s later attempts at leading sitcoms saw mixed results. He co-created and starred in “Mr. Sunshine” (2011–12), a comedy about a sports arena manager, but it was canceled after 13 episodes due to low ratings.

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Similarly, “Go On” (2012–13), where he played a sportscaster dealing with his wife’s death, was also short-lived. 

He reunited with Courteney Cox for an episode of her series “Cougar Town” in 2014 and later co-created and starred in a remake of “The Odd Couple” (2015–17), which aired for three seasons. 

In 2017, Perry took on a recurring role in “The Good Fight” and portrayed Ted Kennedy in the miniseries “The Kennedys After Camelot.”

Throughout his career, Matthew Perry has demonstrated versatility and resilience, continually seeking new projects and roles despite the fluctuating successes of his ventures.

Matthew Perry Movies

matthew perry movies
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  • A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (1988)
  • Matthew Perry Movies
  • Fools Rush In (1997)
  • Almost Heroes (1998)
  • Three to Tango (1999)
  • The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
  • The Kid (2000)
  • Serving Sara (2002)
  • The Whole Ten Yards (2004)
  • Numb (2007)
  • Birds of America (2008)
  • 17 Again (2009)
  • The Ron Clark Story (TV Movie, 2006)
  • The Beginning of Wisdom (2012)
  • The Good Fight (TV Series, 2017)
  • Friends: The Reunion (TV Special, 2021)

Matthew Perry Girlfriends

Matthew Perry, known for his iconic role as Chandler Bing on “Friends,” has had a colorful romantic history, though he never tied the knot. 

In November 2020, he announced his engagement to Molly Hurwitz, marking a significant milestone in his personal life. 

However, the engagement was short-lived, as the couple announced their split in May 2021, bringing an end to their relationship.

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Prior to his relationship with Hurwitz, Perry had been involved with several notable figures in the entertainment industry. 

He dated actors Lizzy Caplan and briefly Julia Roberts, capturing headlines with his high-profile romances. 

Additionally, Perry’s romantic history includes relationships with TV executive Jamie Tarses, fashion student Rachel Dunn, and TV producer Gabrielle Allan. 

Despite coming close to marriage on one occasion, Perry’s love life has been marked by a series of relationships that have played out amidst the public eye.

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Matthew Perry Now

matthew perry age
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Matthew Perry’s untimely death on October 28, 2023, at the age of 54, sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry and his legions of fans. 

Authorities discovered him unresponsive in a pool at his Los Angeles home, with the cause of death determined to be the acute effects of ketamine. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner listed drowning, coronary artery disease, and the effects of buprenorphine as contributing factors to his tragic passing.

As an American and Canadian actor, Perry made a significant mark on the entertainment world, gaining international fame for his portrayal of the witty and lovable Chandler Bing on the iconic NBC television sitcom “Friends.”

Related Article: Tina Fey Then and Now

Beyond “Friends,” Perry’s talent extended to other notable roles, including appearances on “Ally McBeal,” for which he received Primetime Emmy Award nominations, as well as acclaimed performances in “The West Wing” and “The Ron Clark Story.” 

His sudden death marked the end of a prolific career and left a lasting impact on fans worldwide.

Related Article: Steve Carell Then and Now

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