Beyond the iconic role of Chandler Bing in Friends, Matthew Perry’s versatile acting journey has seen him make some noteworthy appearances in movies and TV shows.
Back in 1979, the late actor had his early brush with fame when he guest-starred in 240 Robert at the age of 10. He continued acting in his teens, chalking up credits on sitcoms such as Charles in Charge (1985) and Silver Spoons (1986). Then, in 1989, Perry took his acting journey further with his role in Growing Pains as Sandy, a college student who meets a tragic end. This marked another step towards his eventual iconic portrayal of Chandler Bing on Friends.
Before becoming a household name, Perry’s journey as an actor started with dedication and determination. Born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1969, he developed a passion for acting at a young age. His father, John Bennett Perry, was an actor, which likely played a role in inspiring his career choice. His path from these humble beginnings to becoming a global star has left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment.
Matthew Perry beyond Chandler Bing on Friends
Could he BE any more legendary? When we reflect on Matthew Perry, it’s difficult to not visualise him as the reigning king of sarcasm, Chandler Bing, from the iconic sitcom Friends. As the endearingly quick-witted member of the Central Perk gang, Perry’s performance made Chandler one of the most beloved characters in television history. His comedic timing and sharp delivery of one-liners not only garnered laughs, but also earned him critical acclaim. Perry’s excellence was rewarded with multiple Emmy nominations and wins, making him a prominent figure in the entertainment industry.
But he didn’t want to just be known for his role on Friends. Perry made helping people with addiction and substance abuse the biggest focus in his life, lending a helping hand to anyone who approached him for help. “And I’ve said this for a long time: when I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned — I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned. And I’m going to live the rest of my life proving that,” he shared in a November 2022 interview on the Q with Tom Power podcast.
Following his death, the Matthew Perry Foundation, a charity devoted to helping those struggling with substance abuse, was formed.
Perry could also be finally getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Perry was previously selected for a star back in 2013 after being submitted, but a ceremony was never scheduled and in 2018 the award expired.
With his immense talent and wit, there was so much more to Matthew Perry’s body of work apart from Chandler Bing, and today, we’re taking you on a stroll down memory lane to explore all of his best movies and TV shows.
11 of the best movies and TV shows starring Matthew Perry
Beverly Hills, 90210 (1991)
In the early ’90s, Perry popped up in an episode of the teen drama sensation, Beverly Hills, 90210. As Roger Azarian, he brought his trademark sarcastic humour to the series. His appearance added a memorable twist to the show and gave fans a taste of what was to come.
Fools Rush In (1997)
In this romantic comedy film, Matthew Perry played the role of Alex Whitman, an architect who finds himself in a whirlwind romance with Isabel Fuentes (played by Salma Hayek), a free-spirited Mexican-American photographer. The film explores the cultural clashes and challenges faced by the couple as they navigate their unexpected relationship, including an unplanned pregnancy.
Fools Rush In highlighted Perry’s ability to charm audiences in romantic comedies and showcased his on-screen chemistry with Salma Hayek. His performance in the film added a touch of wit and humour to the story, making it a beloved classic in the romantic comedy genre. The film’s success demonstrated Perry’s versatility beyond his iconic role as Chandler Bing on Friends.
The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
Matthew Perry’s transition to the big screen was a memorable one, thanks to his role as Nicholas “Oz” Oseransky in The Whole Nine Yards. Starring alongside Bruce Willis, Perry portrayed a mild-mannered dentist who inadvertently gets caught up in a web of crime and comedy. The film was a delightful blend of dark humour and suspense, and Perry’s performance showcased his versatility beyond the confines of the sitcom realm. His comedic timing and chemistry with Bruce Willis were key factors that made the movie famous, cementing Perry’s status as a versatile actor in both comedy and crime genres.
In 2004, Matthew Perry made a memorable guest appearance on the hit medical comedy-drama series Scrubs. Perry portrayed the character of Murray Marks, a charming, albeit somewhat cynical, pharmaceutical representative who navigates the chaotic world of Sacred Heart Hospital. His comedic timing and charismatic performance added a unique flair to the show, making his stint on Scrubs a delightful moment for both fans and the cast alike.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006)
In the world of television, Matthew Perry’s role as Matt Albie in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip remains a standout moment. This short-lived but critically acclaimed TV series delved into the behind-the-scenes chaos of a sketch comedy show. Perry’s portrayal of the talented writer and producer showcased his dramatic acting chops and his ability to shine in roles that required depth and emotional range. The show was praised for its witty and incisive dialogue, making it a hit among viewers and critics alike.
The Ron Clark Story (2006)
In this heartwarming TV movie, Perry took on the real-life role of teacher Ron Clark. His outstanding performance earned him critical acclaim, and it showcased his range as an actor. The film tells the inspiring story of a teacher who makes a significant difference in the lives of underprivileged students, and his portrayal brought the emotional depth and authenticity required for such a compelling story. Matthew Perry’s role in this project highlighted his ability to tackle dramatic roles and engage audiences on an emotional level, making it one of his best TV shows to date.
17 Again (2009)
In the comedy film 17 Again, Matthew Perry found himself alongside Zac Efron, playing the older version of Efron’s character. Perry’s portrayal of the adult Mike O’Donnell added a delightful twist to the story. His ability to connect with both younger and older audiences was a key factor that made the film successful. Perry’s comedic charm and chemistry with Zac Efron added depth to the film’s characters, making it a heartwarming and hilarious exploration of second chances. Out of all Matthew Perry’s TV and movie appearances, this one is surely worth a revisit as it’s also the last film in which he starred.
The Good Wife (2012)
Perry’s presence in the legal drama series The Good Wife was nothing short of magnetic. As Mike Kresteva, a cunning attorney, he injected a fresh layer of intrigue into the show’s legal battles. His character was manipulative, calculating, and perfectly portrayed, making it a fan favourite. Perry’s compelling performance contributed significantly to the show’s success, as he brought a level of complexity to the legal drama that resonated with viewers and kept them on the edge of their seats.
Go On (2012-2013)
In the TV series Go On, Matthew Perry portrayed Ryan King, a sports radio host who joins a support group to cope with the loss of his wife. The show blended elements of comedy and drama, and Perry’s performance as the grieving and often reluctant participant in the support group was both heartfelt and full of humour. Go On provided a platform for Perry to showcase his talent in a leading role, and his character’s journey of healing and personal growth resonated with viewers. The series allowed Perry to explore the complexities of loss and recovery, proving his ability to handle more profound and emotional roles alongside his signature comedic prowess.
The Odd Couple (2015-2017)
Perry’s turn as Oscar Madison in the TV series The Odd Couple showcased his impeccable comedic timing and his ability to carry a show as the lead. His portrayal of the messy and laid-back sportswriter in this modern adaptation of Neil Simon’s classic was a definite highlight of the series. The show’s success owed much to Perry’s witty banter and comedic prowess, as he breathed new life into a beloved classic, drawing both old and new audiences to the series.
The Kennedys: After Camelot (2017)
In this miniseries, Matthew Perry took on the role of Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, a pivotal figure in American politics and a member of the iconic Kennedy family. The Kennedys: After Camelot delves into the turbulent life and career of Ted Kennedy after the assassinations of his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Perry’s portrayal of Ted Kennedy showcased his ability to tackle complex and dramatic roles. His performance in this miniseries added depth and authenticity to the character, drawing praise from both viewers and critics. This project allowed Perry to step away from his comedic roots and prove his mettle as a dramatic actor.
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Matthew Perry and his legacy
Matthew Perry’s sudden passing on October 28, 2023, left his fans shocked and heartbroken. His work will live on in the hearts of millions who admire his talent and versatility. Beyond Friends, he proved time and again that he could hold his own alongside Hollywood’s best, leaving a legacy of memorable characters and performances that will be celebrated for years to come.
Which of Matthew Perry’s movies and TV shows did you enjoy the most?
(Main and featured image credits: Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Matthew Perry most famous for?
Matthew Perry is best known for his role as Chandler Bing in the hit sitcom Friends (1994).
17 Again (2009)
This story first appeared on Prestige Online Singapore