Matthew Langford Perry (born August 19, 1969) is an American (and Canadian) actor best known for his role as Chandler Bing on the popular series, Friends. His credits also include The Ron Clark Story, Fools Rush In, 17 Again, and more. He plays Oscar Madison on the CBS series, The Odd Couple.
Matthew Langford Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts on August 19, 1969. His mother, Suzanne Marie Morrison (née Langford), is a Canadian journalist and former press secretary to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. His father, John Bennett Perry (born 1941), is an American actor and former model. His parents divorced before his first birthday and his mother subsequently married broadcast journalist Keith Morrison working on Dateline (NBC). He was raised by his mother in Ottawa, Ontario, and was enrolled at Rockcliffe Park Public School and Ashbury College. While growing up, he took a keen interest in tennis and became a top-ranked junior player.
When he was 15, Perry moved from Ottawa to Los Angeles to pursue acting and attended The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, graduating in 1987. He pursued improv comedy at the LA Connection in Sherman Oaks while still in high school.
He went on to play Chazz Russell in the TV series Second Chance. After 13 episodes, Second Chance became Boys Will Be Boys, with the plots refocused on the adventures of Chazz and his teenage friends. After the show's single season, Perry stayed in Los Angeles and made his screen debut in the 1988 film A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon. He made a 1989 guest appearance on the series Growing Pains, in which he portrayed Carol Seaver's boyfriend who dies from injuries sustained in a drunk-driving accident.
In the midst of his many continuing guest roles on TV, Perry was cast as a regular on the 1990 CBS sitcom Sydney, playing the younger brother of Valerie Bertinelli's title character. In 1991, he made a guest appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210 as Roger Azarian. Perry landed his next TV starring role on the ABC sitcom Home Free, which aired only 11 episodes in the spring of 1993. By then, Perry was making his mark, and was instantly cast in a sitcom pilot titled LAX 2194.
Popular of Chandler Bing on Friends
The project was slow to take off, so as a back-up option, he attempted to secure an audition for the pilot Six of One, later to be known as Friends, by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, both of whom he had worked with on Dream On. However, due to previous commitments to the pilot LAX 2194, he was not initially considered for an audition. When he did eventually get a reading, he landed the part of Chandler Bing.
Friends was hugely successful, and Perry, along with his co-stars, gained wide renown among television viewers. The program earned him an Emmy nomination in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, along with Matt LeBlanc, but the two lost to Ray Romano. Perry appeared in films such as Fools Rush In (alongside father John Bennett Perry and Salma Hayek), Almost Heroes, Three to Tango, The Whole Nine Yards (alongside Bruce Willis) and its sequel The Whole Ten Yards, and Serving Sara.
While known primarily for his comic roles, Perry has carved out a career in drama as well, particularly in his portrayal of Associate White House Counsel Joe Quincy in Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing. His three appearances in that series (twice in the fourth season and once in the fifth) earned him two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2003 and 2004. Perry is referred to in the show prior to his guest appearance - Donna Moss seeks him out (off screen) in the episode "20 Hours in LA." He also appeared as attorney Todd Merrick in two episodes near the end of Ally McBeal's five-season run, including a 2-hour special intended to revive the legal comedy-drama.
Post-Friends and sucess
After Friends wrapped up, Perry made his directorial debut in an episode of the 4th season of the American comedy-drama Scrubs, in which he also guest starred as "Murray Marks", an operator of a small airport's traffic control team. Murray is asked to donate a kidney to his father Gregory (played by Perry's real father).
He starred in the TNT movie, The Ron Clark Story which premiered August 13, 2006. Perry played small town teacher Ron Clark who relocates to the toughest class in the country. Perry received a Golden Globe nomination as well as an Emmy nomination for his performance.
In 2006-2007, Perry appeared in Aaron Sorkin's drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Perry played Matt Albie alongside Bradley Whitford's Danny Tripp, a writer-director duo brought in to help save a failing sketch show. Perry's character was considered to be substantially based on Sorkin's own personal experiences, particularly in television.
In 2006, he began filming Numb, a film based on a man suffering from depersonalization disorder. The film's tentative release date was pushed back several times, but was finally released to DVD on May 13, 2008. He also appeared in David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago in London. In 2009, he starred in the film 17 Again playing the older Mike O'Donnell.
In 2008, Perry starred in the offbeat film Birds of America as Morrie Tanager, an uptight man who has to deal with his siblings. Showtime passed on a pilot called The End of Steve, a dark comedy starring, written and produced by Perry and Peter Tolan.
Perry's new comedy pilot, Mr. Sunshine, based on Perry's original idea, was bought by ABC. Perry was set to portray a middle-aged man with an identity crisis. ABC canceled the series after nine episodes.
On March 1, 2012, it was reported that Perry had signed on to star on the NBC comedy pilot Go On, written and produced by former Friends writer/producer Scott Silveri. The project was picked up to series in May 2012. Perry portrayed Ryan King, a sportscaster who tries to move on after the death of his wife through the help of mandatory therapy sessions. The pilot aired on August 8, 2012 as a "sneak preview" after the 2012 Summer Olympics. The series premiered on September 11, 2012. On October 2, 2012, NBC ordered a full season of 22 episodes. Go On was canceled by NBC in May 2013, shortly after the conclusion of its first season.
The Good Wife, The Odd Couple and The Good Fight
2012, Perry guest-starred on the critically acclaimed CBS drama The Good Wife, as attorney Mike Kresteva. In 2013, he reprised his role in the fourth season.
In 2014, Perry made his British TV debut in the one-off comedy program The Dog Thrower, which aired on May 1 as part of Sky Arts' Playhouse Presents. Perry portrayed "a charismatic man" who enchanted onlookers by throwing his dog in the air. From 2015 to 2017, Perry starred in, co-wrote, and served as executive producer of a reboot sitcom The Odd Couple on CBS. Perry played Oscar Madison opposite Thomas Lennon as Felix Unger.
Perry played the lead role in a new production of his play The End of Longing, which premiered on February 11, 2016, at the Playhouse Theatre in London. The play transferred Off-Broadway to MCC Theater, which opened on June 5, 2017, with Jennifer Morrison.
In March 2017 Perry again reprised his role as attorney Mike Kresteva, in The Good Fight, a sequel show to the CBS drama The Good Wife.