About Matthew Langford Perry
Matthew Langford Perry is an American-Canadian actor best known for his role as Chandler Bing on the NBC sitcom Friends, for which he earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination in 2002. Perry has also appeared in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, as well as having roles in the films The Whole Nine Yards and its sequel The Whole Ten Yards, and 2009's 17 Again. Perry was also nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for his role in The Ron Clark Story.
Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. His mother, Suzanne Jane Louise Morrison (née Langford), is a Canadian journalist and former press secretary to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and his father, John Bennett Perry, is an American actor and former model. His parents divorced before his first birthday and his mother subsequently married Keith Morrison, a broadcast journalist. Perry 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.
Perry moved from Ottawa to Los Angeles to pursue acting. For high school, he attended The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks. While at Buckley, Perry was featured as George Gibbs in Our Town and appeared as a junior in a production of The Miracle Worker. Patty Duke attended and praised the young Perry's convincing role as Helen's brother Jimmy. He was also featured in The Sound of Music as a junior. In his senior year, director Tim Hillman had planned a production of "The Elephant Man" specifically to feature Perry as John Merrick along with Vanessa Smith, and future Les Misérables star Lisa Capps. He then got his professional break at age 18. On being cast in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon with River Phoenix, Perry withdrew from Elephant Man and ended his high school acting career. Perry also pursued improv comedy at the LA Connection in Sherman Oaks while still in high school, quickly becoming a featured performer.
After some guest appearances in late 1980s television, it was his intention to enroll at the University of Southern California, but when he was offered the lead role of Chazz Russell in Second Chance he became noticed on the acting scene. Perry originally starred alongside Kiel Martin when the series premiered in 1987, but after 13 episodes the format changed: Second Chance became Boys Will Be Boys, Perry was elevated to top-billing status, and the plots re-focused on the adventures of Chazz and his teenage friends. Despite the shift, the show ran for only one season. When it concluded, Perry stayed in Los Angeles and made guest appearance on the television program Growing Pains in which he portrayed Carol's boyfriend who dies from injuries in the hospital sustained in a drunk driving accident.
In 1991, Perry made a guest appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210 as Roger Azarian. In the midst of his many continuing guest roles on TV, Perry was a regular on the 1990 CBS sitcom Sydney, playing the younger brother of Valerie Bertinelli's title character. Three years later, he landed his second TV starring role on the ABC sitcom Home Free, which only lasted 13 episodes in the spring of 1993. In 1993, he also played the role of football manager in the classic "Rudy," wearing Buddy Holly glasses. By then, Perry was making his mark, and was instantly cast in a new dramatic pilot titled LAX 2194. The project was slow to take off, so as a backup 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 he is best known for, the role of Chandler Bing.
The program was hugely successful and Perry, along with his co-stars, gained wide renown among television viewers. The program also earned him Emmy nominations in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series along with Matt LeBlanc, but he lost to Ray Romano. As well as his successful career on Friends, Perry has 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 5-season run, including a 2-hour special intended to revive the legal comedy-drama.
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 13 August 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 hour-long 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.
Showtime has passed on a pilot called The End of Steve, a dark comedy starring, written and produced by Perry and Peter Tolan.
Matthew Perry's hotly sought-after new comedy pilot ended up in the hands of ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The deal for the untitled comedy is said to include penalties if the pilot doesn't make it to series, almost guaranteeing that the project will get a green light, THR reports. It is based on an original idea by Perry, and will be written by Perry as well as Alex Barnow and Marc Firek, who have both signed as executive producers. Thomas Schlamme is in talks to direct. The new pilot is called Mr. Sunshine. In January 2010, it was announced that ABC has greenlit Mr. Sunshine. It was also revealed that the project is a single-camera sitcom starring Perry as a man who has a minor identity crisis on his 40th birthday. The venture comes from Sony TV and Jamie Tarses' Fanfare Productions.
Awards and nominations