While Matthew Perry's most notable role was Chandler Bing in the hit sitcom Friends, he appeared in several other television shows and films throughout his carer
He built his career on versatility, proving he could be everything from a leading man to a supporting character and even a scene-stealing guest star. He also shared the screen with several other talented actors, including his Friends costars — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer — Salma Hayek, Bruce Willis and Zac Efron, to name a few.
Following Perry's unexpected death on Oct. 28, 2023, his friends and former castmates honored the late actor by sharing their memories of working with him and their time spent off-camera. "We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew," the Friends cast said in a statement. "We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss."
From his first leading role in the late '80s to his more serious characters, here's how to watch some of Matthew Perry's movies and TV shows.
Second Chance / Boys Will Be Boys (1987-1988)
Perry’s first major role was a bit of an odd one. In 1987, he starred in a show called Second Chance. He played the character Chazz, the younger self of Charles, played by Keil Martin. In the future, Charles dies and is sent back to 1987 to help his teenage self navigate a better life.
After airing half a season, the show went on a winter hiatus, returning early in 1988 under the new title Boys Will Be Boys. In the new format, the show eliminated the time-traveling ghost element and focused solely on Chazz as he lived out his teen years and matured.
Unfortunately, the FOX comedy is currently not available to stream, rent or buy.
Friends, which aired from 1994 to 2004, followed the daily lives of a group of friends living in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The show became so popular as viewers lived vicariously through Monica (Cox), Ross (Schwimmer), Rachel (Aniston), Phoebe (Kudrow), Joey (Le Blanc) and Chandler (Perry).
Perry's witty yet sarcastic character Chandler always brought jokes to every scene. Chandler also hit several milestones throughout the show’s run, from quitting his high-paying job to work at an ad agency to marrying Monica and even adopting twins. Friends ran for an entire decade, airing 10 seasons and receiving a hefty 62 Emmy nominations.
Fools Rush In (1997)
Perry starred alongside Salma Hayek in the 1997 rom-com Fools Rush In. In the movie, Perry plays Alex, a businessman working on a project in Las Vegas. There, he meets Isabel (Hayek), and the two quickly hit it off, leading to a passionate one-night stand. Months later, Alex gets a call that Isabel is pregnant and he’s the father. The two decide to throw caution to the wind and get married on a whim, leading to a whirlwind of emotions. Perry's real-life father, John Bennett Perry, also played his character's dad in the film.
Upon his death, Hayek shared a touching message on Instagram about Perry and the special time they shared while filming the movie. The actress wrote, “Throughout the years, he and I found ourselves reminiscing about that meaningful time in our lives with a deep sense of nostalgia and gratitude.”
Hayek continued, “My friend, you are gone much too soon, but I will continue to cherish your silliness, your perseverance, and your lovely heart.”
The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
Earning over $106 million at the box office, The Whole Nine Yards was Perry’s highest-grossing starring role. In the movie, he plays Oz, a dull, mild-mannered dentist. But his life is turned upside down when a notorious hitman (Bruce Willis) moves in next door. Oz decides to reveal the killer’s identity and collect the reward, but doing so brings on a tidal wave of consequences — both good and bad. Perry also starred in the film's 2004 sequel, The Whole Ten Yards.
Serving Sara (2002)
In 2002’s Serving Sara, Perry stars as Joe Tyler, a process server tasked with serving divorce papers to party-hard European socialite Sara Moore (Elizabeth Hurley). But once Joe meets Sara, a plan is hatched to serve a counter-divorce to Sara’s husband instead. Like all good rom-coms, antics ensue, wild times are had, and Joe and Sara realize they might be falling for each other.
The West Wing (2003-2004)
Perry had a guest role during seasons 4 and 5 of the political drama The West Wing. He played Republican attorney Joe Quincy, and his performance earned him two Emmy nominations for outstanding guest actor in a drama series in 2003 and 2004.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2007)
Perry returned to television in 2007 for the series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The show centered around two showrunners — Matt Albie (Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) — who produce a sketch comedy series for a fictional network. Primarily written by Aaron Sorkin, the series only ran for one season.
Perry’s costar Whitford shared a message on Instagram after the star’s death, writing, “Matt was full of contradictions. He was hilariously self deprecating and insecure and wildly self confident. He was a fountain of light with a huge capacity for darkness. He was profoundly blessed and terribly cursed.”
He continued, "I want his parents to know that Matt was kind. Not just to his costar. To everyone."
17 Again (2009)
In 17 Again, Perry plays Mike O’Donnell, a down-on-his-luck middle-aged father with a dead-end job, two kids who hate him and a wife who has just filed for divorce. But magic strikes O’Donnell during a moment of desperation, turning him back into his 17-year-old self (played by Zac Efron). He’s given the chance to redo his entire life, but it turns out that maybe he just needs to appreciate what he has.
Mr. Sunshine (2011)
Perry created and starred in the short-lived sitcom Mr. Sunshine. The series followed Ben Donovan (Perry), the manager of a second-tier sports stadium in San Diego. Throughout the series, Ben has to navigate booking the stadium with events and dealing with his cantankerous boss (played by Allison Janney).
The Good Wife (2012) & The Good Fight (2017)
Perry held a recurring role on The Good Wife and its sister series, The Good Fight. In both shows, Perry played Mike Kresteva, the cunning, conniving and lying politician and lawyer who would do anything to succeed. He became a character that fans of both shows loved to hate because of how downright ruthless he could be.
“He wanted to play a villain, because he wanted to stretch himself as an actor. He took his work, but not himself, very seriously," the show's creators, Michelle and Robert King told PEOPLE in a statement. "But off the set, he was anything but villainous. Kind, menschy, honest about his issues.”
The Odd Couple (2015-2017)
Based on the famous 1965 play of the same name, The Odd Couple was a retelling of the classic story about two grown men (played by Perry and Thomas Lennon) who, due to life’s circumstances, find themselves as roommates. The two butt heads, though, ultimately realize that, deep down, they’re good roommates and even better friends. The series landed Perry two People’s Choice Awards nominations.
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