Name: Matthew Perry
Friend: Chandler Bing
How We Were First Introduced: Having grown up in Ottawa, Canada, where his mom was press secretary for former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Perry was one of the top amateur tennis players in the Great White North. The acting bug led him to L.A. Big roles soon followed, including the 1988 feature “A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon,” in which he co-starred alongside River Phoenix. Starring roles in two shortlived series – Fox’s “Second Chance” and ABC’s “Home Free” – came and went, too.
How He Got Hooked Into “Friends”: Prior to creating “Friends,” Marta Kauffman and David Crane produced a cult hit for HBO, the ensemble comedy “Dream On,” on which Perry guest-starred at one point. Crane and Kauffman liked him, and wanted him to audition for a new show called “Six of One” they were putting together for NBC (of course, that would eventually be renamed “Friends”). One problem: Perry was committed to another pilot, a futuristic sci-fi comedy focused on airport baggage handlers called “L.A.X. 2194.” Strangely enough, that never made it to series, and Perry was freed to nail the role of Chandler.
Memorable Chandlerisms: Chandler was given a lot of “Friends’” best lines over 10 seasons, and this one – from season one’s “The One With the Thumb” – was one of his best: “You’re such a nice guy means, ‘I’m going to be dating leather-wearing alcoholics and complaining about them to you.’”
Let’s Be Friends: From day one on the pilot, everyone got along like, well, friends. “That day was really strange,” Perry said. “I was kind of like, ‘Hi, I don’t know who you are, but hopefully we’ll be working together for the next 12,000 years.’ “
Personal Life: Still a single man, Perry – who does as much work behind the camera as he does in front of it these days – seems way beyond the addiction and weight problems that troubled him during the mid-portion of “Friends’” decade-long run.
Quote: “There are two ways to go when you hit that crossroads in your life: There is the bad way, when you sort of give up, and then there is the really hard way, when you fight back. I went the hard way and came out of it okay. Now, I’m sitting here and doing great.”
What They’re Doing Now: Perry recently exec produced and starred in a dark comedy pilot for Showtime called “The End of Steve,” but the budget-conscious pay cable network has passed on that and a number of other big-name projects of late. He was last seen playing the adult version of Zac Efron in “17 Again,” which grossed over $127 million at the global box office for Warner Bros. last spring.