Matthew Perry, renowned for his iconic portrayal of Chandler Bing on “Friends,” had a diverse acting career spanning nearly four decades, from 1979 until his final role in 2017. His passing in October 2023 marked the end of an era, leaving behind a remarkable body of work.
After his debut in the police drama “240-Robert,” Perry’s breakout came with the Fox sitcom “Second Chance” (later retitled “Boys Will Be Boys”). He then made appearances on major TV shows like “Growing Pains,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” and “Who’s The Boss?” during the late ’80s and early ’90s.
“Friends” propelled Perry to international fame as Chandler Bing. While it earned him his first Emmy nomination, it was just a stepping stone in his career. Perry received further recognition with Emmy nominations for his guest appearances in Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing” and his lead role in Sorkin’s series “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”
Perry also made an impact in films like “The Whole Nine Yards” (2000) and “17 Again” (2009). In 2016, he wrote and starred in “The End of Longing,” which premiered in London’s West End. However, television remained his primary focus.
His final role was a significant one, portraying Senator Ted Kennedy in the 2017 Reelz miniseries “The Kennedys: After Camelot.” The series delves into Kennedy’s attempts to uphold his family’s legacy and examines pivotal events, including the Chappaquiddick incident and his later years as the “Lion of the Senate.”
Playing such a prominent figure in American politics was a challenge Perry welcomed, admitting that it scared him due to the emotional depth and tragic elements. His portrayal, including Ted Kennedy’s distinctive accent, showcased Perry’s dedication to the role. While this series may not be as immediately associated with Perry as “Friends,” it stands as a testament to his versatility and marked a compelling endpoint to his celebrated television career.