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The Vanguard

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The Vanguard

Matthew Perry: A Life (and ‘The Big Terrible Thing’)

Valerie Jarrett / @vj44 via X (Twitter), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Valerie Jarrett / @vj44 via X (Twitter), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Former tennis star, actor, New York Times best-selling author,  and overall a wonderful and humorous person, Matthew Perry passed away on October 28, 2023 at the age of 54. 

 

Matthew Perry first began acting when he was a teenager, starting with high school plays and musicals, he planned on going to college at USC but when given the opportunity to play a lead role in a movie his plans took a turn. Since then, he’s starred in many movies such as ‘Almost Heroes’ (1998), ‘Birds of America’ (2008), and many more. 

 

Perry was a beloved actor who achieved great things, and his versatility made him into an idol that many looked up to. He was nominated for the 2007 golden globe awards for his performance in ‘The Ron Clark Story’ and was nominated for many other awards throughout his acting career. Perry got the most recognition from his part in the sitcom ‘Friends’ as Chandler Bing. 

 

Matthew Perry felt that he was very connected to his role as Chandler and even wrote that “it was as if someone had followed me around for a year, stealing my jokes, copying my mannerisms, photocopying my world-weary yet witty view of life.” 

 

Playing the part of ‘Chandler Bing’ was a turning point in this career and opened a whole new world of opportunities. However, outside of the show, Matthew Perry was battling a crippling addiction. At a certain point it was so bad that he couldn’t remember 3 years of filming the show. 

 

“From an outsider’s perspective, it would seem like I had it all,” Perry said- as stated in the ‘Biography’. “It was actually a very lonely time for me, because I was suffering from alcoholism.”

 

Perry went to around 16,000 AA meetings and spent millions of dollars in substance abuse treatments, spent months in rehab and more. After having been through so much all he wanted to do was help others who were in the same position as him, struggling with ‘the disease’. 

 

In fact, Perry received the 2015 rising phoenix award from the Phoenix House for his efforts in helping people with recovery. Some say that reading Perry’s book, Friends, Lovers and the big terrible thing: A memoir, helped them relate and were motivated while reading about Perry’s perseverance while they were recovering from their own personal situations. After writing his book, Perry became one of the New York Times best sellers and touched the hearts of many people. 

 

Matthew Perry also wrote a play called “The End of Longing”, including aspects of his harrowing experience with addiction. 

 

“It’s personal, but it’s an exaggerated form of me,” he said to Variety. “It flew out of me, this play. I finished it in about 10 days. I guess I had something to say.” 

 

Matthew Perry was an incredible person, loved by his friends and fans who will miss him dearly.  

 

I would like to be remembered as somebody who lived well, loved well, was a seeker,” Perry said on the podcast, ‘Q with Tom Power’. “And his paramount thing is that he wants to help people.”

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About the Contributor
Poorvi Deshpande, Staff Reporter
Poorvi, a sophomore, likes to read fantasy books in her free time and a favorite of hers is Harry Potter. She has always enjoyed writing and she joined the Vanguard Newspaper so she could learn to improve her writing skills and grow as a journalist. Poorvi prefers to write news articles over editorials because she likes to hear other people’s points of view and their experiences. In the future, she would like to do something combining her interests in psychology and journalism, perhaps writing research papers on mental illnesses or new psychology studies.  Contact Info - [email protected]

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