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Remembering Matthew Perry’s best moments outside of Friends

Matthew Perry is linked forever to his genius as Chandler in Friends. But you can also pay tribute by revisiting more of his best roles.

Best Matthew Perry moments outside Friends

When we celebrate the legacy of Matthew Perry, who tragically passed away this week at the age of 54, Friends will of course loom large. But the star also spread his wings beyond the doors of Central Perk during his 40-year career in showbiz.

From his child actor roots to his Hollywood heyday, Matthew Perry made his mark on plenty of memorable new movies. He even had a stint on another of the best TV series ever made, after Friends made him an icon with its status as one of the best ’90s TV shows.

So let’s delve into his career away from those New York City apartments for some Perry projects – on film, on stage, and beyond – that are well worth remembering and revisiting (where possible) in tribute to the star in the wake of his tragic death on Saturday, October 28.

Matthew Perry’s best moments outside of Friends - Go On

8. Go On (2012 – 2013)

Matthew Perry had a few different attempts at becoming a sitcom lead again during the later part of his career, and one of the best comedy series from this era was Go On. Created by Scott Silveri, it followed Perry as a host on sports radio, trying to live with grief after the death of his wife.

The series got favorable comparisons to Community, which was also a comedy hit on NBC at that time. Go On certainly borrowed the absurd vibe of Dan Harmon’s show and allowed Perry to flex many of the same, well-honed sarcasm muscles that made Chandler Bing such an icon of the small screen.

Matthew Perry’s best moments outside of Friends - The Whole Nine Yards

7. The Whole Nine Yards (2000)

Perry joined forces with Bruce Willis for this crime-comedy, in which he played a Canadian dentist alongside Willis as a highly-trained hitman. The plot has some surprisingly dark edges but, for the most part, it allows the two guys to have plenty of sitcom-like fun together.

It didn’t do very well at all with critics, though the great Roger Ebert was a fan. But, as with so many of the best 2000s movies, it can’t help but strike a chord for those who remember its original release or grabbed a VHS copy back when rental stores were a thing. Those were the days!

Matthew Perry’s best moments outside of Friends - Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

6. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006 – 2007)

Aaron Sorkin. Self-referential comedy show about a comedy show. Why on earth did this only get one season? In fact, it has the unwanted honor of being the only TV series created by Sorkin to be canceled after just a single season. We loved it, critics liked it too, and yet it never got over the line with the network.

In the series, Perry and Bradley Whitford played the executive producers of the titular sketch show, which was similar to Saturday Night Live. The formula worked. Unfortunately, Studio 60 was an expensive show to produce and NBC had also debuted a very similar series at the same time. That show was 30 Rock. The rest is history.

Matthew Perry’s best moments outside of Friends - The End of Longing

5. The End of Longing (2016 – 2017)

Perry always spoke openly about his struggles with addiction and, in 2016, he put some of those struggles into a play. He wrote the script and took on the role of Jack – one of four characters searching for the meaning of life. Perry revealed at the time that, although the story wasn’t an autobiography, he had drawn from his own life.

The End of Longing was first performed at the Playhouse Theatre in London and then transferred to the US where it played off-Broadway. Not every review was positive, but those that were praised the rawness and realism of Perry’s writing. He was certainly drawing from feelings he knew only too well.

Matthew Perry’s best moments outside of Friends - The Ron Clark Story

4. The Ron Clark Story (2006)

The story of this one seems like very basic stuff. Perry plays Ron Clark, who takes his innovative teaching methods from North Carolina to an inner city school in New York. Will he be able to crack these tough kids with his charm and teaching flair? It’s based on the true story of a bestselling author and motivational speaker from the world of education, so you tell us.

In the hands of Perry, Clark is a great character and it’s no surprise that his performance earned more awards attention than anything else he did in his career. Perry was nominated for an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a SAG Award. It was a real calling card for him outside the world of straight comedy.

Matthew Perry’s best moments outside of Friends - Fallout New Vegas

3. Fallout: New Vegas (2010)

Perry made his nerd credentials very clear in 2009 when he told Ellen DeGeneres that he played Fallout 3 so much that he injured his hand and had to go to a doctor. This piqued the interest of the developers, who cast Perry as the voice of Benny in Fallout: New Vegas, which takes place four years after the events of the game that led Perry to injure himself through obsession.

Benny, who is a mob boss and casino owner, appears in the very first scene of the game and shoots the protagonist in the head. It’s a heck of a mission statement and it’s no wonder that Benny has stuck in the minds of gamers. Outside of Friends, it’s the Perry role we’ve seen discussed most in social media tributes.

And if you love New Vegas, check out the guide our friends at PCGamesN wrote looking at the best Fallout New Vegas mods.

Matthew Perry’s best moments outside of Friends - The West Wing

2. The West Wing (2003)

Studio 60 might not have been the most fruitful Aaron Sorkin project ever, but Perry had already teamed with the acclaimed writer by then. He appeared in three episodes of the masterful political drama The West Wing, playing associate White House counsel Joe Quincy.

Perry earned an Emmy nomination for “outstanding guest actor” and it’s a shame that his commitment to Friends prevented him spending even longer as part of one of the best drama series ever made. After years of Chandler, it would have been terrific to see him spend more time flexing those dramatic muscles.

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1. His activist work

Perry’s lasting legacy, though, comes from his work away from the red carpets of Hollywood. He spoke openly about addiction to drugs and alcohol, spending several stints in rehab. As well as taking positive steps for himself, he lobbied Congress to fund drug courts and he opened a rehab center in his own California mansion.

In a speech widely shared on social media this week, Perry said: “When I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if Friends were listed far behind the things I did to try to help other people. I know it won’t happen, but it would be nice.”

Now seems like the right time to celebrate everything Perry did to help others, as well as giving the best Friends episodes another spin to say farewell to a TV legend.

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If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website hereIn the UK confidential help and support can be found by calling Frank on 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.