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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Matthew Perry: the embodiment of elite humor and selflessness 

Matthew Perry
Perry walking onto the Jennifer Hudson show to talk about his book, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.”

For millions of Americans, the news that actor Matthew Perry, best known for his portrayal of Chandler Bing on “Friends,” passed away on Oct. 28 at age 54 hit particularly hard and in unexpected ways. 

I grew up watching Perry embody the personality of every character he played with his witty one-liners and sharp sarcasm that never failed to make me laugh when I was having a bad day. Most of his roles followed these same personality traits as Perry integrated his sense of humor into the characters he portrayed, which made my viewing experience even more enjoyable. However, the impact he made on actors and viewers alike stretches much further than his acting roles. Perry was my inspiration growing up because of how he persevered through his struggles under a constant spotlight. 

Perry voiced his struggles with addiction in several interviews, as well as in his memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.” Through his memoir, he revealed what it was like to be under the spotlight and admitted his addiction to drugs, which started after he was prescribed pain medications after a jet ski accident. He revealed that at one point, he took up to 55 pills a day and became bone thin, weighing just 128 pounds. 

His openness about his personal challenges before, during and after fame is the biggest reason he’s been my favorite actor since I was in middle school. Not only had he won his battle with addiction, but he used his experiences to help friends, co-stars and other people do the same. His vulnerability to millions of viewers helped break the taboo of talking about drug and alcohol abuse during the late ‘90s, inspiring many people to reveal their experiences with addiction as well. His ongoing courage in the face of adversity allowed me to be more open about my emotions instead of bottling them up as many teenagers tend to do. 

Hank Azaria, who played David on “Friends,” shared how Perry was the first friend he made in Los Angeles whom he shared many laughs with, helping Azaria get sober. Putting his money where his beliefs are, Perry even turned his Malibu beach house into a sober living home for other men trying to beat drug addiction. 

In his book, he emphasizes that he would love to be remembered more for the impact he had on those who struggled with addiction than for his comedic timing while playing Chandler. 

In his Instagram captions, he constantly referred to himself as “Mattman,” a play on words referencing the beloved superhero Batman — and a fitting nickname for a man who has helped many. The vulnerability he showcased in his book is  Hollywood celebrities who often keep up the image of a “perfect life,” the life I was always envious of. However, Perry demonstrated the opposite notion, emphasizing how celebrities are just as human as anyone else. 

Perry’s portrayal of a multitude of witty characters throughout his acting career leaves behind an immense legacy that will continue to inspire people for generations to come. But even more so, the way Perry impacted those around him, including fans whom he didn’t even know, is a special quality of his that will never be forgotten. 

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