The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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Chandler Bing, or Matthew Perry?

Aaliyah A (Year 12)

On the 28th of October 2023, the authorities arrived around 4 pm to discover beloved actor, Matthew Perry, dead in the hot tub of his Los Angeles home. The whole world came to a halt the moment the news was released. People including myself went online to confirm whether this news was true and posted about it on social media everywhere. Plastered all over the news and media posts were “Friends’ star Matthew Perry dead at 54 after an Apparent Drowning” or “Matthew Perry, famously known for his role as Chandler Bing in the series ‘Friends’ passes away at the age of 54”.


Countless headlines and posts with endless captions were released everywhere mentioning how everyone’s heart was broken and how Perry will always be remembered. Many were overwhelmed with sadness, but all these articles and posts raised a question. How would Matthew Perry be remembered? All the posts were referring to him as the actor in Friends or as Chandler Bing (his TV character’s name). It was as if everyone was forgetting who he truly was.


Yes, he was the amazing Chandler Bing whose sarcastic comments and witty comebacks filled many with laughter and joy. However, he was also Matthew Perry, a man who struggled with substance abuse but rose above it. Perry even transformed his Malibu mansion into what was known as “Perry House” which was a sober living house for men in recovery. So, the question still stands should we all remember him as Matthew Perry or Chandler Bing?


Matthew Perry himself said in an interview on the Q with Tom Power podcast “When I die, I don’t want ‘Friends’ to be the first thing that’s mentioned,” Perry continued, “I want [helping people] to be the first thing that’s mentioned, and I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving that.”


It seems to be a cycle with celebrities who pass away and people referring to them as the character they once played rather than the person they actually were. Matthew Perry was on the TV show ‘Friends’ for 10 whole seasons and throughout those seasons he was struggling with substance abuse where he was met with several severe health problems. The only season he was ever fully sober was in season 9. Matthew Perry revealed how he viewed his addiction and why he could not watch the show ‘Friends’ “It’s not fair that I had to go through this disease while the other five didn’t. They got everything I got, but I still had to fight this thing.”


Before Matthew Perry’s passing, he wrote the book “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir”. In this autobiography, Matthew dives into his time on the show ‘Friends’ as the character ‘Chandler Bing’ as well as his private struggles with addiction. In the book, he says the line “I was Chandler” which was written to describe how he used humour to compensate for his day-to-day struggles and to mask his self-destruction. However, he also speaks about how his cast members from the show ‘Friends’ recognised his struggles and helped him get through it. Throughout this book, he talks about how he loved the journey of the show and where it got him but at the end of the day, he realised that his quest for fame would not resolve his inner conflict.


He didn’t have to be the funny, perfect, and lovable Chandler Bing that the show and media made him out to be. He was just Matthew Perry, the imperfect, selfless, strong and helpful man who became one of the most well-known TV actors in the world.


His name was and will forever be Matthew Perry, not Chandler Bing.

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