8 Things About ... Matthew Perry
TWIST OF FATE
In 1993, Perry and a friend pitched NBC a sitcom about a close-knit group of twentysomethings called Maxwell's House. The network met with Perry ("Suddenly I was wearing a suit and going to meetings. It was fun.") but already had Friends in the works. Perry went for the Chandler role, and the rest is history.
At 16, Perry won a role in 1988's A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon when a San Fernando Valley waitress gave him a note written by a director who had eaten nearby. "He thought I'd be perfect for his next movie," Perry says. "I thought, Yeah, it'll be shot in the back of his van and called On Golden Blonde."
EARNING HIS WINGS
Before becoming Chandler on Friends in 1994, Perry made his way on Who's the Boss and Beverly Hills, 90210. He was also part of a cautionary tale on three episodes of Growing Pains, playing Tracey Gold's college boyfriend who dies after a drunken-driving accident (left).
Before dating fashion student Rachel Dunn (right), 29, with whom he recently celebrated a one-year anniversary, Perry was linked with several high-profile actresses, including Julia Roberts (left, as a guest on Friends in 1996), Heather Graham and Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham.
ALL FOR ONE ...
In 2000, Perry was up for a lead acting Emmy nomination after his publicist submitted his name, but he took himself out of the running because the famously cohesive Friends cast had agreed to be considered only as an ensemble. In 2002, the sextet changed their minds, and Perry won a nod. He lost to Ray Romano, but the show was awarded as outstanding comedy.
Like Father, Like Son
Perry no doubt got the acting bug from his dad, John Bennett Perry (pictured in October). The elder Perry is a veteran of TV's Falcon Crest, and more recently appeared in 2002's The Sweetest Thing – but he is probably best known for his 1970s Old Spice commercials. The two played father and son in 1997's Fools Rush In.
Perry's automobile of choice? Not one, but two BMWs – "a convertible for when it doesn't bother me that everyone's looking" and a more modest X5 "for when I want to hide," says Perry, in his flip-top in 2001.
TRIAL ON THE COURT
Perry (pictured in his junior year at L.A.'s Buckley School) began hitting at 4, and was the No. 2 junior tennis player in his hometown of Ottawa by 13. But losing his first U.S. match two years later (after he moved to L.A. to live with his father) killed his hopes for stardom on the court. "After that there was no question of a tennis career," he says. "I wasn't good enough."