Matthew Perry

Perry in 2010, image via Featureflash /

Birth Name: Matthew Langford Perry

Date of Birth: August 19, 1969

Place of Birth: Williamstown, Massachusetts, U.S.

Date of Death: October 28, 2023

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: French-Canadian (maternal grandmother), English, Irish, German, Swiss-German

Matthew Perry was an American and Canadian actor, writer, comedian, and producer. He is known for starring as Chandler Bing on Friends, and for his roles in the films A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, She’s Out of Control, Getting In, Fools Rush In, Almost Heroes, Three to Tango, The Whole Nine Yards, and its sequel, The Whole Ten Yards; Serving Sara, Numb, Birds of America, and 17 Again; on the shows Ally McBeal, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; Mr. Sunshine, which he also co-created and wrote for; The Good Wife, Go On, The Odd Couple (2015), and The Good Fight; in the made-for-tv movie The Ron Clark Story and the mini-series The Kennedys: After Camelot; and in the video game Fallout: New Vegas. He was also credited as Matthew L. Perry in early roles.

His father, actor and model John Bennett Perry, was born in Williamstown, and has English, Irish, German, and Swiss-German ancestry. His mother, Suzanne Marie (Langford), a journalist, who is Canadian, has English, Irish, and French-Canadian roots. She was a press secretary to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. His mother remarried to Keith Morrison, who was an investigative reporter for NBC Dateline. Matthew was raised mostly with his mother in Canada, particularly in Ottawa, Ontario, as well as Toronto and Montréal. He moved to Los Angeles, California, when he was fifteen, to pursue acting and for school. He was a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S.

Matthew was an advocate for rehabilitation, and a spokesperson for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. He received the Champion of Recovery Award from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Matthew’s patrilineal line can be traced to John Perry, who was born, c. 1588, in Hampshire, England.

Matthew’s paternal grandfather was Alton L. Perry, also known as Lawrence Alton/”Anton” Ulric Perry (the son of Carl Schurz/Schurze Perry and Mary Ann Gillick). Alton was born in Whitingham, Windham County, Vermont. Carl was born in Readsboro, Vermont, and had English ancestry, the son of Dr. Crosby Alpheus Perry and Ida B. Cutler. Mary Ann was born in Massachusetts, to Irish parents, Patrick Gillick and Mary A. Heaver/Heavers/Hearns/Haver.

Matthew’s paternal grandmother Maria Schaefer Bennett (the daughter of Ralph Stone Bennett and Lydia Hannah Schaefer). Matthew’s grandmother Maria was born in New York. Ralph was born in Homer, New York, and had English ancestry, the son of Augustus Henry Bennett and Emma Gertrude Pratt. Lydia was born in New York, to a German father, Johannes Schaefer, and a mother, Emilie Schlachter/Schluchter, who was born in Lugano, Distretto di Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland, of Swiss-German descent.

Matthew’s maternal grandfather was James Silas Warren Langford (the son of James Roy Warren Langford and Mary Ann Batterton). Matthew’s grandfather James was born in Ontario, Canada. Matthew’s great-grandfather James was born in Ironside, Hull, Québec, and had English and Irish ancestry, the son of Silas Samuel Langford and Emma Mary Rogan. Matthew’s great-grandmother Mary Ann was born in Ottawa, of Irish descent, the daughter of Thomas Batterton, who was born in County Wexford, Ireland, and of Mary Jane Barrett.

Matthew’s maternal grandmother was Marie Gabrielle Lucille Coupal (the daughter of Dr. Joseph Almere Theodore Coupal and Marie Elise B./Bérangère Lagueux/Layeux). Marie was born in Québec, and was of French-Canadian ancestry. Joseph was the son of Amable Coupal and Marie Zoe Hebert. Bérangère was the daughter of Hormidas/Hormisdas Layeux and Eliza/Elisa/Elise Dallaire.

Sources: Genealogy of Matthew Perry –

Genealogy of Matthew Perry (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy of Matthew’s father (through his own brother) –

Matthew’s paternal grandmother, Maria Schaefer Bennett, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Genealogies of Matthew’s maternal grandparents, James Silas Warren Langford and Marie Gabrielle Lucille (Coupal) Langford –


Curious about ethnicity

23 Responses

  1. cdonorab says:

    He also has a small amount of Native American ancestry. His great-grandfather Joseph Coupal was a descendent of Martin Prevost and Marie Anne Olivier Sylvestre whose father was a translator for Samuel De Champlain. Their marriage was first recorded between a European and a north american native.

  2. Nick says:

    Sorry to disappoint everyone, but Perry is not of English decent in the least. Perry comes from the Acadian root name “Poirier”. I live in PEI, Canada, in a small Acadian community, and we have many Perry’s and Poirier’s – all coming from the same family if you can go back far enough.

    Many Acadians, after our Deportation in 1755 and 1758, fled to the United States (or were deported there) … and a great deal went to (drum roll) Massachussetts.

    I haven’t been able to go as far back as I could with our beloved Friends’ star background, but I am determined to find it soon.

    Therefore, Matthew Perry, purely on his forefather’s side, is 100% Acadian (which people often misinterpret as loosely saying “French-Canadian”, which isn’t accurate)

  3. brighty says:

    his father’s family tree is approximately 75% english, going right back to early colonial times, and 25% german/swiss. His mother also has some english ancestors as well as irish. His maternal grandmother’s first name suggests a french connection too, but that’s just guesswork.

  4. asdfghjkl says:

    ohhh!!!! I love Matthew Perry! I seriosly loved him on the show “Friends”and I thought he was scottish…

  5. Dave says:

    Perry again another English surname

    • Liam O'Connel says:

      Alot of Irish people have English surnames

      • Alice says:

        A lot of Irish people have English surnames. Ireland was controlled by England for 800 years. It was part of the UK until 1922. There has been a lot of coming and going between the islands of Ireland and Britain. Also alot of Irish had to anglicise their names from Gaelic. An example is where a lot of McGowans became Smiths. Mac an Gabhain literally means “son of the smith”.

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