Michael Dean always looked up to his older brother William, so it was not surprising that one would follow the other on a path to success as football superstars. William “the Fridge” Perry rose to stardom as a rookie defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears during the 1985 Super Bowl. In his decade-long professional career, he played in 138 games, recorded 29.5 sacks and recovered five fumbles that he returned for 71 yards. Michael Dean, also a defensive lineman, was a gridiron star in his own right. During his 10-year career, he played for the Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos, and the Kansas City Chiefs, and was selected for the Pro Bowl six times.
The Perry brothers grew up in Aiken and played college football at Clemson University. They both will be remembered as much for their athleticism on the field as well as their affability off the field. Michael Dean for his telegenic qualities, after all, he appeared in several McDonald’s commercials and even had a McDonald’s sandwich named in his honor, the MDP. Dean now owns and operates a Subway sandwich store in Charlotte, N.C.
After retiring in 1994, The Fridge has been involved in a number of entertainment and sports ventures, including rap videos and PSA’s, guest appearances on television situation comedies, and has been immortalized as a G.I. Joe action figure. In each, he played on his trademark hefty frame and warm, gap-toothed smile. He also founded his own construction company in South Carolina and was named director of football operations for the Continental Indoor Football League’s Chicago Slaughter.
Today, Michael Dean plays a different role in his brother’s life. Joining his other family, friends, former coaches and fans in William’s quest to tackle a different kind of foe – Guillain-Barre’s syndrome.
William and Michael are the sons of the Hollie Perry Sr. of Aiken and the late Mrs. Inez S. Perry.