Matthew Perry's Stepdad Speaks

Keith Morrison says Perry 'was happy,' but he 'didn't get to have his third act, and that's not fair'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2024 11:00 AM CDT
Matthew Perry's Stepdad Speaks: 'He Was Happy'
In this Aug. 23, 2018, photo, host Keith Morrison appears following an interview in New York to promote his NBC series, "Dateline."   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Keith Morrison is a longtime NBC News correspondent. He's also the longtime stepdad of Matthew Perry, and he sat down with Hoda Kotb on her podcast to discuss the actor's death last October. Morrison married Perry's mother, Suzanne Perry Morrison, in 1981, and tells Kotb that "I never tried to replace his dad ... but I was there for him, and he knew it." Highlights from the interview, per People and NBC News:

  • Perry's last days: "He was happy, and he said so. And he hadn't said that for a long time. So it's a source of comfort, but also he didn't get to have his third act, and that's not fair."
  • His mom: The two were "texting each other constantly" in his last days, and Perry shared "things with her that most middle-aged men don't share with their mothers."
  • His addiction: "He felt like he was beating it. But you never beat it, and he knew that, too." Further: "That's a whirlwind of a life, to get involved in a program that became as wildly successful as it was, to be fighting an addiction that was so virulent, that went after him so hard." Morrison says Perry would get to a "certain point" and "accept help when he needed it. But as he said himself, it just kept happening ... and it was a big bear. It was a tough thing ... [a] big, terrible thing."
  • His personality: Perhaps not unlike his Friends character Chandler Bing, Perry "was goofy. He was funny. He was acerbic. But even if he didn't say a word, he was the center of attention."
  • Morrison's grief: "It's with you every day. It's with you all the time, and there's some new aspect of it that assaults your brain. It's not easy."
(More Matthew Perry stories.)

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