Matthew Perry’s Stepfather Opens Up About Actor’s Death

Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/NBC
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/NBC

Matthew Perry’s stepfather, Keith Morrison, says the late actor was “happy” in the time leading up to his death last year.

In a new interview on Hoda Kotb’s Making Space podcast, Morrison said that prior to Perry’s death, the Friends star seemed to be overcoming his longtime struggles with addiction.

“He felt like he was beating it,” the veteran Dateline correspondent told Kotb. “But you never beat it, and he knew that, too.”

Morrison added, “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.”

Perry, who for years had been open about his experiences with substance abuse and alcoholism, died on Oct. 28 at age 54 after being found unresponsive in his hot tub. A coroner later confirmed that he had died from the acute effects of ketamine.

“It was the news you never want to get, but you think someday you might,” Morrison said when asked if the news of Perry’s death surprised him. “Yes and no, I guess, is the answer to that.”

Speaking about his grief, Morrison said, “As other people have told me hundreds of times, it doesn’t go away. 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.”

He added that it’s especially “not easy” for Perry’s mother, Suzanne Perry. Morrison, who has been married to Suzanne since 1981, told Kotb that his wife and stepson had been especially close prior to the actor’s death.

“Toward the end of his life, they were closer than I’ve seen them for decades,” Morrison said, “and texting each other constantly and him sharing things with her that most middle-aged men don’t share with their mothers.”

Perry, who rose to fame as the wise-cracking Chandler Bing on Friends, was just as funny off screen, Morrison said, remembering the actor as “a larger-than-life person.”

“He was always the center of attention everywhere he went,” Morrison continued. “That kind of personality. He was goofy. He was funny. He was acerbic. But even if he didn’t say a word, he was the center of attention. And so yes, that’s gone, but you still feel the echo of it everywhere.”

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