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Matthew Perry’s stepdad Keith Morrison says actor was ‘happy’ before his death

Matthew Perry’s stepfather, NBC Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison, has said that the Friends star was happy before his sudden death last October.

Morrison, 76, who’s been married to Perry’s mother, Suzanne Perry, since 1981, was speaking with fellow journalist Hoda Kotb on Wednesday’s (13 March) episode of her Making Space podcast.

“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,” the Canadian broadcaster said of his grief.

“It’s not easy,” Morrison continued. “Especially for his mum.”

Of Perry’s relationship with his mum, Morrison said: “Toward the end of his life, they were closer than I’ve seen them for decades.

“He was happy, and he said so. And he hadn’t said that for a long time,” Morrison added. “So it’s a source of comfort, but also he didn’t get to have his third act, and that’s not fair.”

Perry was found dead in his Los Angeles hot tub in October 2023, aged 54. He died from the “acute effects of ketamine”, an autopsy report later revealed.

Keith Morrison and Matthew Perry (Getty Images)
Keith Morrison and Matthew Perry (Getty Images)

For years before his death, Perry struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, detailing his journey toward sobriety in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

“He felt like he was beating it,” Morrison said of Perry’s battle with addiction. “But you never beat it, and he knew that, too.”

Commenting on his own relationship with Perry, Morrison said: “We got along fine. I never tried to replace his dad … but I was there for him, and he knew it, and we were close.”

Perry mentioned his biological father, John Bennett Perry, in his memoir, writing that John “abandoned” him and his mother to pursue a career in acting when Perry was nine months old. After two years of marriage, the couple got divorced when Perry was one year old in 1970.

In a 2004 interview with Katie Couric, Perry recalled that the way he mostly saw his father when he was young was on TV. “You know, getting shot through a door on Mannix or something like that. That’s my dad,” he said at the time.

After the divorce, Perry and his mother relocated to Canada, where Suzanne began working as a press secretary for then-Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau – the father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A decade later, Morrison and Suzanne got married in 1981. That same year, John also got remarried to Debbie Boyle. Between John and Suzanne, Perry has five half-siblings, all of whom he listed as beneficiaries of his $1m estate.