‘Dateline’ correspondent Keith Morrison on death of stepson Matthew Perry: ‘It’s with you every day’

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Keith Morrison, nan seasoned “Dateline” analogous and stepfather of the precocious character Matthew Perry, says successful a caller question and reply that nan “Friends” prima felt he was overcoming his yearslong struggles pinch addiction earlier he was recovered unresponsive successful his basking tub successful precocious October.

“He felt for illustration he was beating it,” Morrison told “TODAY” show co-anchor Hoda Kotb connected an section of her “Making Spaces” podcast. “But you ne'er hit it, and he knew that, too.”

Morrison said his condolences is still raw. “It’s pinch you each day. It’s pinch you each nan time, and there’s immoderate caller facet of it that assaults your brain,” he said. “It’s not easy.”

Perry, who was unfastened astir his experiences pinch alcoholism and constituent misuse, died Oct. 28 astatine property 54 from nan “acute effects” of ketamine, nan Los Angeles County aesculapian examiner’s agency said successful an autopsy study released successful December. The study said drowning, coronary artery illness and nan effects of buprenorphine, a synthetic opioid, contributed to his death.

The autopsy study said Perry had been “reportedly cleanable for 19 months.” He was reported to person been utilizing ketamine infusion therapy to thief woody pinch slump and anxiety, according to nan findings, and his past curen was a week and a half earlier he died.

Morrison, who has been joined to Perry’s mother, Suzanne Perry Morrison, since 1981, told Kotb that his stepson “didn’t get to person his 3rd act, and that’s not fair.”

Perry was beloved by generations of tv viewers for his domiciled arsenic nan smart-aleck accountant Chandler Bing connected nan NBC sitcom “Friends.” In precocious 2022, Perry published a memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and nan Big Terrible Thing,” which chronicled his upbringing successful Canada, arsenic good arsenic his emergence to fame, addiction challenges and recovery.

Morrison said Perry and his mother were person than they had been successful decades erstwhile he died. They were “texting each different constantly,” and he shared “things pinch her that astir middle-aged men don’t stock pinch their mothers.” (Perry’s mother, who was a property caput for nan precocious Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, divided his biologic begetter erstwhile Perry was young.)

Morrison said he tin still consciousness “the echo” of Perry’s beingness successful his day-to-day life, remembering his stepson arsenic a “larger-than-life person” who ever “lit up a room.”

“He was goofy. He was funny. He was acerbic,” Morrison said. “But moreover if he didn’t opportunity a word, he was nan halfway of attention.”

In describing their relationship, Morrison said he and Perry were, “as they say, chalk and cheese. He was large and retired location and funny and aggressive.”

Morrison recalled taking a young Perry to lucky games connected Saturday mornings, remembering that “if he didn’t people each nan goals, he was truthful angry each nan measurement location and he wouldn’t talk to anybody; he was really mad.” Perry would behave overmuch nan aforesaid measurement if he missed a changeable during a tennis match.

“He had that benignant of very fiery personality, and excavation is not for illustration that, arsenic you tin imagine,” said Morrison, who is wide known for his wry baritone voice. “But we sewage on fine. … I ne'er tried to switch his dada … but I was location for him, and he knew it.” (Perry’s biologic begetter was nan characteristic character John Bennett Perry, who has appeared successful various films and tv shows.)

Morrison said he tried to support Perry “as overmuch arsenic possible” complete nan years.

“That’s a whirlwind of a life, to get progressive successful a programme that became arsenic wildly successful arsenic it was, to beryllium fighting an addiction that was truthful virulent, that went aft him truthful hard,” Morrison said, adding that Perry would get to a “certain point” erstwhile he knew he needed to get curen and “accept thief erstwhile he needed it.”

“But arsenic he said himself, it conscionable kept happening … and it was a large bear,” Morrison said. “It was a reliable point … [a] big, unspeakable thing.”

Daniel Arkin

Daniel Arkin is simply a nationalist newsman astatine NBC News.