"He's an intense, talented, focused character," Keith Morrison says of his stepson Matthew Perry in this week's issue of PEOPLE

By Christina Dugan
October 01, 2020 06:06 PM
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Keith Morrison has many accomplishments under his belt, but the one he's most proud of is being a father of six.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, the Dateline correspondent and award-winning journalist opens up about his 50 years in the business and his family — including the relationship he has with his stepson, Friends star Matthew Perry.

“There’s no describing what a wonder it is,” Morrison, 73, says of his wife of 39 years, Suzanne Perry, 72, and children: stepson Matthew, 51, as well as his son from a previous marriage, Michael, 46, and his and Suzanne’s four kids, Caitlin, 39, Emily, 35, Will, 34, and Madeline, 31. They also share four grandchildren. “When we’re all together, it’s just a brew that you could not mix no matter how hard you tried if you did it by hand.”

Morrison, who married Matthew's mother Suzanne in 1981, says the actor has been "remarkable" since adolescence.

"He's one of those people who always is the center of the room for a reason and it was so as a kid," Morrison says. "On the hockey team, I used to take him off to his hockey games on Saturday mornings. It was like Matthew and the hockey team. He was the one who scored all the goals. He was the guy. The same on the tennis court. He was extremely, extremely good on the tennis court and very intense. He's an intense, talented, focused character. He's very bright. That was always the case as he was growing up."

Keith Morrison and stepson Matthew Perry
Courtesy Keith Morrison

Morrison says the success from Matthew's most recognizable role, as Chandler Bing on Friends, "surprised him as much as it surprised us."

"He was at a stage where [he was questioning] if this acting thing was going to work or not," says Morrison. "Then suddenly, boy did it ever. A million things have sprung from that, but him being selected for a role like that does not surprise me one bit. It matched his particular sense of humor precisely, whether they wrote that for him knowing what he was like or whether he adapted it more for himself, probably a combination of the two. But that character is Matthew. Yeah, and it always has been him. He's just a talented soul, a smart guy."

"He's a good guy," Morrison adds. "We love having him around."

And while Morrison says Matthew has recently been staying busy with various projects and real estate ventures, he went through a "hard" time after a gastrointestinal perforation that left him bedridden for three months in 2018.

Matthew Perry in March 2016
Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

"We were able to be with him a lot of the time through that, which was I think good for everybody," says Morrison. "It's awful when people have a serious [illness] and have to have operations and worry about whether or not they're going to make it through. It brings the whole family closer. We all get to be there to pull for him. He's coming through it."

Now, on the brink of his 29th season with Dateline, Morrison says he’s not planning on going elsewhere. “I’ll just go on as long as I can because, why not?” he says. “I’m extremely lucky.”

Dateline airs Mondays and Fridays at 10 p.m. ET, as well as Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET, on NBC.