Parents, stepdad Keith Morrison, siblings

Photo of author

By Dan Sears

Matthew Perry’s sudden death at age 54 on Saturday has sent shockwaves through Hollywood. 

The “Friends” star died at his home, reportedly of drowning in his hot tub. While the exact cause of death hasn’t been released, foul play is not suspected. 

The actor had struggles with addiction and sobriety for years, which he spoke openly about.

Perry never married or had any children of his own, but he he came from a large Canadian-American family. He’s survived by his siblings, parents, and his famous stepfather, Canadian broadcaster Keith Morrison, 76, best known for “Dateline.”

Here’s what to know.

His mom, Suzanne Perry

A former journalist, Matthew’s mom Suzanne served as press secretary to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau before pivoting to political consulting and fundraising.

While she was in office, Matthew went to school with Pierre’s son, current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who posted about his former classmate, “I’ll never forget the schoolyard games we used to play.”

Suzanne had Matthew with John Bennett Perry in 1969, before the couple split up a year later, and each went on to remarry in 1981. Suzanne had four kids with her second husband, “Dateline’s” Keith Morrison, while John Bennett Perry had one daughter with his second wife, Debbie Boyle.

So, Perry was the oldest and had five half-siblings.

John Bennett Perry and Matthew Perry.
Matthew’s father, John Bennett Perry.
The US Sun / MEGA

His dad, John Bennett Perry

Matthew grew up in Ottawa, Canada, with his mother before moving to California to live with his father when he was 15. In his memoir, he describes his stepmother, Debbie, as “a lovely woman.”

His father John Bennett Perry, 82, is also an actor. He has appeared in “George of the Jungle,” “The Sweetest Thing,” “Independence Day,” and even appeared on “Friends” in 1998 (in the Season 4 episode, “The One with Rachel’s New Dress”).

In his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” Matthew described himself as a “latchkey kid” who split his time between Montreal and Los Angeles.

“I spent a great deal of time alone,” he wrote.

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Matthew Perry and his dad, John Bennett Perry.
Matthew Perry with his dad, actor John Bennett Perry.

Caitlin Morrison

Matthew’s sister (Suzanne and Keith’s first daughter) was born in 1981.

In his 2022 book, Matthew wrote, “I have always loved kids. I think it’s because I was 10 years old when my sister Caitlin was born.”

“Then came Emily, then Will, and then finally Madeline. I loved playing with them all, babysitting them, playing dumb games with them. There is no greater sound on the face of the planet than a child’s laughter.”

However, although he loved his siblings, he also said, “There was a family growing up around me, a family I didn’t really feel part of … That’s when the bad behavior started.”

Caitlin appeared in the 2000 movie “The Whole Ten Yards,” but has not otherwise had an acting career.

Matthew Perry with mom Suzanne and sister Emily.  

Emily Morrison

Matthew’s second sister was born in 1985.

“Emily arrived, and she was blond and cute as a button,” Matthew wrote in his book. “And just like Caitlin, I loved her instantly. However, I was so often on the outside looking in, still that kid up in the clouds on a flight to somewhere else, unaccompanied.”

He described feeling alienated from his family.

“Things at home just got worse and worse. My mom had a wonderful new family with Keith. I was so often on the outside looking in, still that kid up in the clouds on a flight to somewhere else, unaccompanied.”

Over the years, Emily appeared at some of her brother’s premieres, including the premiere for his movie “The Whole Nine Yards.”

Will Morrison

Matthew’s brother, Will, was born to Suzanne and Keith Morrison in 1987. He’s also come to a few premieres with his brother, such as the premiere for the first “Harry Potter” movie.

In his memoir, he included his brother in his shout-out to his siblings, following his stint in the hospital after a coma in 2018.

“My sisters’ faces shadow my parents’, as does my brother’s, each of them beaming at me, not just at a hospital bedside, but also in Canada and Los Angeles as I tried to crack them up with my patter,” he wrote.

Madeline Morrison

Suzanne and Keith’s fourth child — and Matthew’s third sister — was born in 1989. She’s a “Dateline” producer, like her famous dad.

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After his 2019 health scare, in which he later woke up from a coma, Matthew didn’t want to know what had happened because he was “too afraid that it was my fault,” he wrote in his book.

“So instead of talking about it, I did the one thing I felt I could do—during the days in the hospital I threw myself into family, spending hours with my beautiful sisters Emily, Maria, and Madeline who were funny and caring and there,” he wrote.

Maria Perry

Matthew’s fourth sister was on his dad’s side of the family, born to John Bennett Perry and his second wife, Debbie Boyle.

Born in 1986, she was the one who was honest with Matthew about his health, following his struggles with addiction, and health scares like his 2018 gastrointestinal perforation, from which doctors told him he had a 2% chance of survival, according to his memoir.

“There I was, attached to fifty wires like a robot, bedridden, as Maria filled me in,” he wrote.

“My very fears had been true: I had done this; this was my fault. I cried—oh boy did I cry. Maria did her best to be wonderfully consoling, but there was no consoling this.”

Keith Morrison of “Dateline” fame is Matthew Perry’s stepfather.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

His stepfather, Keith Morrison

In 2020, Keith Morrison gushed about his stepson to People.

“He’s one of those people who always is the center of the room for a reason and it was so as a kid. 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 said. “He’s very bright. That was always the case as he was growing up.”

Regarding Matthew’s most iconic role as Chandler Bing on “Friends,” Morrison described his stepson’s success and said that it didn’t surprise him.

“He was at a stage where [he was questioning] if this acting thing was going to work or not. 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,” he continued. “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.”

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He added: “We love having him around.”

Keith Morrison, “Dateline” correspondent, gushed about Matthew in the past.
NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via

Morrison also revealed he was there to support Matthew when he was hospitalized in 2018 after his colon burst following years of opioid use.

“We were able to be with him a lot of the time through that, which was I think good for everybody,” he told the outlet. “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.”

Even though he described feeling lonely and alienated from his family in his memoir, Matthew didn’t appear to feel resentment toward his siblings. 

“We love having him around,” Matthew Perry’s stepdad, Keith Morrison, said in 2020.
Patrick Randak/NBC

“They never dropped the ball once, any of them, never turned their backs on me, ever. Imagine such love if you can,” he wrote in his book.

Following Matthew’s tragic death, his family collectively said a statement, “We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother. Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend. You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love.”

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