Keith Morrison Facts Only Dateline's Biggest Fans Will Know

Keith Morrison is a Canadian-born journalist, broadcaster, and news correspondent. Over the years, he has won multiple awards and nominations for excellence in broadcasting and television work. Most notably, he has gained national acclaim as a correspondent for "Dateline." Morrison joined the true crime series in 1995 and has built a steady fan base throughout his tenure. Today, he is among the series' most popular correspondents. Fans know him best for his soothing voice, poignant questions, and relaxed interview style. No matter how unbelievable the story may be, viewers can count on Morrison to dig deep and get to the bottom of it.

However, there is more to the poised, soft-spoken Morrison than just reporting facts and conducting interviews. Behind the scenes, his career has provided him with exciting opportunities and helped him meet various famous, sometimes even historic people. Whenever Morrison becomes the subject of an interview, fans also see a different side of their favorite correspondent. For example, although he reports harrowing crimes and other sobering topics, he is lighthearted and surprisingly open about himself. A significant component of his enduring appeal is his down-to-earth personality and sense of humor. Furthermore, Morrison fully embraces his fans and can count multiple celebrities among those who appreciate his work the best. 

He was Matthew Perry's stepfather

Blending families always comes with challenges, and fame can magnify those issues. For example, when Keith Morrison married Suzanne Perry, he gained a young stepson who would someday be a star himself – "Friends" actor Matthew Perry. Accepting a new parental figure can be difficult in some cases, but certain circumstances made this adjustment more complex than usual in the Perry-Morrison household. As Perry revealed in his book "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir," the actor had a long history of addiction and has had many brushes with death along the way. Despite this, Morrison has nothing but positive things to say about his stepson.

For example, in an interview with People, Morrison expressed a genuine love for being around Perry and applauded him for his professional successes. However, this was just one of many instances in which Morrison offered Perry glowing praise. For example, in an interview with Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," Morrison portrayed his stepson in a positive light and briefly reflected on the best gift Perry ever gave him — a Porsche 911. Meanwhile, Perry also appeared to feel fondness for his stepdad, though he kept some distance. According to The Washington Post, Perry often rejected typical terms of endearment and warmly called him "Keith Morrison." 

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His signature lean was an accident

Over time, many media personalities adopt mannerisms that fans can't help but notice. For example, "Dateline" fans can always count on Keith Morrison to spend a good portion of his on-screen time casually leaning on a wall, fence, or whatever is handy. This signature pose includes crossing one foot over the other and slouching to one side, which makes him look relaxed and ready for an interview. Today, Morrison's tendency to lean against something while on camera is so well-recognized that it even has its own Instagram page. Here, fans can enjoy looking back at memorable examples of Morrison's poses. 

However, this trademark habit wasn't intentional at first. In an interview with The Wrap, the correspondent explained the history behind his laid-back stance. According to Morrison, many reporters pace or gesture with their hands while reading copy on camera. However, Morrison felt that he would be more successful during these segments doing something that made him look calm. "Whenever I've had to do a standup, I figured the best thing to do is to look relaxed and not look too excitable on camera," said the correspondent. "So I just lean on something." Although he isn't sure exactly when leaning on things became his go-to move, it's a habit that has garnered plenty of attention from viewers.

Bill Hader impersonated him

Many celebrities think of being the subject of a "Saturday Night Live" sketch as an honor, and Keith Morrison received exactly like distinction in the series' 37th season. In a sketch called "Dateline: The Mystery of the Chopped Up Guy," actor Bill Hader exaggerated some of Morrison's signature mannerisms and did a believable impression of his voice. After the episode aired, media outlets were curious to hear Morrison's reaction to Hader's performance. On Late Night with Seth Meyers, the correspondent explained that he had somewhat mixed feelings about the sketch, but saw it as a positive. Although he felt honored and appreciated, he also felt a little self-conscious. According to Morrison, he found out about the sketch from his daughter, who thought it was hilarious.

Bill Hader is a huge fan of Morrison and speaks highly of his work. During a segment on Today, the actor had a surprise chance to meet Morrison in person for the first time. The meeting is heartwarming and funny, especially because of Hader's reactions. In the clip, he is excited, starstruck, and nearly speechless. The actor admits to being nervous multiple times but doesn't stop smiling for the entire conversation. The two even perform a brief "Dateline" promo together, with Hader imitating Morrison's voice.

He gets performance anxiety

Most people assume that media personalities always feel comfortable speaking in front of a camera or audience, especially after years of practice. However, some do still experience nervousness when they have to perform. While it's hard to imagine reserved, even-keeled Keith Morrison feeling anything but comfortable in these situations, he revealed his surprising struggles with stage fright in an interview with TV Insider. Although he has no issue with being on "Dateline," the correspondent admitted that live public speaking makes him anxious. Whereas his on-screen reporting is nearly effortless, he has to overcome anxiousness to perform well for a live audience. The correspondent explained that big crowds make it especially difficult for him to remain calm at these kinds of events.

Interestingly, Morrison said he doesn't struggle with his nerves while conducting interviews, no matter how sensational or intimidating his subject may seem to others. As a result, television audiences never see him flustered or thrown off guard. Morrison told Vanity Fair that most interview subjects are too focused on making a good impression to behave aggressively. Many want to be perceived as innocent by "Dateline" audiences, which motivates them to be exceptionally cooperative and forthcoming when speaking with him. The correspondent further explains that even when a subject does step out of line, it's almost always a show for the cameras.

He was a reporter first

Before becoming a household name on "Dateline," young Keith Morrison primarily worked as a reporter and news anchor. Morrison's career began in the 1960s, and he held various positions with Canadian media companies. For example, according to Saskatoon StarPhoenix, one of Morrison's first jobs was as a reporter with their newspaper. Morrison is a native of Saskatoon, so working for a local news outlet was a logical first step. However, the correspondent soon moved into other news venues, such as radio broadcasting for stations such as Saskatoon's CKOM. Then, in the 1980s, he moved to television and began the journey leading him to "Dateline."

Whereas his current role has a set formula and focuses on one news genre, Morrison's first jobs in the U.S. were more traditionally journalistic. NBC News explains that Morrison joined the NBC team in 1986, nine years before entering the world of true crime. He worked as a news co-anchor throughout the rest of the 1980s, covering multiple sensational stories and winning awards for his work. Although he briefly returned to Canadian television at the beginning of the 1990s, he has since become a permanent fixture on NBC. In a TVNewser interview with fellow longtime correspondent Josh Mankiewicz, Morrison explains that he is happy to continue working on the series for as long as possible.

He lent his voice to Waze

Aside from his signature lean, the thing fans love most about Keith Morrison is his voice. In one of the many Reddit threads dedicated to his voice, fans describe it as soothing enough to help them fall asleep. However, fans don't always have to watch "Dateline" to enjoy Morrison's relaxing tones. In 2017, Waze traffic app users had the opportunity to have Morrison direct them to their destinations. According to USA Today, the correspondent lent his beloved voice to the app by pre-recording a list of commands. Previously, the app featured other celebrity voices, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and comedian Stephen Colbert. 

In the article, Morrison described the partnership as a fun experience. He also explained that his favorite makeshift recording studio is his bedroom closet because of its ideal acoustics. Not only did he record his Waze commands there, but he has also recorded many voiceovers for "Dateline" in that closet. Although he wasn't a loyal Waze user before the partnership, Morrison began using the app afterward. However, he admitted that he chose not to use his own voice and thus hadn't heard it in the app. Unfortunately for Morrison fans, Waze only offers celebrity voices for a limited time, so this option is no longer available.

He hosted an eye-opening podcast

In addition to true crime reporting on television, Keith Morrison narrates podcast episodes for "Dateline" that delve deeper into some of the series' famous stories. The podcast format allows Morrison to use his signature soothing voice to describe murder and mayhem in a new venue. Although some stories unfold in one or two episodes, some crimes are intriguing enough to deserve a whole series. For example, in a six-part series called "The Seduction," Morrison revisited a complex case involving a love triangle that ended in murder.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Morrison explains that this story was one of the most memorable he has encountered because of a fruitful post-conviction discussion with the killer. Although the case wasn't as sensational as most of the cases he covers, Morrison found his interview subject's surprising honesty and knack for details compelling. In the podcast, Morrison narrates an extended version of this nearly unbelievable story, covering details about the twisted conspiracy that led to an innocent man's death. It's a true tale of manipulation, infidelity, and an increasingly complex web of lies. Hannah Verdier of The Guardian counted this podcast among her top picks of the week when it first premiered, comparing the story to a noir film and praising Morrison's narration.

He hilariously indulges fans

"Dateline" viewers often rave about the calming power of Keith Morrison's voice, and many would be happy to hear the correspondent read nearly anything. Luckily, Morrison isn't shy about giving his fans what they want. In 2022, NBC posted a video clip on Facebook of him reading the most recent edition of the phone book. In the clip, Morrison amusingly exaggerates his facial expressions while rattling off a list of addresses with his relaxing tone. The video is made all the more hilarious by including sultry music in the background.

However, this concept isn't new. The NBC News website featured a similar clip in 2019, and viewers can find clips from other years on social media. In addition to the phone book, Morrison has contributed to various audiobook projects and treated audiences to other taped readings. Some of the most entertaining examples feature Morrison bringing holiday tales to life. For instance, Audible offers fans a chance to hear Morrison read a classic Christmas story, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." The YouTube channel for NBC News also features a video of the journalist reading "The Night Before Christmas." One fan commented on the video that they wish Morrison would create a voicemail recording for fans to use.

He once envisioned a different profession

Some celebrities feel destined for stardom from a young age, but others dream of a different life for themselves. For example, before he became an on-screen personality, Keith Morrison had other plans for his eventual career. Morrison was interested in the legal system long before joining the "Dateline" team, which directed his early career choice. According to GQ, Morrison went to college with the intention of becoming a lawyer. However, he performed poorly in school and never completed his law studies. Apparently, Morrison was something of a troublemaker in his youth, which accounted for his academic failure. So instead of law, he moved on to the world of reporting and broadcasting.

Although his name is now nearly synonymous with true crime reporting, Morrison was initially disinterested in exploring this side of justice. In an interview with TheWrap, Morrison described his early lack of enthusiasm for this style of reporting. However, according to Morrison, he was slowly pushed into true crime over time because of repeated assignments that fit the genre. Luckily for fans, Morrison has embraced his role as an icon of true crime and appears to genuinely enjoy his work. In the interview, he explained that he enjoys exploring a different side of humanity while covering these stories. This interest is evident in his thorough attention to detail in interviews.

He is beloved by celebrities

"Dateline" has been on the air for more than three decades, and its current fanbase is as varied as ever. Although it wasn't a particularly popular genre in the 1990s, true crime is now an immense cultural force, even among celebrities. In an interview with People, multiple celebrities chimed in with their reasons for loving NBC's award-winning series. Unsurprisingly, a common theme in many responses is a special affection for Keith Morrison. For example, model Molly Sims compares Morrison's voice to a soothing lullaby, and actress Lucy Lawless remarks on his ability to make even something as disturbing as murder sound relaxing with his tone. Michelle Trachtenberg says it best: "...Keith Morrison has an open door to narrate my life."

However, one celebrity has mentioned his love of Morrison in multiple publications: Dax Shepard. When People asked Shepard about "Dateline," he praised Morrison's storytelling abilities and — like any true Morrison fan — expressed his love of seeing the correspondent lean against things on air. The actor also featured Morrison on an episode of his podcast "Armchair Expert," where the two bonded over stepfatherhood and the challenges of building a career. According to Entertainment Weekly, Shepard's wife, actress Kristen Bell, is an equally avid fan of Morrison and even has a pop socket with the correspondent's face printed on it.

He is the subject of a viral drawing

Many celebrities have become the subject of fan-generated art, and Keith Morrison is no exception. In 2011, Canadian graphic artist Don Sparrow created a custom drawing of Morrison and shared it with "Dateline" on social media. In an interview with NBC News, Sparrow explained that the drawing was a standout example from the "How Do You Dateline?" social media campaign. The series later featured the drawing in an episode segment and shared it on Facebook, where it became popular with fans. Like many famous internet images, the drawing inspired a few amusing memes about the correspondent. According to Sparrow, he was a big fan of the show and especially enjoyed Morrison's performances, which inspired him to create the drawing.

In the interview, Sparrow explains that "Dateline" also commissioned him to create drawings for a part of an episode, which was a pleasant surprise. Furthermore, in typical fashion, Morrison responded to the artist directly on social media and praised his work. However, this meeting wasn't the end of Sparrow's relationship with Morrison. In 2019, the artist shared a post about the meeting on his Facebook page and described the correspondent as friendly and gracious. Sparrow gave Morrison a copy of the drawing, and the two took photos together imitating Morrison's trademark lean.