Morrie's former student at Brandeis University, and the narrator of the book. After having abandoned his dreams of becoming a famous musician, he is disgusted by his desire for financial success and material wealth, though neither fill the void and unhappiness he feels. He has been working himself nearly to death, and suddenly finds himself out of a job when the staff at the newspaper he writes for decides to strike. Each Tuesday, he learns from Morrie, his that he needs to reassess his life, and to value love over money, and happiness over success.
Mitch's favorite professor from Brandeis University, and the focus of the book, Morrie now suffers from ALS, a debilitating, incurable disease which ravages his body, but, cruelly, leaves him intellectually lucid. He had taught sociology at Brandeis, and continues to teach it to Mitch, instructing him on "The Meaning of Life," and how to accept death and aging. After a childhood in which affection was largely absent, he thrives on physical contact as a baby would. He has a passion for dancing and music, and is quick to cry, especially since the onset of his disease. He does not suffocate his emotions, but shares them openly, and rejects the popular cultural norms in favor of creating his own system of beliefs. Mitch portrays him as a man of ultimate wisdom.
One of the most famous living television interviewers, Koppel conducts three interviews with Morrie for the news show "Nightline." He is surprised when Morrie asks him personal questions just after they have met, though he immediately seems to like Morrie, and eventually grows to call him a friend. He is moved almost to tears during his last interview with Morrie, having deconstructed what Morrie had called his "narcissistic" television personality.
Morrie's caring wife, who, at his insistence, keeps her job as a professor at M.I.T. throughout Morrie's illness.
Mitch's patient wife who willingly takes a phone call from Morrie, whom she has never met, and insists upon joining Mitch on his next Tuesday visit. Although she usually does not sing upon request, she does for Morrie, and moves him to tears with her beautiful voice.
Mitch's younger brother who lives in Spain. Peter flies to various European cities seeking treatment for his pancreatic cancer, though he refuses any help from his family, who he has for the most part estranged himself from. He is reluctant when Mitch first tries to reestablish a relationship with him, but eventually warms.
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Morrie's dispassionate father who immigrated to America to escape the Russian Army. Charlie raises his children on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and works in the fur business, though he seldom finds jobs and earns barely enough money to feed his family. He shows Morrie and his brother David little attention, and no affection whatsoever, and insists that Morrie keep his mother's death a secret from David, as he wants his son to believe that his stepmother, Eva, is his biological mother. He dies after having run away from muggers, and Morrie must travel to New York to identify his body at the city morgue.
Morrie's younger brother who, after their mother's death, is sent with Morrie to a small hotel in the woods of Connecticut. There, he develops polio, seemingly just after he and Morrie have spent a night frolicking outside in the rain. Although his paralysis has nothing to do with their night in the rain, Morrie and blames himself for David's paralysis.
The kind, caring immigrant woman who Charlie marries after Morrie's mother dies. She gives Morrie and his brother David the love and affection they have so longed for, and instills in Morrie his love of books and desire for education.
A good friend of Morrie's who sends some of Morrie's aphorisms to a Boston Globe reporter who eventually publishes a feature story on Morrie. The reporter's article prompts Ted Koppel to ask Morrie for an interview.
An old friend of Morrie's who he has long been estranged from. He had been an artist, and had sculpted a bust of Morrie, a deft depiction of his features. He eventually moved away, and shortly thereafter, did not send his regards to Morrie or Charlotte although he knew that Charlotte would be undergoing a serious surgery. Because of his carelessness, Morrie forfeits his friendship with him and refuses to accept his apology, which he regrets, especially after his death a few years following their break up.
Morrie's home health aide who is always there to assist Morrie in going to the bathroom, getting into his chair, and eating his meals. She is in disbelief when O.J. Simpson is voted not guilty by the court jury.
A rabbi from Brandeis and a long-time friend of Morrie's. He performs Morrie's funeral service.
Morrie's two adult sons who, though they live far, often travel to Boston to visit Morrie, especially as his condition worsens.
Morrie's home care worker who helps him in and out of his swimming suit.