The legendary teen heart throb Luke Perry passed away at the age of 52 after suffering a massive stroke. He was surrounded by his family, including his fiance, his parents and siblings, and his children.
The Original 90s Heartthrob
Perry will always be best remembered for his role as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210. He was the ’90s version of James Dean–a sensitive bad boy with great hair and a smolder that any girl would fall for.
He got his start in a handful of daytime soaps, but he wouldn’t become a household name until being cast in 90210. Perry, along with costar Jason Priestly, became a teen idol overnight–despite being in his early twenties at the time.
His movie career didn’t quite take off the way Perry had planned. Perry was cast as the romantic lead opposite Kristy Swanson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon’s first stab at bringing the character to life. The movie couldn’t find an audience–but I’d argue that it’s an underappreciated horror-comedy that just happened to be a couple years ahead of its time. He also had a small but memorable role in The Fifth Element.
Luke Perry never found the more mature film roles he hoped for when he left 90210 in 1995. Eventually, he returned to the show that made him famous for a few more seasons. He also gues starred on multiple network shows–including an excellent turn in one of the best episodes of Criminal Minds.
He found a new generation of fans on the show Riverdale–in many ways, the spiritual successor to the teen soap he helped create. Perry played Fred Andrews, single dad to Archie. He brought warmth and vulnerability to the role, grounding the otherwise OTT shenanigans of Riverdale.
Perry had already filmed a role for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which will be released later this year.
Outpouring of Grief
Perry’s costars took to social media following the news of his passing. It seemed like everyone had a story to tell about him–about his kindess and generosity, his sense of humor and his talent.
As his costar Ian Ziering wrote on Twitter:Dearest Luke, I will forever bask in the loving memories we’ve shared over the last thirty years. May your journey forward be enriched by the magnificent souls who have passed before you, just like you have done here, for those you leave behind.
In a cruelly ironic twist, Perry suffered a stroke on the day that a 90210 sequel project was announced. He reportedly wanted to be involved in some capacity, although his filming schedule on Riverdale wouldn’t allow him to commit to the full series.
The show had planned to reunite as much of the original cast as possible, blending scripting storytelling with reality TV as the actors reconnected. Perry’s death definitely cast a long shadow over the project.