Luke Perry, whose performance as brooding bad boy Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210 made him a '90s teen idol, died Monday after suffering a massive stroke last week.
He was 52.
A statement from his publicist read:
Actor Luke Perry, 52, passed away today after suffering a massive stroke. He was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, stepfather Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and other close family and friends. The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning. No further details will be released at this time.
Born and raised in Ohio, Perry moved to L.A. to become an actor straight out of high school. Instead, he laid a lot of concrete and reported that he treid out for over 200 acting gigs in New York and L.A. before landing his first commercial and appearing in the "Be Chrool to Your Scuel" music video (1985) by Twisted Sister. His co-star? Alice Cooper (b. 1948).
His first (uncredited) acting gig on TV was as a prisoner on Voyagers! (1982). In 1988, he landed a part on Loving, which led to a 10-episode gig on Another World (1988-1989).R
"I'm going to be linked with him until I die, but that's actually just fine. I created Dylan McKay. He's mine." — Luke Perry
Along with his movie debut, in Terminal Bliss, 1990 was Perry's big-break year, the year he was cast on Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000). The nighttime teen soaper made him a household name and turned his love life into tabloid fodder.
In 1992, he starred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the movie that sparked the cult-hit TV series. Other noteworthy film roles came via 8 Seconds (1994) and The Fifth Element (1997).
When the 90210 hype cooled, so did Perry's career, but he worked on TV and in films, including an attention-getting role as Rev. Jeremiah Cloutier on Oz (2001-2002), and as the star of the short-lived series Jeremiah (2002-2004), Windfall (2006), John from Cincinnati (2007), FCU: Fact Checkers Unit (2010), Body of Proof (2012-2013) and Ties that Bind (2015).
At the time of his death, Perry was enjoying a career revival as Fred Andrews on the hotter-than-hot teen drama Riverdale (2016-2019), on which he appeared more than 50 times, marking his most substantial role since Beverly Hills, 90210 ended nearly 20 years ago.
Producers of Riverdale said in a statement:
“We are deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Luke Perry. A beloved member of the Riverdale, Warner Bros. and CW family, Luke was everything you would hope he would be: an incredibly caring, consummate professional with a giant heart, and a true friend to all. A father figure and mentor to the show’s young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness. Our thoughts are with Luke’s family during this most difficult time.”
Eerily, Perry suffered his stroke Wednesday, February 27, the very day it was announced that Beverly Hills, 90210 was being rebooted as a limited series for summer '19. Neither Perry nor co-star Shannen Doherty (b. 1971) were part of the announcement, and while he had publicly stated he was skeptical it was something he would do, producers had left the door open for him to come aboard in some way.
Former co-stars and friends took to social media to remember the man who had once been put forth as his generation's answer to James Dean (1931-1955):