Luke Perry, ‘90210’ heartthrob, dies at 52 after stroke
Los Angeles – Luke Perry, who gained instant heartthrob status as wealthy rebel Dylan McKay on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” died Monday after suffering a massive stroke, his publicist said. He was 52.
Perry was surrounded by family and friends when he died, publicist Arnold Robinson said. The actor had been hospitalized since last Wednesday, after a 911 call summoned medical help to his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles.
“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,” Robinson said in a statement. Those at Perry’s bedside included his children, Jake and Sophie; fiancée Wendy Madison Bauer; former wife, Minnie Sharp, and mother Ann Bennett.
Although Perry was best-known for his role as McKay, he enjoyed a prolific film and television career. Most recently, he played construction company owner Fred Andrews, father of main character Archie Andrews, for three seasons on “Riverdale,” the CW series that gives a dark take on “Archie” comics. A fourth season has been slated.
The actor’s next big screen role will be in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” which is slated for release in July.
“90210” co-star Ian Ziering paid tribute to his co-star on Twitter , where fans and celebrities shared their memories of Perry and mourned him . “I will forever bask in the loving memories we’ve shared over the last thirty years,” Ziering said. “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.”
Born and raised in rural Fredericktown, Ohio, Perry gained fame on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” which ran from 1990 to 2000. In a 2006 interview with The Associated Press, he recounted being partly inspired to pursue acting by a photo of Paul Newman his mother kept on her mirror.
He played out the memory of hearing his mother say, “He’s the most beautiful man in the world, honey … he’s a movie star.”
“I thought, ‘OK, that’s cool.’ I watched him and, ‘Yeah, man, who didn’t want to be Paul Newman!’”
But Perry expanded his interests far beyond acting, identifying history as a passion and family a priority.
“When you are younger you can have only work, and I did for a long time,” he told the AP in 2006. “But it doesn’t command my attention that way anymore. A lot of the mysteries and the questions I had about it I’ve figured out, but life offers up mysteries every day.”
He had roles in a handful of films, including “The Fifth Element,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “8 Seconds” and “American Strays,” appeared in HBO’s prison drama “Oz” as a televangelist convicted of fraud, and voiced cartoons including “The Incredible Hulk” and “Mortal Kombat.”
He made his Broadway musical debut as Brad in the “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and starred on London’s West End in another stage adaptation of a film, “When Harry Met Sally.” In recent years he starred in the series “Ties That Bind” and “Body of Proof.”
The same day he was hospitalized, Fox TV announced that it would be running a six-episode return of “90210” featuring most of the original cast, but Perry was not among those announced.
On the original series, Perry’s character went from loner to part of a close-knit circle that included twins Brenda and Brandon Walsh (Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley), but also endured a string of romantic, family and other setbacks, including drug addiction. Perry left the series in 1995 to pursue other roles, returning in 1998 for the rest of the show’s run as a guest star.
In a 2011 interview with the AP, Perry said he and his male co-stars were a “really good strong core group” while the show aired and maintained close ties. The friendship and trust he shared with Priestley created a sort of “shorthand” when it came to filming, Perry said.
In this June 29, 2001 file photo, actor Luke Perry poses during an interview in New York. A publicist for Perry says the "Riverdale" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" star has died. He was 52.
AP Photo/Leslie Hassler, File
Friends and industry insiders react to Luke Perry's death
“Luke Perry was a kindhearted and incredibly talented artist. It was an honor to be able to work with him. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his loved ones.” – Leonardo DiCaprio, who co-stars with Perry in the upcoming film “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” via Twitter .
– “I’m finding it hard to grasp that he will no longer be around to give long hugs and share his wisdom and kindness with all of us. I’m thinking of his family. His children. I pray for them to heal and find peace in this devastating loss. I just can’t believe it.” – “Riverdale” co-star Lili Reinhart, via Twitter .
– “My heart is broken. He meant so much to so many. Such a very special person. I share my deep sadness with his family and all who loved him. Such a terrible loss.” – Jennie Garth, to People.
– “I will forever bask in the loving memories we’ve shared over the last 30 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.” – Ian Ziering, via Twitter .
– “My heart is broken. I will miss you so much Luke Perry. Sending all my love to your family.” – Molly Ringwald, via Twitter .
– A father figure and mentor to the show’s young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness.” – Statement from “Riverdale” producers and cast.
“Luke Perry was my 1st crush. Eh, more like obsession (I wore pins w his face on them to school) I used to dream of making it to LA just to meet him. I never got to, but I’ve always heard he was a really great person.” – Olivia Munn, via Twitter .
– “Luke Perry. My teen crush. I’m glad I got to tell you. Sheepishly red faced and all. You were lovely and you gave great hugs. Grateful to witness and experience your kindness and warmth. #RestInPeace love. Blessings to your family.” – Rosario Dawson, via Twitter.
– “The first time I met Luke Perry we talked about what kind of movie we wanted ‘Buffy’ to be. I asked if he’d ever seen ‘Near Dark’ and he gave me a look of HOW DARE YOU SIR and I knew we’d get along. Funny, committed, and always gracious. He shouldn’t be gone.” – Joss Whedon, via Twitter .
– “Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.” – Josh Gad, via Twitter.
– “Luke Perry was a character actor in the body of a heartthrob. Much respect.” – Jon Cryer, via Twitter .
– “Woke up this morning a ball of tears. Luke Perry was the kindest, warmest, most loving human being. He always went out of his way to make me feel safe, heard and seen in his presence. I love you so much Luke. Thank you for being a ray of light for me and so many.” – “Riverdale” actress Asha Bromfield, via Instgram .
– “Will miss ya, ‘Dad.’ Grateful for the chance to have known you.” – Alyson Stoner, who co-starred with Perry in “Alice Upside Down,” via Twitter.
– “Very saddened by this loss. Luke Perry was not only a talented actor–but a warm, kind person who made his home state proud.” – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, via Twitter .
– “Rest Luke – the way you always treated me (and anyone I ever introduced you to, no matter how much they screamed and squealed with joy and excitement) – in peace.” – Donnie Wahlberg, via Twitter.
– “RIP Luke Perry. My heart hurts for your family.” – Viola Davis, via Twitter .
– “I am absolutely heartbroken. Luke was a tremendous force in the lives of so many. He was a very sensitive soul who was kind, generous and he fought for the underdog. He was a strong voice and an advocate who will be so missed by all who knew him. He has left his mark – never to be forgotten. My heart goes out to his family, friends and fans around the globe.” – Gabrielle Carteris, SAG-AFTRA president who co-starred on “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
– “one of the kindest most gentle souls this world has ever known #riplukeperry” – “Riverdale” co-star Robin Givens, via Twitter.
– “I abruptly woke at 4:30am thinking about you Luke & I couldn’t go back to sleep, then 5 hours later I hear you are gone. The tears won’t stop & they never ever will. You were that guy, that forever friend, we always had each others back & I will always remember you this way…” – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” film co-star Kristy Swanson, via Twitter .
– “So heartbroken about Luke. He was a father, brother, friend, and mentor. Each night before he had to shoot a scene, he’d call me and we’d talk about…everything. I will miss those calls. And my heart goes out to all his family and friends.” – “Riverdale” creator Roberto Aguirre Sacasa, via Twitter.
– “Luke will always be part of the FOX family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this extremely difficult time. He will be deeply missed” – “Beverly Hills, 90210” network Fox, in a statement.