Luke Perry, actor known for Beverly Hills, 90210, dead at 52

Riverdale and Beverly Hills, 90210 actor Luke Perry has died at age 52, several days after suffering a stroke.

Featured in Vancouver-shot Riverdale, actor was hospitalized last week after stroke

Luke Perry, one of the stars of the 1990-2000 TV show Beverly Hills, 90210 and more recently the Vancouver-shot Riverdale, has died after suffering a stroke last week. (Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

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.

"He was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancée 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," Arnold Robinson said in a statement.

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.

Robinson said no further details would be released at this time.

"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."

Perry, second from right, is seen with fellow 90210 alums Jason Priestley, left, Jennie Garth, and Tori Spelling, right, at the 2005 TV Land Awards. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Archie's dad on Riverdale 

Perry has played construction-company owner Fred Andrews, father of main character Archie Andrews, for three seasons on Riverdale. A fourth season had been slated. 

The Vancouver-shot series has temporarily shut down production following news of Perry's death, with producers issuing a joint statement with WBTV and CW network.

Perry, left, is seen with KJ Apa at a New York Comic Con event in October. Perry played the father of Apa's character on Riverdale, the popular, darker-themed drama based on the Archie comic series. (Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

"Luke was everything you would hope he would be: an incredibly caring, consummate professional with a giant heart, and a true friend to all," read the statement.  

"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."

Worked in TV, film and onstage

Born and raised in rural Fredericktown, Ohio, Perry gained heartthrob status along with Jason Priestley 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.

"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."

Perry's career included roles on TV, film and onstage. He is seen here in 2004 alongside Alyson Hannigan, when the two began rehearsals for a West End theatre production of When Harry met Sally. (Alastair Grant/Associated Press)

He had roles in a handful of films, including The Fifth ElementBuffy the Vampire Slayer8 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.

He had also filmed a role for the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, slated to open later this year.

The same day he was rushed to hospital, Fox TV announced that it would be running a six-episode return of 90210 that features 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 and Canadian actor 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.

Friends, fans pay tribute online

Ian Ziering, a co-star on 90210, paid tribute 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 wrote.

"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."

Other co-stars, peers and fans have also flooded social media with tributes and shared memories.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.