Luke Perry, actor known for Beverly Hills, 90210, dead at 52
Featured in Vancouver-shot Riverdale, actor was hospitalized last week after stroke
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."
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.
"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."
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.
He had also filmed a role for the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, slated to open later this year.
My heart is broken. I will miss you so much Luke Perry. Sending all my love to your family. ❤️ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LukePerry?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LukePerry</a>—@MollyRingwald
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.
Dearest Luke,<br>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.—@IanZiering
"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.
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 ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/xv2lsUCSpS">pic.twitter.com/xv2lsUCSpS</a>—@ashabrom
Luke Perry was a character actor in the body of a heartthrob. <br><br>Much respect. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIPLukePerry?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIPLukePerry</a> <a href="https://t.co/rqNxPgUoAN">https://t.co/rqNxPgUoAN</a>—@MrJonCryer
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