Fans are mourning the loss of Luke Perry, who rose to stardom as teen heartthrob Dylan Mckay on Beverly Hills, 90210 and more recently, had a career resurgence playing Fred Andrews on CW’s drama Riverdale. Perry died Monday at the age of 52 from complications of the stroke he suffered in his Los Angeles home Wednesday morning.
Born in Mansfield, Ohio (located between Cleveland and Columbus), Perry broke into the business in the late 1980s, appearing on soaps Loving and Another World. But his big break came in 1990 when he was cast as Dylan in Beverly Hills, 90210, a drama series who attracted a huge teen and young adult following, achieving complete stardom and teen heartthrob status (although he was in his mid-20s – pointed out by many.)
Perhaps the best storyline of any show in the 1990s was Dylan dating Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) over her parents’ objections – then getting involved in a love triangle with her and Kelly (Jennie Garth). While NBC had the “Must-See TV” slogan Thursday nights during the decade, this more than qualified for the monkier – even more so.
Amid a ratings decline, Perry left the series after the sixth season to focus on movies but returned in the ninth, staying until the series wrapped in 2000. His theatrical career didn’t exactly take off, but did appear in films such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer (which spawned the TV series of the same name), Terminal Bliss, and The Fifth Element.
Perry was also an accomplished voice actor, lending his talents to animated series such Biker Mice From Mars and Pepper Ann. Perry even poked fun at himself, voicing himself in The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Johnny Bravo.
After 90210 ended, Perry played a religious character, Jeremiah Cloutier for ten episodes on the TV series Oz. He would go on to play Jeremiah in an unrelated series in the title of the same name, airing on Showtime between 2002 and 2004.
Other series were Perry appeared included Spin City, Will & Grace, Windfall, John From Cincinnati, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Criminal Minds, where he played a cult leader.
In 2016, Perry was cast as construction company owner Fred Andrews in Riverdale, a dark adaption of the classic comic book series, playing Archie’s (KJ Apa) father. Even though Riverdale is far from the teen and young adult phenomenon 90210 was, the series does have a decent teen and young adult following, introducing a new generation to Perry’s work.
As reported here last week, Fox announced a revival of 90210 (the second, following the 2008-13 sequel series), where six of the cast members of the series would reunite. Perry was mentioned as making a few appearances as his work on Riverdale allowed, but was yet to be signed.
Perry is survived by two children, daughter Sophie (age 21) and Jack (age 18).
If a loved one appears to be having a stroke, notice the signs. Getting medical help quickly can make all the difference.