Luke Perry has tragically died at the young age of 52; the result of the massive stroke that he suffered last Wednesday.
As TMZ confirms, Perry passed away Monday morning at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, CA, where he was surrounded by his children, Jack and Sophie, fiance Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, step-father Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and “other close family and friends.”
While fans today are enjoying Perry’s personal Renaissance on The CW’s hit series, Riverdale, as Fred Andrews, the father of Archie, anyone who came of age during early 1990s will always remember Perry as Dylan McKay; a role that made him arguably the breakout star of Fox’s Beverly Hills, 90210, the 1990-2000 Aaron Spelling-developed television phenomenon that set its handprint firmly in the zeitgeist cement during the acid-wash-jeans era. Indeed, Perry shone amongst an ensemble – consisting of Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley, Ian Ziering, Jennie Garth, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling and (future SAG president) Gabrielle Carteris – who would all gain household name status.
His 90210 run reached a stratospheric high that very few have achieved (or ever will); a career that started humbly just a few years before the Fox phenom, in 1988, with brief roles on soaps Loving and Another World. Using his certified heartthrob status achieved from 90210, Perry would test the waters with early-90s film roles in Terminal Bliss, Scorchers and, perhaps most memorably, in the franchise-launching original 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie as the love interest to Kristy Swanson’s original version of the fated cheerleader-turned-slayer.
Perry’s initial 90210 run ended when he left the show in 1995, but he would return in 1998 to see the show wrap its run in 2000 – appropriately as the sun just set on the decade it helped define. Afterwards, Perry continued to hustle, managing to nab intriguing roles, notably redefining himself as a man of the cloth as Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier in HBO’s gritty prison drama, Oz, which he followed with TV runs on NBC drama Windfall (opposite future Once Upon a Time star Lana Parrilla) and joined Sean Astin and Malcolm-Jamal Warner in the apocalyptic sci-fi series, Jeremiah. He’d later return to HBO as the co-star of the hyped-but-short-lived drama, John from Cincinnati, and later fielded notable runs on crime drama Ties That Bind and ABC forensic procedural Body of Proof.
As a statement from Riverdale executive producers Greg Berlanti, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Sarah Schechter and Jon Goldwater; Warner Bros. Television; and The CW reads:
“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.”
Perry’s passing is a stunning loss for everyone, be it fans of Riverdale or 90210, the latter of which was just on the cusp of a revival – this time continuing the original series with the original cast. Indeed, it represents the passing of an era, albeit a premature one, since 52 is far too young to pass away from health causes of any kind.
We at Den of Geek wish to convey our condolences to the family and friends of Luke Perry, whose memory will live on forever in the entertainment annals.