Hollywood ‘heartbroken’ as Luke Perry dies at 52

Luke Perry speaks onstage during New York Comic Con. Picture: Andrew Toth/Getty Images for New York Comic Con
Luke Perry speaks onstage during New York Comic Con. Picture: Andrew Toth/Getty Images for New York Comic Con

LUKE Perry, who gained instant heart-throb status as wealthy rebel Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210, has died after suffering a massive stroke. He was 52.

Perry was surrounded by family and friends when he died on Monday, his publicist Arnold Robinson said. The actor had been hospitalised 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; fiancee 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.

Photo: Getty

The actor’s next big screen role will be alongside Leonardo DiCaprio 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 hospitalised, 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.

Perry in 2004, during a press call for a London stage adaptation of When Harry Met Sally. Photo: Getty

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.

Luke Perry and KJ Apa onstage during New York Comic Con in October last year. Picture: Andrew Toth/Getty Images for New York Comic Con

Hollywood reacts to death of Luke Perry

Hollywood has reacted to the death of actor Luke Perry, who was best known for his roles in Beverly Hills, 90210, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Riverdale.

“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. (hash)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.

Roberrto Aguirre-Sacasa, Luke Perry, Marisol Nichols and Madelaine Petsch. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“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.

“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 (hash)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.

– AP