Luke Perry, of ‘90210,’ ‘Riverdale’ fame, dead at 52

Luke Perry
Luke  Perry died Monday after having a “massive” stroke last week. File Photo by John    Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

ByAnnie Martin and Danielle Haynes

March 4 (UPI) — Beverly Hills, 90210 alum and Riverdale star Luke Perry is dead at age 52.

Entertainment Tonight confirmed the actor died Monday after having a “massive” stroke last week.

Perry’s representative, Arnold Robinson, told USA Today Perry’s fiancée, Wendy Madison Bauer, children, 21-year-old son Jack and 18-year-old daughter Sophie, and other family members were by the star’s side when he died.

“He was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fianceé 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,” Robinson said in a statement.

“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,” he added. “No further details will be released at this time.”

Perry was rushed to the hospital last week after having a stroke Wednesday at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Perry’s Riverdale co-stars Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse and former Beverly Hills, 90210 cast mates Shannen Doherty and Ian Ziering were among those to send well-wishes to the actor online.

Doherty, who played Brenda Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210, said in an interview Sunday with Entertainment Tonight she’d been in contact with Perry.

“I can’t talk about it ’cause I will literally start crying, but I love him and he knows I love him,” she said.

Perry portrayed Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Fred Andrews on Riverdale.

Perry, a native of Fredericktown, Ohio, moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school and studying acting. He continued his training in New York, performing in various stage productions and television commercials.

Perry’s first break in television was the role of Ned Bates in the ABC soap opera Loving. He also played the recurring role of Kenny on Another World, an NBC soap opera.

He secured his role as a teen heartthrob, though, in 1990 when he won the 90210 role. He left the show in 1995 to avoid being typecast, but returned for the final two seasons of the show.

In a 2008 interview with Sweden’s Aftonbladet, Perry said he didn’t mind being so closely associated with the iconic role. He was in Sweden at the time shooting the romantic comedy Midsummer Party.

“I’m going to be linked with him until I die, but that’s actually just fine. I created Dylan McKay. He’s mine,” he said.

Later television roles included HBO dramas Oz and John from Cincinnati, Showtime action/drama Jeremiah, in which he played the titular role, and NBC primetime series Windfall.

Perry’s first big movie roles came during his 90210 years: a supporting role opposite Kristy Swanson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and as rodeo legend Lane Frost in 8 Seconds.

He also had roles in The Fifth Element, Attention Shoppers and Redemption Road.

On the stage, Perry played Brad Majors in a Broadway production of The Rocky Horror Show and Harry in When Harry Met Sally in London in 2004. During the latter production, theater-goers recounted how Perry jumped into the audience to help after a chandelier at the West End’s Theatre Royal, Haymarket fell from the ceiling.

“I saw Luke standing about three or four rows from the front,” one witness said. “He was obviously quite concerned to get members of the audience out, as were the rest of the cast. He was very gallant. It was a great performance and it’s a shame it had to end this way.”

At the time of his death, Perry was in the middle of shooting Season 3 of Riverdale, a CW series based on the Archie comics. He played Archie Andrews’ father, Fred Andrews, who owns a construction company. He’s also set to appear in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming mystery flick Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Riverdale executive producers described Perry as a “beloved member” of the series 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,” they said. “A father figure and mentor to the show’s young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness.”

Fox announced plans last week for a 90210 reboot featuring several original stars, although Perry wasn’t attached to the project. He’s shown reluctance in past years to revisit his role in the series. In 2015, he said he wasn’t looking forward to Lifetime’s 90210 tell-all movie.

“I don’t think about it,” Perry said when a reporter asked him about his thoughts on the movie.

When another reporter asked why the unauthorized film doesn’t matter to him, Perry replied, “Third grade — how much does that matter to you? Exactly. It’s just not relevant to anything I’m doing. Next question?”

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