A titan of television has passed away, as Luke Perry – a former heartthrob who found fame on ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ in the 1990s – has died after being hospitalized for a stroke. He was 52.
Fans of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 and Riverdale are in mourning. Luke Perry, whose role as Dylan McKay left 1990s kids swooning, passed away on March 4 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California. This tragic news comes after Luke was hospitalized after he reportedly suffered a massive stroke on Feb. 27. His reps told the publication that the doctors had sedated Luke following his stroke in hopes of giving his brain a “fighting chance” to recover from the trauma. Sadly, the damage was too much for him to overcome. HollywoodLife.com has reached out for a statement and will update this post with any further information. Update: his rep released a statement below.
Meanwhile, Chris Nassif, Luke Perry’s agent during his years on Beverly Hills, 90210, released the following statement after his passing: “Luke will be missed, a friend gone way too soon. It seems like yesterday that I was Luke’s agent negotiating his role on Beverly Hills, 90210. I would like to express my condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Luke suffered a stroke when a “certain area of the brain experiences a sudden onset of lack of blood supply,” Dr. Dexter Sun EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife.com when discussing his condition. As to why Luke was sedated, Dr. Sun explained that “inducing a coma can improve the chances of survival and decrease the residual neurologic problems… Sedation is a lighter procedure, usually done to prevent the patient from having seizures or from moving. The current treatment is often administering a medicine called TPA [tissue plasminogen activator], one of the so-called clot-busting drugs, that can help to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow to the brain in an effort to minimize the long term damage that’s done to the brain.”
Tragically, Luke’s death comes on the heels of news of a 90210 reunion. On Feb. 27, Fox announced plans to reunite the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210, according to USA Today. Original stars Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling were set to return. Luke and Shannen Doherty were not on board (as he was presumably too busy with his commitments to Riverdale) but a cameo from Dylan — sadly, until his death — was not off the books.
Ziering, who was one of the first co-stars to mourn Luke, tweeted, “Dearest Luke, 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.”
Since his death, friend Sarah Michelle Gellar posted a moving message about Luke on Instagram, writing, “My entire high school experience was shaped by Brenda and Dylan. Now I have to hold my dear friend @theshando hand, while she mourns the loss of #lukeperry This is not how it’s supposed to happen. I hope his family knows many lives he touched. ‘I chose. I chose you. I want you. I’ve always wanted you’ – my favorite quote.”
Born Coy Luther Perry III in Mansfield, Ohio, Luke grew up in the Midwest before relocating to Los Angeles in pursuit of an acting career. His earliest roles were in daytime soap operas, as he was Ned Bates in Loving and Kenny on ten episodes of Another World. His breakout role came in 1990, when he was cast as the enigmatic loner Dylan on the Fox teen drama, Beverly Hills, 90210.
“So my character, Dylan, was a poor little rich kid — everybody thinks he’s got everything going, and it’s just not always that great — but he drove a cool car and had cool hair,” Dylan told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. “There was a running joke in the wardrobe department: People are going to be watching for the clothes. Get ’em upscale and get ’em trendy.” The move worked, as Luke became a teen idol, captivating hearts of millions. He stayed with the show until 1995, before leaving the show to pursue more mature roles. After appearing in a few TV movies, the independent feature Normal Life and the sci-fi adventure The Fifth Element, he returned to 90210 in 1998.
Luke’s rep just sent out this statement. RIP. pic.twitter.com/rrSpzR8IiN
— Elizabeth Wagmeister (@EWagmeister) March 4, 2019
After 90210 went off the air in 2000, Luke appeared as Revered Jeremiah Cloutier in the HBO prison Drama Oz; starred in TV series like Jeremiah, Windfall and John From Cincinnati; and pursued an extensive voice-acting career, lending his voice to shows like Biker Mice from Mars, Pepper Ann, Clone High, and The Simpsons (where he played himself as Krusty the Clown’s half-brother.) Luke continued to appear in television shows and movies, though his career would experience a renaissance when he landed the role of Frederick “Fred” Andrews, on Riverdale. The chance to portray Archie’s father allowed Luke to flex his acting muscles in a new way.
“I like playing the dad because I like being a dad, and I think it’s a great character in the milieu of this show that I’m the grounded one, and I’m the guy who really cares about [K.J. Apa, who portrays Archie], who cares about doing a good job and being a good construction worker. I love that,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017. “What you see on the screen is very much what you get. We have a real, honest communication between the two of us. I’ve met K.J.’s mom and dad, and I feel like that’s who I work for. I’ve told them, “I will look after your son as if he were my own,” and, in that regard, I do.”
Luke was married to Rachel Minnie Sharp from 1993 to 2003. The two welcomed two children into the world – daughter Sophie, (born June 7, 2000) and son Jack (born June 15, 1997). Jack is better known as professional wrestler “Jungle Boy” Nate Coy, who signed with All Elite Wrestling in 2019.