Luke Perry, the actor who became a ‘90s icon thanks to his role as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210, and more recently co-starred as Archie’s dad Fred Andrews on The CW’s hit teen soap Riverdale, has died.
Perry was hospitalized last week after suffering a “massive” stroke; according to TMZ, Perry was ultimately unable to recover from the damage he suffered during that stroke, and died this morning surrounded by family at a hospital in Burbank, California. Perry’s publicist has confirmed the news, saying in a statement, “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world. No further details will be released at this time.” He was 52.
Born in the small city of Mansfield, Ohio, Perry moved to Los Angeles after high school to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. After a few years making ends meet as a paver while going on auditions, Perry began getting work, first in Twisted Sister’s “Be Chrool to Your Scuel” video and then on the daytime soap operas Loving and Another World. Those roles led to Perry’s breakout role, as brooding heartthrob Dylan McKay on Fox’s teen soap Beverly Hills, 90210. Although the role made him a wildly popular teen idol, Perry wanted more, and left 90210 in 1995 to pursue more mature roles. He returned in 1998, and stayed on the show until its final season in 2000.
Alongside his work on 90210, Perry starred in a number of films throughout the ‘90s, including the original film version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992), the indie crime drama Normal Life (1996), and the Italian snowboarding comedy Vacanze di Natale ‘95 (1995), where he played himself. He also played himself on The Simpsons’ season four episode “Krusty Gets Kancelled,” the first in a long series of voice roles. In the early 2000s, Perry played Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier on HBO’s gritty prison drama Oz; he returned to HBO later in the decade for a supporting role on the short-lived series John From Cincinnati in 2007.
In 2016, in a cheeky nod to his teen-idol past, Perry took on the role of Fred Andrews, long suffering father of Archie (K.J. Apa), on The CW’s Riverdale. That show is currently in its third season, with a fourth reportedly on the way later this year. Last summer, Perry also filmed a role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, where he plays Wayne Maunder, a real person who starred in the Western TV series Lancer in the late ‘60s. That film is due out in July.
Reactions to Perry’s death have been pouring in on social media from friends and colleagues, who praise Perry’s character and express shock and sadness at his death: