Luke Perry, the actor who rose to prominence as a brash teen heartthrob on Beverly Hills, 90210 before growing into an authority figure in recent years on Riverdale, died on Monday after suffering a massive stroke.
The Beverly Hills 90210 star had been rushed to a California hospital on Wednesday morning from his home in Sherman Oaks, and remained there until his death.
The actor, 52, is survived by his son Jack, 21, and daughter Sophie, 18, from his marriage to ex-wife Rachel Minnie Sharp.
‘He was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé 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,’ said the actor’s publicist 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. No further details will be released at this time.’
Perry, 52, was born and raised in Fredericktown, Ohio.
In 2006, he appeared at a rally for Sherrod Brown’s Senate bid.
“I’m not here because I’m from Hollywood. I’m here because I’m from Ohio,” Perry told the crowd.
“His father delivered me, so when I say I’ve known him my whole life, I’ve known him my whole life,” Perry quipped.
Brown’s father, a doctor, delivered Perry.
“The thing I want to say first and foremost is I don’t do politics. It ain’t my thing. And I don’t play parties. But I do play the man,” Perry said. “And I’ve known this man my entire life,” the performer added of Brown.
Brown, who is considering a White House bid, responded today in a tweet that the “90210” actor “made his home state proud.”
Very saddened by this loss. Luke Perry was not only a talented actor—but a warm, kind person who made his home state proud. My thoughts are with his friends, family, and loved ones. https://t.co/MuSHhLsWOA
— Sherrod Brown (@SherrodBrown) March 4, 2019
Perry left Ohio and moved to Los Angeles after high school to pursue acting.
In 1988, he landed his first acting roles in New York on the daytime soap operas Loving and Another World.
Two years later, he broke through when he was cast as the brooding loner Dylan McKay on the Fox teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210.
The show premiered to poor reviews but soon developed an obsessive cult following, particularly among younger viewers.
It stood out for its unflinching portrayal of issues facing teenagers, including HIV and AIDS, date rape, cancer and teen pregnancy.
Perry’s character was a bad boy with a sensitive streak who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction; he had tempestuous and highly scrutinized relationships with several female characters on the show.
The role turned Perry into a teen idol and landed him on the covers of Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone in 1992.
Hordes followed Perry for all of his public appearances.
In the Rolling Stone cover article, he recounted having to be smuggled out of a mall in a laundry hamper.
And at a 1991 autograph signing in Florida, a crowd of 10,000 fans hoping to meet Perry caused a stampede that sent at least nine people to the hospital.
“I know that a lot of people are casting a very cynical eye my way, in terms of what happens in the future,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m not worried about being a big star. But it makes me nervous when people talk about it like it’s already happened.”
Perry was part of the main cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 for its first six seasons; he departed to pursue other opportunities and then returned for its tenth and final season.
After the show ended, he took on roles in the HBO prison drama Oz and the Showtime post-apocalyptic drama Jeremiah.
In 2001 he appeared on Broadway in The Rocky Horror Show.
Recently, Perry returned to prominence with the CW’s Riverdale, another teen drama.
Perry appeared in all three of the show’s seasons as Fred Andrews, the father of the protagonist Archie Andrews.
“I like playing the dad because I like being a dad,” he told the Hollywood Reporter in 2017.
Perry is slated to appear in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Charles Mason movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as the actor Wayne Maunder.
The film is scheduled for release in July.