Beverly Hills, 90210 and Riverdale star Luke Perry has died due to complications of a stroke. He was 52 years old. According to TMZ, Perry passed away Monday morning at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California. A representative for Perry released the following statement: “Actor Luke Perry, 52, passed away today after suffering a massive stroke. 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. 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 suffered a “major stroke” last Thursday (February 28th), which caused brain damage and led doctors to put him in sedation, TMZ reports. Unfortunately, his condition never improved.
Born in Mansfield, Ohio on October 11, 1966, Perry was raised in Fredericktown, where his father worked at a nearby steel mill and his mother stayed at home with the family. Shortly after high school, Perry decided to pursue acting and moved out to Los Angeles.
It wasn’t easy for the young Midwesterner. Upon arrival, Perry had better luck as a paver, living in and around the Hollywood area as he continued to audition for roles. He had once stated he tried out for over 215 acting jobs before finally scoring a TV commercial.
However, it was his appearance in Twisted Sister’s music video for “Be Chrool to Your Scuel”, which even starred Alice Cooper, that began to turn heads. From there, he was able to secure spots in daytime soap operas such as Loving and Another World.
Of course, his big breakthrough came when he was cast on Fox’s Beverly Hills, 90210 as Dylan McKay. As the troubled son of a millionaire, McKay was the de facto bad boy of the series, a trademark that would quickly shadow the actor around Hollywood.
Naturally, his star power nabbed him theatrical roles throughout the ’90s. Among the many highlights included Oliver Pike in Joss Whedon’s original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, rodeo legend Lane Frost in John G. Avildsen’s 8 Seconds, and Billy Masterson in Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element.
Throughout the aughts, Perry continued to stake a claim in TV, having appeared in 10 episodes of HBO’s Oz as Rev. Jeremiah Cloutier, two seasons of Showtime’s Jeremiah, and 10 episodes of HBO’s cruelly underrated John from Cincinnati.
More recently, Perry had been making waves in The CW’s Riverdale playing Archie’s father Fred Andrews opposite Molly Ringwald. The series is currently on its third season and its unclear how they’ll proceed in the wake of his death.
Perry’s last theatrical role will be in Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in which he’ll be playing legendary actor Wayne Ernest Maunder.
Last week, FOX announced plans to reboot Beverly Hills, 90210 with many of the show’s original cast members in a more meta narrative. Perry, however, was not included in the announcement.
Perry is survived by his two children, Jack and Sophie.