Sadly, actor Luke Perry passed away today at 52, following complications from a massive stroke. The actor, best known for playing handsome rake Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210 in the 1990s, had been placed in a medically induced coma prior to his death. His rep confirmed his passing on Monday.
Perry had most recently starred in The CW’s Riverdale series as Archie’s dad, Fred Andrews, but he also had a prolific career spanning nearly 30 years before that. In fact, to date, the beloved actor had starred in 49 movie roles and 34 television roles. According to Variety, production has temporarily shut down on Riverdale due to Luke Perry’s passing. The actor’s work will be displayed in several more unaired episodes of the popular series, and he’ll also be on the big screen one more time in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
His family has received an outpouring of support from his former Beverly Hills, 90210 alum, other celebrities, and fans who know him from his many acting roles. The executive producers of Riverdale released a statement about the star’s passing, one which was shared on Twitter by Archie Comics.
“We are deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Luke Perry… Luke was everything you would hope he would be: an incredibly caring, consummate professional with a giant heart, and a true friend to all.”
In the wake of his passing, here’s a look back at some of the forgotten moments of the former teen heartthrob’s illustrious career.
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Before vampire slayer Buffy, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, kicked vampire butt in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kristy Swanson was the original slayer in the 1992 film of the same name. Luke Perry played character Oliver Pike. Perry’s character goes simply by Pike in the movie, and he played Buffy’s hard-partying boyfriend. Pike additionally fought alongside her throughout the film.
The Joss Whedon-created TV series was superior in many ways, according to many fans — especially where the character of Buffy is concerned. On the other hand, according to Fandom, there are some fans that don’t agree with that notion. For instance, in one part of the “Halloween” comic issue, a group of vampires is sitting around watching a Luke Perry flick. One vampire, obviously a fan of the former teen heartthrob, turns to another and says, “That show blew it by letting him go.” The statement was an obvious reference to Luke Perry’s character, Oliver Pike, being absent from the TV series. Of course, we did get David Boreanaz as Angel as a consolation.
2. Will & Grace
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Luke Perry once said of his role on Beverly Hills, 90210 — as Dylan McKay — that he would “be linked with him until I die, but that’s actually just fine. I created Dylan McKay. He’s mine.” However, in 1997, Luke Perry broke from his stereotype of the handsome heterosexual bad boy to guest-star as a gay man in the sitcom Spin City. He played Spence Kaymer, Carter Heywood’s ex-boyfriend, who later falls in love with a woman in the episode “Kiss Me, Stupid.”
Perry once again played a gay man on Will & Grace in the 2005 episode “The Birds and the Bees.” The hilarious episode featured Perry playing a goofy birdwatcher who is mistaken as a peeping tom by Grace. The smokin’ hot geek gets Jack McFarland’s pulse to race, and, per IMDb, Jack becomes very interested in this extremely “rare species of gay man.”
3. The Fifth Element
The 1997 science-fiction action film The Fifth Element was a commercial success. The unusual movie featured the likes of actors Bruce Willis, Ian Holm, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker, and Milla Jovovich. Luke Perry played a bit role as character Billy Masterson, who makes the case for stricter gun control laws by pretty much-ruining everything and setting actions in motion for the rest of the film.
Per Dorkly, before moviegoers remember he’s in this movie, Perry enters the scene — and screws up everything royally. As Billy Masterson, he waves a tiny pistol around when he is freaked out by a large group of (unbeknownst to him) friendly aliens. His priest friend has been in on a deal with the advanced alien race, but the inept Masterson causes the gun to go off as the priest tries to get him to calm down. The gunshot causes a security mechanism to be triggered, and the temple walls start to close in. Almost everyone is killed, but one of the friendly aliens is able to get a vital temple key to one of the human servants before he is terminated.
Luke Perry starred alongside Malcolm-Jamal Warner in the Showtime post-apocalyptic TV series Jeremiah from 2002 to 2004. WatchMojo, via YouTube, lists Jeremiah as one of the “Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic TV Shows,” and the late actor starred as loner Jeremiah. The plot revolved around survivors left behind after the adult population was eradicated by a deadly disease.
Although the series was set to have a five-season run, it was canceled when Showtime decided to step away from science fiction programming.
Luke Perry starred in the popular HBO TV series Oz. The series ran for six seasons, and it was about the fictional Oswald State Correctional Facility. Perry played the Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier, who came to Oz in Season 4. Formerly a well-known and respected pastor before he was caught and convicted for embezzling funds from his parish, he is allowed — by the prison authorities — to continue his role, preaching to the inmates. Although he converted many of the inmates, including biker gang and Aryan Nation members to Christianity, this was what eventually led to his doom on Oz.
Honorable Mention — Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
The episode “Trials” from the crime procedural show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit featured Luke Perry as a slimy villain. The episode is worth an honorable mention because Perry’s role was just that good. Perry even won a People’s Choice Award in 1999 for ‘Favorite Scene Stealing Guest Star’ for playing Noah Sibert, a serial rapist that married one of the women he raped.
One social media user was quick to point out on Twitter that the “Trials” episode was on the USA Network yesterday, as part of a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit marathon. Others reacted incredulously to seeing Perry in the episode, especially in light of today’s tragic news.
I know we’re all talking about 90210 and Riverdale but Luke Perry gave a dramatic performance on Law + Order: SVU that’s worth looking up. ❤️— m. dickson (@_mdickson) March 4, 2019