Reported by gossip-site TMZ but subsequently confirmed by his publicist, comes the sad news that Luke Perry has passed away at the age of 52. Perry was found at his home last week and it is believed he suffered a massive stroke earlier that day. He was rushed to hospital and his condition carefully monitored.
The actor rose to prominence in seminal 80s series Beverly Hills 90210, playing the rebellious Dylan McKay, though he also appeared in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film that went on to inspire the cult tv series.
In 2001-2002, he played the role of zealous preacher Jeremiah Cloutier in the acclaimed prison drama Oz. Over the last decade he had done a lot of voice work for animated series as well as appearing in shows such as Jeremiah and John From Cincinnati and in 2017 took the role of Fred Andrews (father to ‘Archie’) in the CW‘s Riverdale. He had also filmed a role for Tarantino’s upcoming feature film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Ironically, last week also marked an announcement of a semi-reinvention / pseudo-reality version of the 90210 show featuring the main cast playing heightened versions of themselves considering a revival. Though most of the main cast ahd signed up for it, Perry was not one of the main cast confirmed (the other was Shannon Doherty) but the producers had said that there was an understanding Perry would appear in some capacity and is as many episodes as he had time for given his current commitments to Riverdale. On news of his condition, his 90210 co-stars sent wishes for a full and speedy recovery, but it’s now understood that the medically-induced coma mentioned in initial reports was actually of a case of the actor having to undergo heavy sedation while doctors tried to determine the degree that the massive stroke had caused harm. Sadly, there was no path to recovery.
Perry died surrounded by friends and family and his publicist, Arnold Robinson, issued a short statement: “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.”
It is not known if Perry’s death with alter plans for the 90210 revival, but production on Riverdale was shut down following the news. Show-runner Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Jon Goldwater, WBTV and the CW issued a joint statement…
“We are deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Luke Perry. A beloved member of the Riverdale, Warner Bros. and CW family, Luke was everything you would hope he would be: an incredibly caring, consummate professional with a giant heart, and a true friend to all. A father figure and mentor to the show’s young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness. Our thoughts are with Luke’s family during this most difficult time.”