I spent the last hour looking at photographs of Luke Perry: a lump in my throat and a little choked up, because I feel as though a part of my tween years has died along with the wonderful and warm Luke Perry.
Luke Perry died today after complications of a major stroke he had last week. A note released by his publicist, Arnold Robinson, said, “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”.
To steal my friend LeighAnn’s quote from her Instagram, “The turn of the century. We all fell in love and made him our boyfriend.”
And that he did. Every girl I knew loved Brandon Walsh, but I wanted Dylan McKay. Perry played the bad boy with the heart of gold better than anyone. You grew with him and felt every part of who he was. Beverly Hills 90210 was the show that brought me through high school and into college. It was a part of the zeitgeist of 1990s. It defined a generation of us and taught us how to deal with situations once only taught in an after-school special. But Beverly Hills 90210 would not be what it was without Dylan McKay and that also means without Luke Perry.
He had gone on to co-star in films like the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He also played professional bull riding champion, Lane Frost, in 8 Seconds. He had a string of television appearances after his height of stardom, in shows like Oz, Jerimiah, and John from Cincinnati. Most recently he has been a prime fixture of prime-time television, playing Fred Andrews, father of Archie on Riverdale. His final role with be in the movie directed by Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The movie is set to debut in July.
Luke Perry was much more than just a Hollywood actor. He was a father. He was a fiancé. He was a friend to the many people that had worked with him over the years, as you can see from the outpouring of condolences sweeping social media. The Today Show posted a video of an interview with Maria Shriver and in it Luke says, “When my time here is up, I don’t want to look back and see that I didn’t do anything. And by that I mean I didn’t have any effect on anything else.” I think I can safely say that Luke Perry had an effect on many, many, many people’s lives and we were all the better from being able to enjoy the gift of your acting and your kindness. That is something that will stay with us always.
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