Luke Perry, who gained instant heartthrob status on the television series “Beverly Hills, 90210” and is connected to Oklahoma by way of a rodeo figure who died young, died Monday after suffering a massive stroke, his publicist said. He was 52.
Perry was surrounded by family and friends when he died, publicist Arnold Robinson said. The actor had been hospitalized since last Wednesday, after a 911 call summoned medical help to his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles.
“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,” Robinson said in a statement. At Perry’s bedside were his children, Jack and Sophie; fiancée, Wendy Madison Bauer; and his former wife, Minnie Sharp.
Perry played easy-to-like bad boy Dylan McKay in “Beverly Hills, 90210.” The aimed-at-youths prime-time drama made Perry a household name, and he capitalized by snaring movie roles. He starred in the 1994 film “8 Seconds” about the life of Oklahoma cowboy Lane Frost, who was fatally injured when he was rammed by a bull at the 1989 Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. Frost, who died at age 25, was a 1982 graduate of Atoka High School and is buried near his hero, Freckles Brown, at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hugo.
Perry’s work in “8 Seconds” drew critical acclaim. A New York Times review described Perry’s “strong, persuasive portrayal” of Frost as the movie’s happiest surprise. A Tulsa World review of the film said this: “Played with honest simplicity by Luke Perry, Lane Frost is portrayed as the darlin’ of the rodeo circuit: tossling the hair of freckle-faced autograph seekers, courting his sweetheart by talking nice to her mom, settling barroom brawls with folksy diplomacy and taking the relentless ribbing of his cob-rough partners (who call him ‘purdy boy’) with a good-natured grin.”
Though Perry is most well-known for “Beverly Hills, 90210,” which ran from 1990 to 2000, the Fredericktown, Ohio, native was recently introduced to a new generation of viewers in another youth-oriented drama, “Riverdale,” which presents a dark take on characters from the Archie comics universe. Perry is Fred Andrews, Archie’s father, in the CW series.
Perry appeared in soap operas prior to his time on “90210.” He was in the HBO series “Oz,” the Showtime series “Jeremiah” and other TV series in between his stints on “90210” and “Riverdale.”
On the day Perry was hospitalized, Fox TV announced plans to air a six-episode return of “90210” featuring most of the original cast, but Perry was not among cast members announced for the project.
Ian Ziering, a “90210” co-star, was among many who paid tribute Monday to Perry on social media.
“I will forever bask in the loving memories we’ve shared over the last thirty years,” Ziering posted on Twitter. “May your journey forward be enriched by the magnificent souls who have passed before you, just like you have done here, for those you leave behind.”
In addition to “8 Seconds,” Perry’s film work includes “The Fifth Element,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “American Strays.”
Perry was one of two actors to play Frost in “8 Seconds.” The other was child actor Cameron Finley, who played a younger version of Frost.