“BEVERLY HILLS 90210,” ”RIVERDALE” Star LUKE PERRY DEAD at 52

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When Fox premiered the legendary Aaron Spelling-produced teen drama “Beverly Hills 90210” in 1990, one of its biggest draws was understandably its cast of fresh young stars. One of them was Luke Perry, who portrayed the solitary Dylan McKay. From this start he built a solid career in showbiz, with roles on TV and film as either live actor or voice talent. His most recent commitment, again with Fox, is as Fred Andrews, father of Archie Andrews on the mystery teen drama “Riverdale.” While its season 3 is winding down and preparatory work yet to start on the fourth, Perry suddenly suffered a stroke that would later claim his life.

The Hollywood Reporter has it that actor Luke Perry passed away on Sunday, March 4 in Burbank California from complications following a stroke that he suffered the week before, on February 28. He was only 52 years old. His representative Arnold Robinson said that Perry died surrounded by his family, including his children, ex-wife and Wendy Madison Bauer, his current fiancée. “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,” concluded Robinson’s statement, adding that no further details will be shared yet to the public.

Perry had been placed under observation since last Wednesday following his stroke. Coincidentally, that event happened just as Fox had announced that a six-episode limited series revival of the show that made him a household name, “Beverly Hills 90210,” was to debut this summer. Six of the original series cast were announced to return, except Perry. This is separate from the “90210” spinoff that ran five seasons from 2008 to 2013. Both his costars and Fox have already extended their condolences to the actor’s family.

Luke Perry played Dylan in “Beverly Hills 90210” from the beginning of the series. He departed in 1995 to explore new acting opportunities and to avoid having his name be connected to the character. Nevertheless he returned in 1998 to reprise as Dylan, and since then has wholly owned up to his career-defining role. Among his accomplishments are voice-acting stints in “Biker Mice from Mars” (original and reboot), “The Incredible Hulk” and “Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm.” Other TV series outings include “Oz” on HBO and guest stints on “Will & Grace” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

With Perry’s death, the future of his character Fred Andrews on “Riverdale” will need to be discussed. Production had indeed halted on the Fox series following the announcement of his passing. Incidentally, Fred had almost been killed in the first season finale, but survived to remain a prominent supporting character.

Image courtesy of Chicago Tribune

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