When I was a child back in the early ’90s, it was all about Beverly Hills, 90210. There were board games, dolls, clothes; no matter where you went, someone was talking about the show. After my mother jumped on the 90210 train when I was in sixth grade, I decided to get on it myself, and I didn’t get off until I finished my freshman year of college in 2000. That was the year the original show went off the air (I didn’t bother with the reboot). From the time the show started until the time it ended, the character that everyone talked about the most was Dylan, played by none other than Luke Perry.
I started watching 90210 when the Dylan-Brenda-Kelly love triangle came to a head, resulting in Dylan choosing Kelly over his long-time love Brenda. It was a choice I never agreed with—even to this day—but nonetheless, Dylan still ended up being one of my favorite characters. He was definitely flawed (a struggling junkie/alcoholic), not to mention brooding, but he was also cute, charming, humble and had a big heart. It was easy to see why he was just about everyone’s favorite character. As a matter of fact, Dylan wasn’t an original member of the show. He was only meant to guest star on one episode, but he made such an impression, Dylan McKay became a permanent part of the series.
He left the show temporarily circa 1995 and came back again sometime around 1998, and his reappearance was all anyone talked about. When he returned, he stayed until the show’s end, and needless to say he stole all the scenes he was in. During and after Beverly Hills, 90210‘s run, I continued to be a fan of Luke Perry’s and I checked out more of his body of work such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the film, not the TV show), The Fifth Element (yes, he was in that movie…check out the first five minutes), Lifebreath (thanks to this film, I refuse to be an organ donor), Oz, The Simpsons, Indiscreet, and Windfall. I have to be honest, Windfall as a whole sucked, but I was really happy to see Luke Perry on TV again. Being even more honest, I was already watching Oz by the time Luke did his stint—I was hooked on that show from the first episode—but when I heard Luke would be guest starring on it, I was psyched. His character’s conclusion on Oz puzzled me for years. As time went on, I didn’t see as much of him, but I never forgot about him. Sadly, I didn’t even realize he played Archie’s father on Riverdale until after he had his stroke. Luke was still a young man, so I hoped he would make it through, but he didn’t.
I remember during a 90210 reunion show, Ian Ziering (the actor that played Steve Sanders) saying that deep down, Luke was a down-to-earth farm boy that loved his family and the simple things in life. I can tell from the outpouring of tweets and Instagram posts that have been released in the last few days that there was definitely truth to that statement. Luke, you will be sorely missed. Thanks so much for helping to shape my childhood.
Coy Luther Perry, III: October 11, 1966 – March 4, 2019
—Written by Nadiya