Shannen Doherty says news of Luke Perry's death 'devastated me'

Movie stars, producers including Joss Whedon, and parents who named their children "Dylan" in Perry's honor remember the Beverly Hills, 90210 and Riverdale star.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
4 min read
New York Comic Con 2018 -  Day 4

Luke Perry speaks onstage at the Riverdale Sneak Peek and Q&A during New York Comic Con on Oct. 7, 2018.

Andrew Toth/Getty Images for New York Comic Con

Luke Perry, the actor best known for his role as rebel Dylan McKay on 1990s hit show Beverly Hills, 90210, died on Monday at age 52 after suffering a "massive stroke" last week, CNET sister site CBS News has confirmed.

"He was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiance 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," a representative for Perry's family said in a statement obtained by CBS. "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."

Perry's Dylan, who along with co-star Jason Priestley helped make sideburns cool again in the 1990s, formed a love triangle with Shannen Doherty's Brenda Walsh and Jennie Garth's Kelly Taylor, on Beverly Hills, 90210. That show ran from 1990 to 2000, though Perry's character came and went. 

More recently, he played Archie Andrews' father Fred Andrews on the CW show Riverdale. He also appeared on a number of other television shows, including The Simpsons, Oz, John From Cincinnati, Criminal Minds, and Will & Grace. 

His movie career included the role of Oliver Pike in the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer feature film, as well as numerous other films, including the bull-riding drama 8 Seconds.

Perry's sudden death came as a shock to fans and friends alike.

On Tuesday, the day after the news spread, Perry's long-time romantic co-star Shannen Doherty shared her feelings on Instagram along with photos of the two over the years.

"Yesterday morning I got a phone call that devastated me," she wrote. "I'm struggling with this loss and am having a hard time with my thoughts. But, my heart goes out to his family and friends who were blessed by his light in their (and mine) lives. Processing this is impossible right now."

On Monday when the news broke, actress Molly Ringwald, who played Perry's wife, Mary Andrews, on Riverdale, said in a tweet that, "My heart is broken. I will miss you so much Luke Perry. Sending all my love to your family."

Ian Ziering, who played Steve Sanders with Perry on Beverly Hills, 90210, tweeted a mournful note about the actor. 

"Dearest Luke, I will forever bask in the loving memories we've shared over the last thirty years," Ziering wrote. "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."

Fans shared how Perry had become a part of their lives as well. "My youngest boy was named after Dylan because 90210 was such a huge part of my life growing up," wrote Bridget Short, who surely wasn't the only parent who was inspired to choose that name based on Perry's role.

Actress Leslie Grossman, who appeared with Perry on a 2005 episode of What I Like About You, confessed that she told Perry about an unusual way she idolized him.

"When I was lucky enough to work with Luke Perry I told him about the pillow of his face I used to sleep with and he yelled "You are such a weirdo!" at me and it was the best," Grossman tweeted. "Sending love to his friends and family."

And Joss Whedon, who wrote the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie Perry starred in, recalled Perry's film knowledge.

"The first time I met Luke Perry we talked about what kind of movie we wanted "Buffy" to be," Whedon said in a tweet, "I asked if he'd ever seen (1987 vampire film) 'Near Dark; and he gave me a look of HOW DARE YOU SIR and I knew we'd get along. Funny, committed, and always gracious. He shouldn't be gone.

Just days before Perry's stroke, Fox had announced a revival of 90210, though it wasn't clear if Perry had been scheduled to appear.

The official Twitter account of the Riverdale writers remembered Perry too. "Luke Perry... you were a joyful and vibrant soul," the writers said in a tweet. "You will be missed but most certainly your legacy will be remembered forever. Rest in love and peace, friend."

But it was as Dylan McKay, 90210's surf-loving, motorcycle-riding, Porsche-driving, K2-climbing, sideburns-wearing, brooding bad boy, that Perry will be best remembered, and the actor was fine with that.

"I'm going to be linked with him until I die, but that's actually just fine," Perry told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in 2008. "I created Dylan McKay. He's mine."

Twitter user Gennefer Gross wrote, "I refuse to believe Dylan McKay is no longer with us. To me, he's still hanging out at the Peach Pit after catching some killer waves."

Filming on Perry's current show, Riverdale, was suspended Monday, according to several media outlets.

"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," producers said in a statement. "A father figure and mentor to the show's young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness."

Originally published March 4, 10:59 a.m. PT. 
Update, 11:45 a.m. PT: Adds more reactions to Perry's death.
Update, March 5:  Adds Shannen Doherty reaction.