Luke Perry’s death upends ‘Riverdale’
Luke Perry attending the 2017 CW Upfront in New York City on May 18, 2017.(Van Tine Dennis / ABACA / TNS)
Luke Perry and Shannen Doherty in an undated promotional photo from “Beverly Hills 90210.”(Andrew Semel / Fox)
Luke Perry poses during an interview in New York in 2001.
(Leslie Hassler / AP)
Claudia Schiffer and Luke Perry co-host “The 1995 World Music Awards.”(Craig Sjodin / ABC)
Auctioning off a puppy, Luke Perry plays Santa Claus at the Teddy Bear Ball in 1999.(Handout art)
Luke Perry of the CW’s “Riverdale,” photographed in the L.A. Times Hero Complex photo studio at Comic-Con 2016, in San Diego, July 23, 2016.(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Jason Priestley, left, Luke Perry and Shannen Doherty in an episode of “Beverly Hills 90210.”(Andrew Semel / Fox)
Luke Perry and Alyson Hannigan pose outside the Theatre Royal in London as they start rehearsals for a stage production of ‘When Harry Met Sally...” on Jan. 8, 2004.(Alastair Grant / AP )
Perry, left, with Austin Nichols on the 2007 HBO series “John From Cincinnati.”(John P. Johnson / HBO)
Luke Perry in the 2008 Hallmark Channel television movie “A Gunfighter’s Pledge.”(Hallmark Channel)
Luke Perry and Molly Ringwald on the CW’s “Riverdale.”(Cate Cameron / KTLA)
Luke Perry on “Riverdale” on the CW.(Dean Buscher / The CW)
In this Aug. 6, 2018, file photo, Luke Perry of the CW series “Riverdale” poses for a portrait during the 2018 Television Critics Assn. summer press tour in Beverly Hills.(Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP)
Ashleigh Murray from left, Camilia Mendes, Luke Perry, KJ Apa, Madelaine Petsch, Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse of the CW’s “Riverdale, " photographed in the L.A. Times Hero Complex photo studio at Comic-Con 2016, in San Diego, July 23, 2016.(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Luke Perry attends the 2018 PaleyFest screening of “Riverdale” at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 25, 2018.(Valerie Macon / AFP / Getty Images)
Luke Perry, whose portrayal of bad boy Dylan McKay in “Beverly Hills, 90210” made him a Generation X icon, died Monday after suffering a stroke, prompting mourning and fond remembrances from fans of the teen soap opera, a touchstone of ’90s pop culture. But his death at the age of 52 will also touch fans of another teen soap, the CW drama “Riverdale.” In a sly bit of casting, Perry played Fred Andrews, father of protagonist and heartthrob Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), in the series, which puts a dark spin on the “Archie” comics. “Riverdale’s” mix of milkshakes, murder and illicit drugs in small-town America has been likened to “Twin Peaks” meets “Gossip Girl.”
In a statement, the “Riverdale” team — the CW, Warner Bros. television and executive producers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Jon Goldwater — mourned Perry:
“We are deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Luke Perry. 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. A father figure and mentor to the show’s young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness. Our thoughts are with Luke’s family during this most difficult time.”
It remains to be seen how the series, which is currently airing its third season and has been renewed for a fourth, will deal with Perry’s death. His character, Fred, a single father who runs a construction company, was shot in the first-season finale and is an integral part of the drama, set in the fictional town of Riverdale. Molly Ringwald, another former teen star, played Fred’s estranged wife.
In a rarity for a broadcast drama in 2019, “Riverdale” is popular with young viewers, and appears to have gotten a ratings boost from Netflix, where previous seasons are available to stream days after their linear broadcast concludes.
Perry suffered a stroke on Wednesday, the day after Fox announced a six-episode quasi-reboot of the original “90210” in which the original cast members will play versions of themselves trying to revive the original series. Perry was not involved in the project, which is not expected to go into production for several months.
The original “Beverly Hills, 90210” helped the upstart Fox network establish itself as a favorite of younger viewers who flocked to its edgier programming.
Said the network in a statement, “Luke will always be part of the Fox family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this extremely difficult time. He will be deeply missed.”
The cast of “Riverdale” talk about the new look for the “Archie.”
Follow me @MeredithBlake
From the Emmys to the Oscars.
Get our revamped Envelope newsletter, sent twice a week, for exclusive awards season coverage, behind-the-scenes insights and columnist Glenn Whipp’s commentary.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.