Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Name: Luke Perry
Birthdate: October 11, 1966
Famous Years: 1990-Present
Currently Known For: As Fred Andrews on Riverdale
|Networth: $10 Million||Famous For: Beverly Hills, 90210; 8 Seconds; and The Fifth Element|
October 11, 1966
As Fred Andrews on Riverdale
Beverly Hills, 90210; 8 Seconds; and The Fifth Element
“I always felt like something of an outsider, but I identified with people on the screen. That made me feel like I wanted to be up on the screen too. I felt like eventually I would get there.” Voted “Biggest Flirt” in the class of 1984 at Fredericktown High School in Ohio, Luke Perry has certainly lived up to his title after all these years. Leaving his hometown behind for the bright lights of Hollywood, Perry spent a few years as a struggling actor before finally coming into his own in the 1990s when he was cast as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210. Instantly earning heartthrob status, Perry wrapped up the show in the new millennium and spent the next decade making cameos in popular series like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Criminal Minds and Body of Proof before finding another teen drama to call home—Riverdale.
Born on October 11, 1966 in Mansfield, Ohio and raised in the neighboring town of Fredericktown, Coy Luther “Luke” Perry III didn't have any ties to show business but that didn’t stop him from dreaming big of one day seeing his name in lights. Determined to see those dreams come true, Perry moved to Los Angeles, California shortly after his high school graduation in 1984 to pursue acting full time. However, he struggled to find his footing and worked a variety of odd jobs before moving to New York where he auditioned for over 200 gigs before his luck finally improved.
Making his first appearance in a television commercial and landing an uncredited role in an episode of Voyagers! in 1982, Perry appeared in a Twisted Sister’s “Bee Chrool to Your Scuel” music video before he made his way to daytime television with recurring roles in popular soap operas like Loving and Another World in the late 1980s. By the next decade, Perry struck gold when he auditioned for the part of Steve Sanders in Aaron Spelling’s teen drama, Beverly Hills, 90210. Although the part of Steve went to Ian Ziering, Spelling had another character in mind for Perry and cast the young actor as the brooding Dylan McKay alongside Ziering, Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth.
Perry embraced his role as McKay and was well-established as a teen heartthrob when he starred on the silver screen in flicks like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Terminal Bliss before he won the part of Lane Frost in 8 Seconds in 1994. By then, his growing interest in film and his desire to move beyond his teenage role became his main priority as he left Beverly Hills, 90210 to pursue more serious roles. Over the next three years, he attempted to break free of his Beverly Hills fame with projects like Normal Life, Invasion, The Fifth Element and The Triangle before returning to Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1998. He stayed for two seasons until the series ended in May 2000, marking Aaron Spelling’s longest running series.
Life after Beverly Hills, 90210 proved more difficult for Perry who spent the next few years making one-episode appearances in Johnny Bravo, Pepper Ann, Family Guy and Night Visions before he was cast as the star of a new sitcom called Jeremiah in 2002. Although the series was canceled in 2004, Perry continued to make the rounds on television with credits in Will & Grace, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Minds but shocked fans when he refused to reprise his role as Dylan McKay in the Beverly Hills, 90210 spinoff series, 90210.
“I’m going to be linked with [Dylan] until I die, but that’s actually just fine. I created Dylan McKay. He’s mine,” Perry said as he shared his reasoning for not joining his former costars in the revival. “When you’re in the professional acting business, you have to look into all these offers and I don’t mean anything bad about it but creatively it’s something I have done before and I don’t know how it will benefit me if I do it again...” He also added, “The difference between CW bringing something back and Aaron Spelling doing something back is significant and I cannot do it without Aaron.”
Despite his refusal, Perry’s career hasn’t suffered as he enjoyed a recurring role in Body of Proof from 2012 to 2013 and made appearances in Community, Major Crimes and The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness. Then, in 2017, he got the second call of a lifetime when he was invited to read the script for a new teen drama, Riverdale. Although he was skeptical at first, he read the script and fell in love with the part of Archie’s father, Fred Andrews. “I wasn’t really into it, but my agent was like, ‘No, no, you’ve got to read it!’ And when I did, it was, ‘Wow!’” Perry admitted.
Although Perry isn’t the star of Riverdale, the 51-year-old father of two is thrilled with his role as KJ Apa’s on-screen dad in the Archie comic. “Well, here’s the deal I made with K.J.,” Perry says. “I’ll play the dad and I’ll let you have the cool hair for the first five or six weeks, then I’m going to start bringing it. I like playing the dad because I like being a dad, and I think it’s a great character in the milieu of this show that I’m the grounded one and I’m the guy who really cares about KJ, who cares about doing a good job and being a good construction worker. I love that.”
As for his return to another teen-type drama, Perry admits that the show has something for audiences of all ages even if he isn’t the heartthrob he once was in the 1990s. “These kids have a sophisticated set of problems that kids didn't have 15 years ago,” he says. “Taking it back to the Archie comic books, primary colors—they had the eight box of Crayola crayons. Now these characters play with the 64-box. They’ve got a lot of colors and a lot of in-between. A lot of stuff you didn’t see coming. There are, taking place between Betty and Veronica, things that you never would have imagined would take place between betty and Veronica, and I love that. They just keep putting great scripts in front of us.”
With great scripts still coming his way, Perry seems to have plenty on the horizon but, for many, he’ll always be the Beverly Hills hunk from the 1990s.