His death was announced moments after I published my post yesterday, and I found myself sort of needing a minute to absorb it. I was a senior in high school when Beverly Hills 90210 debuted and just a little too old to have crushes on these 25-year-old actors who were playing high school students younger than me. But after resisting the series for a year or two, I, like everyone else my age, succumbed to its cheesy charms, and Luke Perry became a part of my pop culture universe.
Recently, Perry had starred on Riverdale as the parent of a high schooler. Fittingly, his son on the show is younger than my very real high school senior. (And in fact, the actor who plays his son is some four years older than my son — not quite the seven-year difference between Perry and me, but close enough.) Perry had once again entered my pop culture realm as one of my peers and once again, somehow, was playing someone who was supposed to be younger than me.
And maybe that’s why it was such a shock that he died: he was one of my peers, he was someone roughly my age, and he just … died. It wasn’t because of an overdose or after years of hard living, it wasn’t a tragic car accident, it wasn’t a murder. He just … died. He was 52 and he died and that is a thing that sometimes happens.
But the other part of the shock of his death is that from all accounts, he was a genuinely kind person who never took his Hollywoodness seriously. Of course his cast mates from 90210 and Riverdale paid lovely tributes to him (they are below), but it was the stories from people who had real, very human interactions with him that reveal the really nice person he was:
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I’m praying for Luke Perry today. This is a man who drove to Chatsworth, CA to visit one of his biggest fans in the hospital, stayed for an hour, called later to check in – with no agenda or press. He is a great person & that’s his dog Angel & I’m just sad for him & hope he has a full & fast recovery. 🙏🏼♥️
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I only met him once but the story is too good not tell given todays sad events. My wife and I are on a plane back from Mexico. Couple of rows ahead of us, these two brothers, young kids, are beating the hell out of eachother. Their poor parents are powerless to stop the crying, yelling and screaming. If you're a parent you understand. Sometimes there's nothing you can do. It was like this for close to two hours. Then about 10 minutes before landing it starts to get real bad. Out of no where, a man comes from first class. Hat, beard, sunglasses, blowing up a balloon. He ties it off, hands it off like he's holding out a sword to a king. Kneeling, Head down, arms up. Kids calm down in milliseconds. Plane damn near bursts into applause. 15 minutes longer and it probably would have started WWIII, but we landed before that could happen. We get off the plane, are waiting on line in customs. Finally get a good look at the guy and I say to my wife "Holy shit. I think that balloon man/hero" is Luke Perry". As luck would have it we end up standing next to each other. Out of the blue he turns to me and says some kind words about Fargo, which kinda blew my mind. I start singing his praises about how long I've admired him and also about the move with the balloon. "That's a pro move! You can't teach that!" I say. He tells me he always flies with a couple of balloons for that very reason, to give to screaming kids. Don't know if that's true, but have no reason to believe it wasn't. Guy seemed like a true gent. Gone way too damn soon. Also, I'll be damned if I don't start traveling with some spare balloons 🎈🎈🎈 #promove #rip #lukeperry #truegent
His 90210 family mourned him:
Shannen Doherty told People Magazine: “I am in shock. Heartbroken. Devastated by the loss of my friend. I have so many memories with Luke that make me smile and that are forever imprinted on my heart and mind. Luke was a smart, quiet, humble and complex man with a heart of gold and never-ending well of integrity and love. Luke reached out to me during my cancer journey and we picked right back up, albeit older and wiser, but that connection remained intact…There is a special kind of love one has for each other when you are experiencing the journey we did on 90210 and of course life in general… I will miss him every day. Every minute. Every second.”
Also to People Magazine, Jennie Garth said, “My heart is broken. He meant so much to so many. Such a very special person. I share my deep sadness with his family and all who loved him. Such a terrible loss.”
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Dearest Luke, I will forever bask in the loving memories we've shared over the last thirty years. 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. God please give him a seat close to to you, he deserves it.
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With the heaviest of hearts, I am stunned and devastated to tell you that Luke passed away. I am still in shock and I have no words beyond saying he was a truly kind gentleman. He will be mourned and missed by everyone who knew him and the millions who love him. RIP, dearie Luke. Your time here was far too short. 💔💔💔
As did his Riverdale family. The show has temporarily shut down production.
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Woke up this morning a ball of tears. Luke Perry was the kindest, warmest, most loving human being. He always went out of his way to make me feel safe, heard and seen in his presence. I love you so much Luke. You embraced me on that set and eased any discomfort. You always made me feel included when I did not. You are a stand up man and for that I am so grateful. Thank you for being a ray of light for me and so many ❤️
And then there’s the Buffy stuff, which is my personal one degree of Luke Perry. As I noted last week, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the first movie my cousin worked on when he moved to Los Angeles, and according to him, Luke Perry was just a really nice, humble guy, even in the height of the 90210 mania.
Finally, this isn’t about Luke Perry the person, but rather his Buffy character and how Pike was Buffy’s best boyfriend. But then it kinda is about Luke Perry the person because for a whole generation, he was our best (imaginary) boyfriend.
In Non-Luke Perry News
The new head of HBO is already casting doubt on the Game of Thrones spinoff and I SWEAR TO GOD, IF YOU DON’T GO FORWARD WITH THIS PREQUEL AND I HAVE TO COME UP THERE AND ARYA STARK YOU, GREENBLATT, I WILL DO IT.
Meanwhile, CLEGANEBOWL! CLEGANEBOWL! CLEGANEBOWL!
Black TV creators are not going to apologize for using the N-word. Nor should they.
PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH ANDREA MARTIN, SHE IS A DUAL-NATIONAL TREASURE.
Meanwhile, in response to that New Yorker article about how Trump and Fox News are too cozy, Trump tweeted a bunch of quotes from … Fox News:
We are still in the middle of the Leaving Neverland drama. The second half of the documentary aired on HBO last night, followed by a special interview of the two subjects by Oprah Winfrey, herself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Jackson fans were UNHAPPY with Oprah.
Vanity Fair takes another look at Macaulay Culkin’s testimony in Michael Jackson’s criminal trial. He testified that Jackson never sexually abused him. However, if you watched the documentary, so much of his testimony will sound eerily familiar. Corey Feldman also came forward recently to again state that Michael Jackson did not abuse him. It’s entirely possible that Jackson did not abuse either Culkin or Feldman, both of whom were famous in their own rights and therefore made for less vulnerable targets. However whether or not Jackson abused them, it does not negate the experiences of these other men.
Meanwhile, the prosecutors in the criminal case believe had Robson and Safechuck testified truthfully as children, Jackson would have been convicted. And here’s a reminder that there were people who worked for Jackson — and even his own sister — who spoke out at the time.
This Vulture piece compares Leaving Neverland to Abducted in Plain Sight, particularly in how pedophiles groom not only their victims but their victims’ parents.
- Superstore has been renewed for a fifth season on NBC.
- No Activity has been renewed for a third season at CBS All Access.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will send after season 7.
- Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate is coming to Netflix.
- Gone Hollywood, a drama about a talent agency in the 80s, is being developed at FX.
- Last Call at Elaine’s, a drama about the famous New York restaurant, is being developed into a series.
- The Jonas Brothers will have a documentary on Amazon.
- A documentary about the Thai cave rescue will be on Nat Geo.
- Law & Order: Hate Crimes will not be happening this season. GEE, WHY, JUSSIE SMOLLET?
- Fran Drescher is joining the NBC comedy pilot, Uninsured.
- Jane Curtin has been cast in the ABC comedy pilot United We Fall.
- Nathalie Kelley is going to star in ABC’s comedy The Baker and the Beauty. So I guess she’s not returning to Dynasty.
- Sam Jaeger is joining CBS All Access’ Why Women Kill.
- Santiago Cabrera and Michelle Hurd have been added to the cast of CBS All Access’ Picard series.
- Britt Lower has joined the cast of the ABC pilot Until the Wedding.
- Chloe Bridges will be on Charmed.
- Mustafa Elzein has joined the Fox pilot that I’m calling Sisters.
- Carlos Leal and Jonathan Slavin have been cast in the CBS drama pilot Republic of Sarah.
- Bonnie Dennison and Ito Aghayere are joining the cast of the CBS comedy pilot Carol’s Second Act.
- Owain Yeoman is joining the NBC pilot Emergence.
- Tymberlee Hill has been cast in the Bradley Whitford NBC comedy pilot that they are now calling Perfect Harmony.
- Madison Curry is joining Bless This Mess on ABC.
- Emily Osment is joining an untitled Fox pilot about sperm donors.
- Marielle Scott and Chis D’Elia are joining You.
- Georgina Reilly has been added to the cast of Showtime’s City on a Hill.
- Akshay Kumar will star in Amazon’s The End.
- Devon Terrell, Gustaf Skarsgård, Daniel Sharman, Peter Mullan, Lily Newmark, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Sebastian Armesto, Emily Coates, Catherine Walker are joining the cast of Netflix’s Cursed.
- Harry Melling is joining the cast of the Netflix film, The Devil All the Time.
- Eboni Williams is leaving Fox News.
Mark Your Calendars
- The Act will debut on Hulu on March 20.
- NOS4A2 will premiere on AMC sometime this summer (and it looks good and creepy).
- Warrior will debut on Cinemax on April 4.
- Tamron Hall will debut on September 9. It’s a syndicated daytime talk show.
- Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta will return on VH1 on March 25.
- Escaping Polygamy will return on Lifetime on April 1.
- Drift This will debut on MotorTrend on March 6.
King Kong Bundy, WWE wrestler
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: Vanderpump goes hunting for receipts. 8 p.m., Bravo
The Bachelor: The Women Tell All: This should be interesting. I say that in all sincerity. 7 p.m., ABC
Hoarders: I guess in the wake of the success of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, A&E decided to drag this series back out after a two-year hiatus. Season premiere. 7 p.m., A&E
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: Morgan Freeman looks for Satan in the third season premiere. 8 p.m., National Geographic
Masterchef Celebrity Showdown: Trai Byers and Grace Gealey Byers; NeNe and Gregg Leakes; Cheryl Hines; Kal Penn; Ronde Barber and Tiki Barber; Joel Madden and Benji Madden; Anthony Anderson; and Jordana Brewster cook. 7 p.m., Fox
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Kit Harrington, Amber Tamblyn, Hozier
- The Late Late Show with James Corden: Isla Fisher, Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Jonas Brothers
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Samuel L. Jackson, Camila Mendes, X Ambassadors
- Conan: Daniel Sloss
- Busy Tonight: Margaret Cho, Elizabeth Chambers
- Watch What Happens Live: Denise Richards, Karamo Brown
|ABC||The Bachelor: The Women Tell All
|NCIS: New Orleans
|Roswell, New Mexico
|NBC||Ellen’s Game of Games
|This is Us