Luke Perry, the actor best-known for his role as Dylan McKay on the TV series “Beverly Hills, 90210,” died Monday after suffering a stroke Feb. 28.
Here are some things to know about the late actor:
He came from a small town
Perry was born Coy Luther Perry III October 11, 1966, in Mansfield, Ohio, to Ann Perry and Coy Perry Jr. His parents divorced in 1972. Perry’s mother later married construction worker Steve Bennet, and his older brother Tom, younger sister Amy and stepsister Emily were raised in the small rural town of Fredericktown, Ohio.
Perry had a strained relationship with his biological father. When Coy Sr. died of a heart attack 1980, he attended his funeral but the two never reconciled. Perry moved to California to pursue acting after graduating high school.
His first acting role was on a soap opera
Before his big break on “90210,” Perry got a part as Ned Bates in “Loving,” an ABC soap, in 1987. According to the actor, he was rejected 216 times before getting the role. He moved to New York and stayed on the show for a year before leaving and working on commercials and doing a short stint on another soap, “Another World.” He moved back to Los Angles in 1990 and was cast as Dylan McKay in June.
Three years into its run, “90210” became a major hit, and Perry was a heartthrob and sex symbol. He left the show in 1994 to pursue film. After roles in “The Fifth Element” and “8 Seconds,” he returned for the last two seasons of the show in 1998.
“I’m going to be linked with him until I die, but that’s actually just fine,” Perry said of his character in 2008. “I created Dylan McKay. He’s mine.”
He was a father of two
Perry married Rachel Minnie Sharp in 1993. They divorced in 2003 and, at the time, shared custody of daughter, Sophie, and son, Jack.
In 2017, Perry was photographed supporting his professional wrestler son, who is known by his ring name “Jungle Boy” Nate Coy, at an event.
He advocated for colorectal cancer screenings
After undergoing a colonoscopy in 2015, Perry’s doctors discovered precancerous growths. He had them removed and encouraged others to get screenings.
“Right now, there are 23 million Americans who haven’t been screened who need to be screened,” Perry told Fox News at the time. “If I had waited, it could have been a whole different scenario.
“When I heard that this was the most detectable cancer that we know of yet it’s the second most lethal, I just couldn’t figure out why that was and I wanted to get out there and tell people about it.”
He is survived by his children, ex-wife and fiancee.
When Perry’s representative, Arnold Robinson, confirmed his death, he said the actor was surrounded by Jack, Sophie, Sharp and his fiancee, Wendy Madison Bauer.
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