What You Need to Know: Luke Perry

Luke Perry: Things to know about the actor and '90210,' 'Riverdale' star

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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.

Related: Actor Luke Perry dies at 52

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.

Related: Photos: Luke Perry through the years

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.”

Luke Perry pictured in 1991.
Photo: The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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.

Related: ‘90210,’ ‘Riverdale’ castmates, fans, friends react to Luke Perry’s death

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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