Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
October 11, 1966
1990 - 2000
Currently Known For:
Beverly Hills, 90210, 8 Seconds and The Fifth Eleme
Chances are if you grew up in the 1990s, you know exactly who Luke Perry is thanks to his role as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210, which aired from 1999 to 2000. Born and raised in Fredericktown, Ohio, Perry knew the extent of acting in his hometown was limited to his role as the high school mascot so, after graduation, he packed up and moved to Los Angeles. Accustomed to living on the farm where Perry recalls “we had class on giving birth to cows and driving tractors,” the young Hollywood hopeful was in for the shock of his life.
Eventually moving from Los Angeles to New York City, Perry went to over 200 auditions before he finally landed his first gig in a television commercial. Shortly after, he was hired for the “Be Chrool to Your Scuel” music video with Alice Cooper of Twisted Sister before he seemingly found his niche as a soap opera star. Rounding out the decade on soaps like Loving and Another World, Perry had high hopes for the 1990s when he auditioned for the role of Steve Sanders on Beverly Hills, 90210. Unfortunately, casting directors had someone else in mind.
With the role going to Ian Ziering, Perry felt the shock of his life when he learned he was cast as the charming Dylan McKay. As luck would have it, the switch proved to be a huge victory for Perry who, because of his stellar performance and good looks, instantly became a teen heartthrob and idol for the rest of the decade. His new fame and good fortune also landed him a spot in the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer flick in 1992.
By 1995, Perry assumed he had a promising film career in his future and left the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 with the hopes of hitting it big on the silver screen. During that time, he starred in a couple of independent flicks including Normal Life opposite Ashley Judd and appeared in the blockbuster The Fifth Element but, despite his greatest hopes and intentions, missed the starring role as it went to well-known action star Bruce Willis. With the money drying up and minor roles barely paying his bills, Perry returned to the one zip code he could always rely on and reunited with his 90210 costars in 1998.
By the new millennium, legendary director Aaron Spelling wrapped up 90210 leaving Perry and his costars struggling to find other opportunities in Hollywood. Over the next four years, the former Ohio farm boy landed a couple of roles on television shows like Oz and Jeremiah but nothing compared to his early fame as a Beverly Hills heartthrob. Since then, he’s made guest appearances on Raising Hope, Body of Proof, Community and Major Crimes and says he’s still looking for the perfect role to revive his career.
“I was a guest star [on 90210], and Aaron [Spelling] wanted to make me a regular,” Perry said when asked about his luck on the 1990s classic. “The studio didn’t want to pick up the deal, and he used that instance to illustrate an important principle: he gets to pick who’s on the show. He didn’t want me to have to go in the room with the network, but he calmly looked at me and said, ‘Go get ‘em, kid.’”
Although he typically shies away from talking about his former 90210 days, Perry humored one reporter and played along when asked who he would “Marry, Shag or Kill” when it came to Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling. Perry said that Tori was marriage material “because I told her dad I’d look out for her” and added, “I’d kill Shannen because she’d want me to. And that’s the only reason.” That left Garth for the “shag” portion which, if you believe the rumors, actually happened on the set.
Refusing to join the cast for a Beverly Hills reunion, the 49-year-old Perry is stubborn when it comes to his early work. When asked if he even watched Lifetime’s Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Tell All that claimed to go behind the scenes of the show, Perry quickly declined. “I don’t even watch my own actual self on TV. Why would I want to watch this? I don’t see it happening!”
Obviously much calmer when not talking about his past, Perry’s personal life has been just as tumultuous as his career. He found love beyond the Beverly Hills set in 1993 when he married part-time model Minnie Sharp after she introduced herself by mailing her bra to him. Unfortunately, the bra wasn’t enough to keep the two together. Divorcing in 2003, Perry was left to raise their two children, 18-year-old Jack and 15-year-old Sophie. In the meantime, he’s still trying to pick up the pieces of his former Hollywood career but he’ll be the first to tell you, he’s much happier these days simply as “Dad.”