Remembering Luke Perry: 21 Roles We'll Always Cherish

Remembering Luke Perry: 21 Roles We'll Always Cherish
Image: Fox Television/Courtesy of Getty Images

Luke Perry
Fox Television/Courtesy of Getty Images

Saying goodbye is never easy. But when an actor or actress who we loved and who had been a major staple in our lives for years passes away? That tends to be a different kind of rough.

So is the case with Luke Perry, who we're currently mourning (and probably always will be). The beloved actor suffered a massive stroke and died on March 4 at the young age of 52. When the news broke, we were heartbroken, and our minds immediately flooded with memories of Luke's face gracing posters during his heartthrob Beverly Hills, 90210 days. He came back into our lives -- full steam ahead -- as a lovable dad on Riverdale, but truth be told, Luke never left us as he's starred in a number of projects since his days as Dylan McKay that often involved cowboy hats and westerns.

Yes, Luke was a lot of things -- and so many tributes talked about what a genuinely nice and caring person he was (which isn't hard to believe) -- but we, as fans, knew him as an actor. We'll never forget some of the roles he's played. Whether he was making us laugh, cry, or develop a massive fangirl crush (which was definitely the case throughout the '90s), he managed to steal our hearts time and time again.

We decided to put together our own personal tribute, which includes a handful of the actor's roles -- and some Hallmark movies Luke Perry starred in (yes, really) -- that really made an impact on us. Unsurprisingly, the man had range, and although many of us may know him best as a too-cool high school kid who had more than his fair share of relationship and family drama, he was also great at playing a cowboy (he did that, like, a lot), kicking vampire butt, and stealing the scene in guest appearances on sitcoms. (We also can't forget the times that Luke entered the cartoon world, voicing a variety of characters and, on occasion, a silly version of himself.)

RIP, Luke. We'll miss him, but at least he'll live on in these movies and shows.

  • Dylan McKay -- 'Beverly Hills, 90210'

    1

    It's next to impossible to think "Luke Perry" and not immediately picture him back in his '90s, James-Dean-inspired, teen heartthrob days. His role as Dylan -- a loner who didn't have the best family life and dated both Brenda and Kelly over the course of the series -- on Beverly Hills, 90210 was the one that really ended up putting him on the map.

  • Fred Andrews -- 'Riverdale'

    2

    Years after Luke starred on one of the top teen dramas of all time, he found himself back on another -- only this time, he was playing the dad, because, 2017. Fred Andrews, who's Archie's father, was definitely more of the "cool dad" with his own interesting story lines -- including the time he was shot by Black Hood in the first season's finale.

    Because Luke was still on Riverdale at the time of his death, we'll be curious to see what happens to his character.

  • Kenny -- 'Another World'

    3

    Just like a handful of other actors, Luke happens to have a few soap operas on his resume, which is how he got started in the biz. Although his first soap opera role was that of Ned Bates on the show Loving, he also had a 10-episode stint on Another World where he played a guy named Kenny.

    When talking about working on these shows, Luke told the Chicago Tribune that acting on soap operas was ''the best training in the world.''

  • Oliver Pike -- 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

    4

    Nope, this isn't the hit show starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.

    A few years before Buffy took over on a weekly basis, we were introduced to her character via the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie starring Kristy Swanson. Luke played Oliver Pike, aka the vampire slayer's love interest (what else?), who even gives her a pep talk at one point by telling her that she's "the chosen guy." 

    Unfortunately, Pike was never even mentioned by the time Buffy made it to TV.

  • Jeremiah -- 'Jeremiah'

    5

    This Starz show only lasted for two seasons (from 2002 to 2004), but perhaps it was just a little bit before its time -- which is ironic, since it was set in the year 2021. We could now see this post-apocalyptic drama, where most of the world's population had been wiped out because of a plague, becoming a hit. 

    Luke played the title character on the show, who's trying to find a safe haven for survivors and help rebuild the world.

  • Lane Frost -- '8 Seconds'

    6

    Looking at all of Luke's movies, it's clear that he loved playing a cowboy. In 8 Seconds, he portrayed a real-life bull rider, and the story is about his life and (sadly) death.

    After Luke died, Stephen Baldwin, who played Luke's best friend in the film, paid tribute to him with a photo from the film, saying that it's "rare to have friends who innately have the heart of giving, Luke was one of those people." He added that the star will be smiling in heaven "bcuz he has done ultimate 'cowboy up' to his final resting place."

  • Sideshow Luke Perry -- 'The Simpsons'

    7

    OK, so it's not exactly a poster we would hang on our teenage-self's bedroom wall, but it's an iconic character the actor voiced nonetheless.

    At the time, The Simpsons was in its prime, so "Sideshow Luke Perry" -- who was Krusty the Clown's "worthless half-brother" and was also pretty great with balloon creations -- was definitely a big deal.

  • Stewart Waldinger -- 'Pepper Ann'

    8

    Surprisingly, Luke did a lot of voice work throughout his career, and he didn't always play a cartoon version of himself. Some of his parts are ones we remember and loved from the '90s and '00s --  and we didn't even know it was him!

    One of those roles was Stewart Waldinger from the ABC cartoon Pepper Ann. (He dated Pepper Ann's best friend Nicky.)

  • Aaron -- 'Will and Grace'

    9

    From heartthrob to full-on nerd? Yup, Luke definitely had range!

    On Will & Grace, the actor played an intense bird watcher and enthusiast that Jack ends up falling for. He got to use his comedy skills when it came to this scene, where his bird is assumed to be dead and Jack has to break the news.

  • Inspector Spacetime -- 'Community'

    10

    Another show where Luke really made us laugh? Community. On the show, he made a short but hilarious guest appearance in a 2013 episode called "Conventions of Space and Time."

    Luke's appearance was very brief, but he popped up in a spoof of a space Doctor Who-type show playing the lead. It was so cheesy and so perfect -- and Jennie Garth was there, too!

  • Todd -- 'What I Like About You'

    11

    Speaking of Jennie, sadly, we'll never get to see Luke on the upcoming Beverly Hills, 90210 reboot, where we were hoping he would be making a guest appearance. But we did have another mini on-screen reunion on the actress's old show, What I Like I About You, when Luke played a plumber and the love interest of her character Val.

  • Matt Austin -- 'A Gunfighter's Pledge'

    12

    A good portion of Luke's career was spent on the Hallmark Channel, and once again, the guy proved he loved a good Western theme.

    In this particular film, he was an ex-lawman who accidentally shoots and kills an innocent man while searching for the guy who murdered his family. He promises to take the body of that man back to his sister, and when he does, ends up getting involved in a battle happening with the family's farm -- struggling to tell the sister the truth about what happened.

  • John Goodnight -- 'Goodnight For Justice'

    13

    The actor also had a full movie trilogy that aired on Hallmark. Luke played a circuit judge named John Goodnight who travels around fighting for justice and ruling over legal cases in small towns after his family was murdered. He protects the innocent, faces off against bandits, and even has a little time for romance (it's Hallmark, after all).

  • Avery Ford -- 'Love In Paradise'

    14

    Of course, Luke made sure to get a classic Hallmark Channel rom-com on his resume, too!

    In this movie, he's (once again) got the whole cowboy thing going on -- only this time, his character is an actor who's famous for his western films. He heads out to a family-owned ranch to help them out and revive his career. It's there they find out that he's basically a fraud, but he also falls in love with a woman whose family owns the place.

  • Charlie -- 'A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride'

    15

    Yep, Luke also had a key role in one of Lifetime's Christmas movies.

    He kind of plays a not-so-nice guy in this one, but we still loved watching him despite that. His character's dad and the mother of Joanna Garcia's character are getting married, and the two aren't thrilled about it.

    So, they team up and plan to sabotage the wedding.

  • Chris Anderson -- 'Normal Life'

    16

    OK, so Luke actually plays a former-cop-turned-bank-robber in this movie, but we swear, the guy means well!

    His character is driven to live a life of crime because of his girlfriend (Ashley Judd) and the amount of love he has for her. She's manipulative and has certain expectations when it comes to her lifestyle, so when he loses his job, he takes the dangerous way out.

    So yes, a bad guy, but he's also very sweet.

  • Charlie Stafford -- 'Body of Proof'

    17
    Luke Perry in Body of Proof photo
    ABC

    This series focused on a doctor named Megan Hunt, who used to be a top neurosurgeon until her career was derailed following a car accident. So she became a medical examiner instead, and she had a reputation of working to solve crimes (which isn't her job).

    Luke came to the series in the second season as a guest star, Center for Disease Control and Prevention Officer Charlie Stafford, who's trying to track down what and who is spreading a deadly virus in the city. By the third season, however, Charlie was promoted to health commissioner and became a recurring character.

  • The Ghost of Arbor Day -- 'Raising Hope'

    18
    Luke Perry in Raising Hope photo
    FOX

    Is this Luke's weirdest role ever? We're leaning toward yes, because he played the Ghost of Arbor Day and had to be decked out in a full-body costume of greenery. But at the same time, it's also a great one, as the ghost takes one of the show's main characters, Sabrina, on a journey -- basically, A Christmas Carol, but with trees -- to show her the importance of a weird family tradition surrounding the holiday.

  •  Peter Schaefer -- 'Windfall'

    19
    Luke Perry in Windfall photo
    NBC

    Another show of Luke's that didn't last very long -- but still worth highlighting -- is Windfall, which was about a group of people living in a small town who end up winning $400 million in a lottery ... only to realize that money equals drama. Luke's character was the one who originally hosted the party where everyone contributed to the ticket. He was also married to Once Upon a Time's Lana Parrilla on the show (although, it's a rocky relationship).

  • Cal Masterson -- 'A Fine Step'

    20

    The best thing about this family-friendly film? It's available to watch on Hulu and Amazon Prime video, so even the kids can pay tribute to Luke.

    Here, Luke is a horseman who's involved in an accident where he's injured. But a young girl helps to rehabilitate him and his champion horse, convinced that it's still possible to compete.

  • Brad Majors -- 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'

    21

    It may not have been on TV or on the big screenn, but since we're highlighting Luke's roles, we can't forget to mention he was also a Broadway star at one point -- something that Luke's daughter (who shared this picture) is clearly very proud of. In 2002, he played one of the leads in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (we would have given anything to see him in a musical!) and even starred opposite Alyson Hannigan in the West End's production of When Harry Met Sally.

celebrity death movies tv

More Slideshows