The world lost a true legend yesterday in the passing of Luke Perry. There have been many wonderful tributes over the last day and after reading about his amazing legacy, I have some of my own memories to share.
I know you’re probably thinking, what does Luke Perry’s loss has to do with “Supernatural”? Well, there’s a couple of reasons. First, “Riverdale” films in Vancouver and the CW actors up north have this sort of bond. It’s hard to describe, but they’re actors living in a fishbowl in a foreign country while the entertainment world spins some 1300 miles away in Los Angeles. It’s a private club where friendships are made. They all know each other in some way and a loss on one show impacts them all. In this case though, Luke was especially hard to forget. He left an impression on all of them, with his humble personality and big heart as well as a serious commitment to his craft, all from a veteran that at one time was America’s biggest heartthrob. Everyone up there is in shock right now and feeling a tremendous loss.
Luke Perry was a really good guy. So kind. I thought he was the coolest when I was a kid and had the pleasure of knowing him as an adult. Heartbreaking that he’s gone so young. Rest In Peace, brother.— DJ Qualls (@TheOnlyDJQualls) March 4, 2019
Second, I have a special fondness for Luke Perry. Sure, he carried the mantle of the true Gen X hottie in the 1990’s, driving young girls (and young guys too) wild with his bad boy TV persona and all around super nice guy demeanor outside of the zip code that made him famous. He was a household name and always had a mention in the entertainment pages. But that’s not why I’m fond of him. I never even watched “Beverly Hills 90210.” Teen soaps were never my thing. I did love him in “The Simpsons,” when he got to be Krusty the Clown’s beleaguered sidekick, Sideshow Luke Perry. The results were a bit disastrous and funny as hell. It showed how great his sense of humor was.
But that isn’t the reason either. My fondness stems from a chance encounter we had in July of last year. I had the honor of attending the Warner Brothers party at Comic Con. The casts of the various WB shows were there and at this party the “Riverdale” cast were the ‘darlings of the ball’ so to speak. They all were in hot demand and any hope or talking to them was lost for a little SPN blogger like me. Heck, I barely got to say a hello to Jared, Jensen and Misha and they know me! These parties get kind of crazy. When meeting actors, I usually don’t get past a “thank you” when telling them how much I liked them in either a current or past role. After all, I’m not only a small time blogger, I don’t fall in the “hot chick” category either.
I was at the bar getting a drink. I looked over to my left and there was Luke. I knew he was on “Riverdale” but I didn’t know he was attending. After saying “Holy crap, it’s Luke Perry!” to myself I told him my usual “big admirer of your work” line. Instead of giving me the usual “thank you” and moving on his way, he actually wanted to talk. He was interested in actually getting to know me. Maybe it’s because he made a joke about “being old” and I laughed and told him “You and me both.” Turns our we were very close in age. We instantly hit it off and had a nice long conversation. He was interested in what I did and why I was there. We shared war stories about being old timers with a network loaded with fresh young faces and teen audiences. We mentioned our kids and families. I told him I was from Ohio. What do you know, he’s from Ohio too! Just an hour north of where I live. Suddenly, his humble manner made sense. We are very grounded here in the Midwest. People are usually treated like people, no matter what fame they have achieved. I was so grateful to see that after all this time he never forgot that.
My favorite part of the conversation is when we talked about his role in “Riverdale.” He was so grateful for this new phase of his acting career and how he loved taking these young actors under his wing and showing them a few things. This was kind of new to him, being the grand elder, and he liked it. He had so many nice things to say about the cast and crew, and I got the impression the way he spoke that he considered them to be like a family. Having covered “Supernatural” for all the years, I know that such a bond among the cast is very special and doesn’t happen often. It was good to see it wasn’t limited to “Supernatural.” I was really happy for him.
When I left the party, I was on a pretty big high. I told my family all about what an incredible guy Luke Perry is and how he made me feel like an equal when most didn’t. (It’s possible I said “Luke F***ing Perry” numerous times in excitement). You hear about celebrities for years but you never know if they’re truly one of the good guys or not until such a chance encounter. I’ve met a ton of actors through the years and there are only a handful I can say have genuinely treated everyone with respect. I’ve read a lot of tributes in the past day from friends and fellow bloggers that have met him too and have had similar things to say. He just loved to hang out and talk to people with dignity and respect. Celebrity never went to his head.
Part of me thinks that Luke hung on as long as he did after the stroke so his family would have a chance to be with him and see him off to the next world. He valued family and they gave him a sense of pride, at least from what I could tell in our brief conversation. It was nice to hear that he went peacefully with his loved ones by his side. That’s how the good guys go. That’s why his loss just hurts so much. In this world of madness and lack of respect for humanity in general, it sucks to lose one of the good guys.
We are better in this world to have had Luke and the mark he left in television is undeniable. He will always be remembered as one of the greats. Hopefully through the years though people will also hear the stories of his giant heart and gracious soul and not just that his character Dylan McKay was the Generation X version of James Dean. The best way to honor Luke Perry is to live by his example. Showing kindness and compassion to others goes a long way. That’s a legacy to be proud of. My sincere condolences to his family and all the knew him well.