Luke Perry’s Most Memorable Roles Ranked
The sudden and shocking passing of Luke Perry rocked Hollywood on Monday, March 4, 2019. At only 52 years old, Perry passed away following several days in the hospital after suffering a massive stroke the previous week. As fans, friends, costars and more extend their condolences and share their emotional tributes to the beloved actor, many are turning to his work to remember him. The actor may be best known for a couple select roles, but with 95 acting credits to his name at the time of his passing he was certainly a busy man in Hollywood. With his final role being released posthumously in the Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, take a look back on Luke Perry’s most memorable roles ranked:
12. Kenny – Another World
Although it didn’t take long for Luke Perry to become one of the most iconic heartthrobs in TV history, he had to get his big break first. After appearing in one episode of the soap opera Loving, he landed the role of Kenny through 10 episodes of Another World. Thanks to his charm and good looks, Perry fit right into the soap opera world, and while the role might be long forgotten now, its importance to the start of his career is undeniable, and there was so much more bigger things to come for him.
11. Billy – The Fifth Element
Despite not being in a major role in the movie, many fans do remember Luke Perry’s appearance in the iconic 1997 sci-fi film The Fifth Element. Perry filmed the small role of Billy, an assistant to the professor, in between the time he left Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1995 and before his return in 1998. Although the role is brief, no one can forget Perry’s handsome face in its few minutes of the films opening scenes.
10. Todd – What I Like About You
Many might not remember the sitcom What I Like About You, but Luke Perry’s three episode role in the series was truly spectacular. What I Like About You ran for four seasons from 2002 to 2006, and starred Amanda Bynes and Jennie Garth as sisters Holly and Valerie Tyler, who have to combine their opposite lives and personalities when they begin living together in New York City. Perry made his first appearance as Todd in the season three episode “Dangerous Liaisons” and it reunited Perry and Jennie Garth for the first time since their iconic Beverly Hills, 90210 days. Fans couldn’t get enough of seeing Perry play Valerie’s former fling, Todd, after Perry and Garth’s characters were romantic in Beverly Hills, 90210. The role played off of their other character’s past romantic history with flashback scenes reminiscent of Beverly Hills, 90210.
9. Luke Perry – The Simpsons
Luke Perry is being remembered as one of the most humble and modest guys in Hollywood, and as many have noted that although his extreme good looks and fame could have made him unbearable, he never stopped being the sweet, down-to-earth guy that everyone knew and loved. In 1993, he showed that he really didn’t take himself all that seriously and was game to skewer his “pretty-boy” reputation in a 1993 episode of The Simpsons called “Krusty Gets Kancelled.” In the episode, Krusty the Clown shoots Perry out of a canon, and the actor goes flying out the window, through a museum of sandpaper, and then through jars of acid. “My face, my valuable face!” he cries. With just the small animated role, Perry made it known very early in his career, he wasn’t famous just to be a heartthrob.
8. Tommy “Santa” Santorelli – The Sandlot 3
Definitely not his biggest role, but for nostalgia sake, fans can’t forget that Perry ended up starring in the The Sandlot: Heading Home in 2007, a direct-to-video sequel to the iconic 1993 film The Sandlot and to its first direct-to-video sequel The Sandlot 2. Perry starred as Tommy “Santa” Santorelli, a hotshot baseball player who gets knocked back to 1976 from 2005 and relives his childhood in a chance to change his present and future.
7. Charlie – A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride
Although he appeared in some films, Perry would be known for mostly sticking to TV roles for the majority of his career, which led to his starring role in the made-for-TV film A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride. Now that TV holiday films have become incredibly popular, fans look fondly back on the 2008 Lifetime movie which starred Perry as Charlie, a man who teams up with Roxanne (played by JoAnna Garcia Swisher) to ruin their parents’ wedding plans.
6. Jeremiah – Jeremiah
In 2002, Luke Perry returned to television in one of his first major starring roles in a series since Beverly Hills, 90210 with Showtime’s Jeremiah. Perry held the title role of the apocalyptic sci-fi drama which co-starred Malcolm Jamal-Warner, where the two men fought to rebuild society and find their loved ones after a deadly virus wiped out most of the adult population. While the series had been planned to be a five-year series, things unfortunately came to an end when a change in Showtime’s administration personnel caused the network to stop producing science fiction programming. The show, and Perry’s role within it were very well received by fans however, and the first two seasons can be streamed on Hulu.
5. Jeremiah – OZ
Interestingly enough, one of Perry’s other most memorable and biggest roles was again as Jeremiah. In no relation to the title character of the previously mentioned series, the actor starred as Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier, who was imprisoned for embezzlement but doesn’t engage in the violence of his surrounding in the fourth season of OZ. Perry once again showed off the fact he has dramatic acting prowess with the role which required him to provide a light Southern accent and the flourish and charisma of a preacher.
4. Pike – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Two years after he shot to fame as Dylan McKay, Perry was also working in films which included 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Joss Whedon led film starred Kristy Swanson as Buffy and Perry as Pike, a helpful and charming slacker, who helps Buffy get rid of the vampires trying to takeover. The cheesy ’90s film might have been obscured because of the popularity of the series that was to come, but fans still can’t help but remember Perry as Pike because of the cult following of the film.
3. Lane Frost – 8 Seconds
Perry’s biggest dramatic performance came in the 1994 film 8 Seconds, which was his biggest role in the midst of his Beverly Hills, 90210 fame. Perry portrayed Lane Frost, a champion bull rider, in the emotional and gritty drama. Perry turned out an incredible performance in the role which secured to fans he could play much more than just a handsome teen. The overall critical reception for the film wasn’t great, but many commented that it fully displayed Perry’s true talents, and to this day fans can’t get enough of the film.
2. Fred Andrews – Riverdale
One of the most magical things about Luke Perry’s iconic career was the way he made an impact on so many generations. While there is no denying that his role as Dylan McKay will go down in TV history, in 2016 he made his return to the spotlight in a big way when he began starring as Fred Andrews on The CW’s Riverdale. As the teen drama became a massive hit, Perry found himself resonating with a whole new generation in a whole new way. As the father of the heartthrob this time, Perry’s Fred Andrews was a voice of reason, a caring shoulder and a strong rock not only for Archie but for many of those in Riverdale. His passing will mark a notable hole in the series going forward.
1. Dylan McKay – Beverly Hills, 90210
Last, but certainly not least, is of course his role as Dylan McKay in Beverly Hills, 90210. As the teen soap that really began the craze for teen dramas, Perry’s Dylan McKay was the ultimate bad boy heartthrob. Modeled after James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, Perry’s performance as Dylan established a new kind of crush for teens and tweens across America which would be replicated time and time again, but never quite matched.