For any girl that lived through the '90s, a crush on Luke Perry was an inevitable thing. As soon as he found his way onto the set of Beverly Hills, 90210, we were hooked. His relationship with Brenda was our #relationshipgoals back then.
After he recently passed away, it became obvious to the whole world that he meant a lot to quite a few people. Actresses Olivia Munn and Rachel Leigh Cook presented their sentiments and proved that literally everyone had a crush on Perry growing up. He was all of our first crushes. With all the outpourings of love for the star, it’s pretty obvious that Perry was a special guy to everyone that knew him.
Perry was in the industry for many years, most recently on the popular TV show, Riverdale. As we mourn the loss of a beloved actor, we can reflect on the things that made him special as a person and not just as an actor. There are plenty of things that many of us didn’t know about Perry because he liked to keep his personal life private. But we have some facts that just might be interesting to fans out there. Check out these 20 little known facts about Luke Perry.
20 Luke Perry Came From Humble Beginnings
Perry came from humble beginnings, growing up in Fredericktown, Ohio, where the most common vehicle to own was a pickup truck. His father was a steelworker and his mother was a homemaker. Before he became famous, he did a lot of blue-collar work.
"I had dug everything else back in Ohio: dirt, [animal manure]...” he told ET Online. “The shovel works the same, no matter what you’re shoveling. I was laying asphalt the week before I got Beverly Hills, 90210. I’ll do whatever it takes to pay the rent.”
He chose to move to Los Angeles right out of high school to become an actor.
19 He Learned To Ride A Bull
Perry left Beverly Hills, 90210 for a couple of years because he wanted to try his hand at getting roles in films. One of the roles that he got was in the movie 8 Seconds where he played Lane Frost, a bull rider who was a legend in rodeos across America.
Perry was the lead in the movie, which was a big deal for him at the time. He also insisted on doing his own stunts and learned how to ride the bull for real! So for anyone who watched him in the movie, he was really riding that bull.
18 He Wasn’t An Instant Success On 90210
It might be hard to believe that Luke Perry wasn’t an instant success on the show. He was only supposed to be on the show as a guest star for two episodes. The studio wasn’t a fan of Perry and was okay with letting him go after the two episodes were complete. It was producer Aaron Spelling who insisted that he had a regular spot on the show.
"I was a guest star, and Aaron wanted to make me a regular," Luke shared, as Pop Culture reports. "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.'"
17 He Wasn’t A Big Fan Of Being Considered A Teen Idol
There are many people who become huge stars and it ends up being a case of “be careful what you wish for” because they have a hard time dealing with fame and a lack of privacy. Robert Pattinson disliked the fame that came with Twilight and Luke Perry felt the same way when he was being chased down streets by fans.
Perry told People, "Man, I hate those two (…) words, [teen idol]!” He added, "The only thing I'm finding difficult [about fame] is a little less privacy, you know? People know who you are, you just don't know who they are. You don't see them on TV."
16 He Helped Build A Fence In Ian Ziering’s Backyard
Seriously, how cute is this photo? Perry's Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Ian Ziering is there with his wife and he has his old buddy with him, too. We love the fact that these guys stayed friends after so many years. It seemed like Luke Perry was always there for his friends no matter what.
Ian Ziering recently posted this photo on social media with the caption, “The day Erin and I were shooting maternity pictures, Luke decided I needed a fenced in [the] area to keep the baby safe in my backyard. Circa 2011.”
Luke was looking out for his friends and willing to lend a hand whenever they needed him.
15 He Preferred To Not Date Actresses
Throughout his early career, Luke Perry was linked to some pretty famous names like Renée Zellweger and Kelly Preston. But he learned pretty quickly that he didn’t want to date someone who was famous. He told People in 1991, “Sooner or later, the relationship is going to become competitive. You’re going to be competing for each other’s time, or somebody’s career is going to be at a spot where the other’s is not.”
He married a regular gal, Rachel "Minnie" Sharp, in 1993 and had two children with her. The two were together for 10 years before they split up.
14 He Stayed In Touch With 'Brenda' And All His 90210 Friends
The outpouring of love that came out from fellow Beverly Hills, 90210 cast members after Perry's passing is truly endearing. Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty and Ian Ziering are just a few of the celebrities who have been posting constantly about their friend.
“I will forever bask in the loving memories we've shared over the last thirty years. May your journey forward be enriched by the magnificent souls who have passed before you, just like you have done here for those you leave behind. God please give him a seat close to you, he deserves it,” Ian wrote on social media.
13 He Was Rejected 216 Times
We would think that after being rejected 216 times, someone might give up on the idea of being an actor. But Luke Perry kept at it. He was a soap star on the TV series Loving, and it took him auditioning 216 times before he even got that role!
This was a role he got even before he landed a spot on 90210. “Some people would say that I’m not an actor, simply because I don’t own a Harley-Davidson and I’ve never been to a poetry reading,” he told People. “That (…) isn’t what I’m about.”
12 His Son Is A Pro Wrestler
Luke Perry’s son, Jack, is the spitting image of him - minus the massive amount of hair that Jack has! He didn’t go into show business in the same way that his father did. Instead, he decided to become a pro wrestler. Jack isn’t in the big leagues yet but he wants to be. He goes by the wrestling name, Jungle Boy.
Perry was often spotted in the stands watching his son perform in the ring, like a really proud father.
“This next year is going to be my year,” Jack said during an interview with Sports Illustrated. “Jungle Boy is the best mix of it all. It’s a character, athleticism, and innovation — a character people are familiar with, but with a new energy.”
11 He Did Stage Work With Alyson Hannigan
Did you know that Luke Perry was once on stage performing in When Harry Met Sally with Alyson Hannigan? These two looked adorable on stage together! We have to wonder if Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal took time out to go and check out their performance. It proves that Perry had major acting chops because he was not just a TV actor, but so much more than that.
The play went into a 16-week run and was a cool gig for both actors. Hannigan was one of the many celebrities who posted a tribute to Luke Perry after his passing.
10 His First Wife Was A Fan
His first wife, Rachel “Minnie” Sharp, was actually a huge fan of Luke Perry before the two of them met. She knew a great way to get his attention and it worked like a charm. While he was living in his newfound fame from Beverly Hills, 90210, she mailed him her bra and that was enough to get him interested.
The two eventually met and the rest was history. She was just a regular girl working as a paralegal and was the envy of every woman on the planet when the two got hitched.
9 He Knew A Lot About The Construction Biz
Perry’s character on Riverdale works in construction and owns his own company. Well, Perry has a lot of experience in construction from the real world. Before he became famous, he worked for an asphalt paving company. He told Entertainment Tonight that the experience helped him to stay humble.
"A year ago I was shoveling asphalt and [in a year] I could be doing it again," he noted. "I think it keeps a good perspective on things when you remember that." He was doing that work right before he got his iconic role in 90210.
“I’m going to be linked with him until I die, but that’s actually just fine,” Perry said of his character on the show. “I created Dylan McKay. He’s mine.”
8 He Once Hid In A Laundry Bin To Avoid Fans
A mob of female fans can be troubling for any actor to endure and it’s a little sad that some actors have to literally hide from their fans. In 2001, Luke Perry was at an event in a mall and there were teenage girls that were just losing their minds over him. It got so bad that they were breaking things.
Perry had to run and hide out in a laundry bin to avoid them! He recalls the incident, as IMDb reports him saying, “It's hard and sometimes it's scary. It still amazes my mother. I went home for Christmas one year and there were fans all over the front lawn, hoping to see me.”
7 He Had A Doll Of Himself (Which Was Kept in His Daughter’s Closet)
When 90210 was at the height of its popularity, it also had a product line. This included dolls that were made to resemble characters on the show. Luke Perry had his own doll which he kept hidden in his daughter’s closet. There were a lot of people who had the same doll growing up and some of us were lucky enough to get it autographed.
Perry likely had the doll as a memento of the TV show that made him famous. Now his daughter can have it and it can be passed down to future generations.
6 He Was A Mentor To The Riverdale Cast
When he joined the Riverdale cast, Perry became a mentor to the younger generation. They were the new kids on the block while he and the other “parents” on the show were veterans in the industry.
His co-star Cole Sprouse spoke about him, as Pop Sugar reports him saying, "He was very close to all of us. And he was an incredibly passionate, well-loved person, and I think the whole world is lamenting his passing."
The show also released this statement: "Luke was everything you would hope he would be: an incredibly caring, consummate professional with a giant heart, and a true friend to all."
5 His Scar Has An Embarrassing Story
Luke Perry’s scar was one of the things that we all loved about his look over the years. It fit his character Dylan to a T because you expected someone like him to have scars. He was the “bad boy” on the show and the scar suited him.
But in real life, there was an embarrassing story behind it and the story isn’t nearly as mysterious as you would think. “When I was a kid, I was at a bowling alley and I ran into a soda machine. I still have the scar on my right eyebrow obviously,” he said, as Odyssey Online reports.
4 He Would Have Loved To Be A Firefighter
Luke Perry has had a lot of different jobs over the years but he has said that if he didn’t become an actor, he probably would have liked to be a firefighter. Odyssey Online reports him saying,
“I've had tons of odd jobs, but I think that I would probably be a fireman because you get to see the results of your job. You get there and there is a house on fire. You leave and there's not a fire anymore.”
Of course, he never did become a firefighter but he has the type of personality and care for others that make us think he would have been a great one.
3 He Often Felt Like An Outsider
Perry wasn’t your average Hollywood guy and he never really considered himself to be the “teen idol” or the man about town. In fact, he has stated in interviews that he often felt like an outsider at times. As IMDb reports, he said,
“I always felt like something of an outsider. But I identified with people up on the screen. That made me feel like I wanted to be up on the screen too. I felt like eventually I would get there.”
It’s kind of sad to think that even in an industry in which he had a lot of talent, he often felt like he didn’t fit in.
2 He Was All About Loving His Kids
Perry had a daughter and a son from a previous marriage and they were all very close. One thing that made Luke Perry love the role that he had on Riverdale was because it was about a man who loved his son very much.
He wasn’t the kind of person to discuss his private life in interviews, but he did tell ET, “I think in some ways this character is the closest thing to me that I’ve ever played because he’s a guy that loves his kid. That’s really all he’s about. That’s what I’m about.”
1 He Advocated For Colorectal Cancer Screenings
This is a sweet picture of Luke Perry with a fan and it just goes to show what kind of a guy he was. He had a cancer scare a few years ago and it made him become an advocate for Colorectal Cancer Screening.
“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.”