Actor Luke Perry's Tragic Death: A Tribute to a Generation's Dylan McKay by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
It seems silly to be devastated by the loss of someone I didn't know, but somehow I feel devastated nonetheless. When I heard the news that actor Luke Perry died after suffering a massive stroke, it was impossible not to think of my teen years and watching (and obsessing over) Beverly Hills, 90210 with my sister and best friends.
I feel, as it seems many do, like we grew up alongside Dylan McKay and the other characters, from high school through college, and into young adulthood. In fact, as the series was drawing to a close, I was no longer a teen and yet I was still a fan. By then I was watching from the comfort of my own apartment with my post-college roommate, Sara; the show was just the escapism we needed during our first year of teaching. I remember distinctly the episode when Luke Perry returned after his brief hiatus from the show.
I’m 42 now. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an episode of 90210, but my 12-year-old son and I have been watching Luke Perry in Riverdale. I’ve shared with Trey that I had a crush on “Dylan.” I’ve told him that 90210 was “my Riverdale.” Of course the difference is that Luke Perry is now playing the dad figure, imparting the lessons rather than playing the “bad boy,” the reason that lessons are needed in the first place. Life comes full circle in the strangest ways sometimes.
Luke Perry always seemed like “my age” during the days of 90210. In reality, he was older than his character, and 10 years older than I am. I’ve been thinking about his age a lot today. Fifty-two is far too young.
May you rest in peace, Luke Perry. For us '90s kids, you will be forever young, forever our Dylan McKay.
Photo: Luke Perry Twitter
Photo: Luke Perry at "Riverdale" press room at Wondercon in March 2017
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