“We are deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Luke Perry. A beloved member of the Riverdale, Warner Bros. and CW family, Luke was everything you would hope he would be: an incredibly caring, consummate professional with a giant heart, and a true friend to all,” the Riverdale producers, Warner Bros. Television and The CW shared in a statement at the time. “A father figure and mentor to the show’s young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness. Our thoughts are with Luke’s family during this most difficult time.”
The actor, who played Fred Andrews, the father of KJ Apa‘s Archie Andrews, in the series, died days after suffering “a massive stroke,” per a statement from his rep. When news of his stroke broke on February 27, 2019, Luke’s Riverdale costars shared well-wishes via social media. Following his passing, they continued to post heartfelt messages about working alongside the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum.
“We were all really emotional and expressed it in different ways. I had my own relationship with Luke, but it was hardest watching KJ,” Molly Ringwald, who plays Fred’s ex Mary Andrews in the show, told Us Weekly in November 2019. “KJ and Luke were very close and had such a unique bond. Luke was really like his father — his American father. He really assumed that role, so watching KJ grapple with that was really tough to watch. As a mother, as just a person, it was hard to watch.”
The Riverdale cast honored their late costar during the first episode of season 4 alongside Luke’s former Beverly Hills, 90210 costar Shannen Doherty. In the episode, Archie was informed that his dad had been killed in a hit-and-run accident while helping a stranger fix her car tire. The stranger was played by Shannen, who portrayed his love interest for four seasons on the FOX show. They also held a funeral for the character within the episode.
“Everything in that first episode is so authentic and so real that it didn’t really feel like shooting an episode of our show … It was obviously really emotional. It’s a beautiful episode. I’m super excited for people to see it,” KJ told Extra in August 2019. “It’s a tough one, because you have to go back a bit and access that emotion — that is not something that everyone feels comfortable doing.”
Since his death, the Riverdale cast has continued to share their experiences working with the late star. Scroll through our gallery to read their heartfelt tributes.
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