Remembering Luke Perry. The actor died on March 4, 2019, at age 52 following a massive stroke days prior. Following his passing in real life, his Riverdale character, Fred Andrews, was written out of the show.
“A father figure and mentor to the show’s young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness,” the Riverdale producers, Warner Bros. Television and The CW shared in a statement at the time. “Our thoughts are with Luke’s family during this most difficult time.”
During the first episode of the CW show’s fourth season, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) finds out that his father had been killed in a hit-and-run accident while helping a stranger fix her car tire. The stranger was portrayed by Luke’s former Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty.
“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 shared with 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.”
Access Molly Ringwald, who played Luke’s ex-wife in Riverdale, also spoke about continuing the show without her scene partner.
“We were all really emotional and expressed it in different ways. I had my own relationship with Luke, but it was hardest watching KJ,” the Hollywood veteran 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.”
While he may not have been on the show following the third season finale, Luke’s presence as Fred has been felt throughout the remaining episodes. In fact, he was also honored during the third episode of season 5, and appeared to his son in a dream before Archie graduated high school.
“I can’t believe we’re here. Archie, you’re graduating,” Fred told his son. “I didn’t think I’d live to see this day.”
Scroll through our gallery to relive Luke’s most iconic moments on Riverdale.
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