Things We Learned About Luke Perry After He Died

Luke Perry had an incredible life and career. In 1984, when he was just 18, he moved to Hollywood from his native Ohio to pursue acting, per Biography. After getting his start on soap operas, like "Loving" and "Another World," he had his big break in 1990 thanks to "Beverly Hills, 90210." Perry went on to appear in a whopping 199 episodes of the show that made him a household name, but he never rested on his laurels. Once "90210" wrapped, he continued working nonstop and found yet another career-defining role in 2017 when he landed on "Riverdale."

On the personal front, Perry married Rachel 'Minnie' Sharp in 1993 and although they divorced in 2003, the two kids they had together — Jack and Sophie — would forever be his world. As a source told People, he was a completely hands-on dad and "he loved just hanging out with them and being present. He was so proud of everything they accomplished."

However, things weren't always picture-perfect for Perry. He suffered from several health problems and scares, including issues with his back which required surgical intervention, per Page Six, and the discovery of precancerous growths during a routine colonoscopy, per Fox News. Then, in March 2019, the 52-year-old died suddenly following a stroke. The last year of his life was full of bright spots, which made his unexpected death all the more shocking. Since then, we've learned new details about Perry, his life, and his passing, and we're sharing them below.

Luke Perry's cause of death revealed

Luke Perry suffered what outlets called a "massive stroke" on February 27, 2019. The actor was at his home in Los Angeles, California when the incident occurred and, according to Us Weekly, paramedics arrived around 9:40 am and took him to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. At the time, his rep told the outlet that he was not in a medically induced coma and was simply under observation. The "Riverdale" star remained there until March 4, when Us Weekly confirmed he had died while surrounded by his kids and fiancée, Wendy Madison Bauer, as well as his ex-wife, his parents, siblings, and friends.

Days later, Perry's death certificate was made public and, as Us Weekly reported, it listed the 52-year-old's cause of death as an ischemic cerebrovascular accident i.e. a stroke. According to Neurology Advisor, only about 10% of stroke patients are under 50, which made the actor's death all the more unexpected. The New York Times asked two doctors what could cause someone so young to die of a stroke. They honed in on a handful of possible causes, including blood clots, an aneurysm, chiropractic treatment on the neck, or a hole in the heart. What's more, Mark Goldberg, M.D. of UT Southwestern Medical Center, noted that "people with high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which are increasing in young adults in the U.S., have double the risk of suffering a stroke." It is unknown if Perry had any of these underlying risk factors.

Where was Luke Perry buried?

Following his death at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California in March 2019, Luke Perry was transported to Tennessee for burial, per TMZ. The actor had lived there part-time since the mid-1990s when, according to The Tennessean, he bought a farm in the small town of Vanleer. Located in Dickson County, Vanleer is about 50 miles west of Nashville and is the opposite of Hollywood, with a population of under 500. Clearly, it had a special place in Perry's heart because, according to his death certificate, he was laid to rest at Dickson County Memorial Gardens cemetery. Except he perhaps wasn't.

The Blast reached out to Taylor Funeral Home in Dickson, which was listed as having taken care of the funerary arrangements, and its owner, Don Carter, said he wasn't actually involved. What's more, he didn't know why his business was cited on the death certificate. That's when the outlet reached out to three other funeral homes in the area and learned that they hadn't arranged Perry's burial either. As for rumors that he was buried on his farm, those were dispelled when the Dickson Planning and Zoning office said they hadn't issued a permit for a home burial there. According to one source, Perry's family was purposely keeping his final resting place private.

Luke Perry was laid to rest in an eco-friendly mushroom suit

We may never know the exact location of Luke Perry's grave, but we do know he was buried in a very special outfit: a biodegradable vegetable suit. It was Perry's daughter, Sophie Perry, who first revealed that detail about her father's funeral in a May 2019 Instagram post. Posting a photo she snapped of some mushrooms growing in California's Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, Sophie said she was initially drawn to take the pic because they looked beautiful but wrote that "now, mushrooms hold an entirely new meaning for me." That's because one of her dad's final wishes was to be laid to rest in a mushroom burial suit. As she explained, "It is essentially an eco-friendly burial option via mushrooms." Sophie then encouraged her followers to learn more about the unique suits at, sharing how, "My dad discovered it, and was more excited by this than I have ever seen him."

While the Coeio website no longer exists, Grist first reported on the mushroom suit, called an Infinity Burial Suit, back in 2016. Turns out it's actually "a body suit with thread infused with the mushroom spores." As the outlet explained, the role of the mushrooms is to rid the body of toxins and to help decompose it in a clean way, thus making funerals more sustainable.

He kept hometown friends outside of Hollywood

Luke Perry was an A-lister and yet, he never let fame get to his head. Following his passing, folks in both his native Ohio and his adoptive second home, Tennessee, shared stories of just how humble he was. As some of his hometown friends told People, the actor always remained connected to his roots in Fredericktown, Ohio, where he grew up. Beth Corba, a high school classmate, shared how, "after he was a celebrity, he would come to the Tomato Show and you could stand there and just talk to him." Meanwhile, restaurant owner Rachel Mackall revealed that townspeople didn't treat him like a star because "he never changed, so no one ever had a reason to treat him like he had." She gushed, "He never stopped being 'hometown' and we loved him for it."

According to The Tennessean, he was also deeply linked to Tennessee, where he lived part-time. In 2009, he was spotted at a Titans football practice; In 2010, he helped distribute food and water to victims of the Nashville flood; In 2014, he performed at the Hermitage Gala, playing Andrew Jackson. Indeed, Perry himself showed he was super grounded during a 1991 interview with People when he revealed, "I was laying asphalt the week before I got 'Beverly Hills, 90210.' I'll do whatever it takes to pay the rent." Addressing fame, he said, "All of that is just fantasy," then pointed to his chest, noting, "This is reality."

Was Luke Perry planning to appear on the '90210' reboot?

Luke Perry died just weeks after the "Beverly Hills, 90210" reboot, "BH90210," was confirmed. That left many fans wondering what his involvement in the series was supposed to be. In February 2019, while announcing that the show was indeed happening, Tori Spelling told Access Live that Perry hadn't signed on yet because of his commitment to "Riverdale," but assured, "Luke will do as many [episodes] as he can do." Then, following his death, Jennie Garth revealed that he was also involved in series development. "Tori and I had certainly had conversations with him specifically about this, and he was into it," she told Entertainment Weekly.

It's no surprise then that his death impacted "BH90210" moving forward. For one, Shannen Doherty told Us Weekly it pushed her to take part. "I thought it was the right time to do it, to honor a friend and be with my friends, recreating something that was special to America, special to the world, and most importantly, special to all of us," she said. Once they were on set, Garth told Today, "He was with us every second of the time." What's more, the cast made sure to pay tribute to Perry throughout the pilot. As Screen Rant notes, there was a moment of silence, a clip of him from the original show, and a toast during which Spelling proclaimed, "We're not going to all be here forever, but we made something that will be."

He once shared a zoo cage with Jennie Garth

Being a heartthrob ain't easy! When "Beverly Hills, 90210" was at the height of its fame, its young cast couldn't go anywhere without causing a frenzy. As Shannen Doherty told Rolling Stone in 1992, the fame was impossible to escape and it wasn't always welcome. "We get accosted in malls," she shared. "Basically, it takes over your life."

Meanwhile, Jennie Garth once told Entertainment Weekly, "They pimped us out everywhere [because] we were the only show teenagers were watching." That, in turn, resulted in some wild fan encounters, including one that landed Garth and Luke Perry inside a zoo cage. Speaking with the People in the '90s podcast in 2021, the actor recalled a cast appearance that took place at the Fresno, California zoo on Earth Day in 1991. In order to protect them from fans, it was decided they would be placed in an animal cage. "It sort of summed it up for me because I felt like a zoo animal," she shared. However, the plan didn't work. "It got too crazy, and people were rushing the zoo cages," she recalled, adding they were forced to run away through an animal enclosure.

Perry himself addressed the downsides of fame back in 1992 when he told Fox 11, "I'm not too cool with the loss of privacy." He added that while he knew it would come with the territory, he wasn't prepared for it because "I didn't realize how big [it would be]."

He saved ​​Tori Spelling from a bad relationship

Tori Spelling and Luke Perry's bond was stronger than we knew. In 2021, Spelling celebrated what would have been his 55th birthday with a sweet Instagram tribute in which she referred to the late actor as a big brother. Recalling how they met when she was an insecure teenager, she wrote, "You were the first boy to ever make me feel worth as a human, a female, and a comedienne." What's more, he was always protective. "You stood up for me fiercely," she added. "Went to brawl literally for me when I was in a verbally abusive relationship and sat and talked me thru the most insecure moments of a teen angst girls life."

That special friendship didn't end when "90210" went off the air. Rather, Spelling fondly remembered how Perry would regularly check in on her and ask about her kids while being a devoted, doting father himself. "You had a way of making every single human feel confident, heard, and special the minute they met you," she continued. "Your energy was pure selfless love."

Indeed, Perry's kind and caring nature was highlighted by many online. Actor Alexandra Daddario tweeted that she met him while working at a restaurant and "he was always so kind to me and friendly in an industry where most people would just dismiss me." Meanwhile, Gabrielle Union recalled how she and Kimora Lee Simmons bumped into him on a flight. "He was the perfect gentleman & heartthrob," she shared. "He was kind when he probably just wanted to sleep."

Colin Hanks had an unforgettable encounter with Luke Perry

Luke Perry wasn't just a talented actor, he was also a child whisperer! Shortly after Perry's death, Colin Hanks took to Instagram to share their unforgettable chance encounter on a flight back from Mexico. Apparently, two kids were wreaking havoc on the plane, yelling and hitting each other, and their parents were unable to calm them down for two hours. "Then about 10 minutes before landing it starts to get real bad," Hanks recalled. That's when a man came out of first class to save the day. He was wearing shades and a hat and blowing up a balloon. "He ties it off, hands it off like he's holding out a sword to a king — kneeling, head down, arms up — kids calm down in milliseconds," Hanks wrote.

Initially, he didn't recognize the man was Perry. Then, they found themselves next to each other at customs and that's when his identity became clear. Turns out, Perry recognized him too. "Out of the blue, he turns to me and says some kind words about 'Fargo,' which kinda blew my mind," Hanks shared. "He tells me he always flies with a couple of balloons for that very reason, to give to screaming kids."

The story resonated with fans and celebrities alike with Rita Wilson commenting, per Page Six, "What a great story about a clearly lovely man," while Busy Philipps gushed, "I love this."

Luke Perry was a welcoming, calming on-set presence

It's a fact: Luke Perry had a huge heart. Not only was he kind and lovely to family and friends, but it turns out he was also an incredible presence on set. Following his passing, two of his former "90210" co-stars shared just how great it was to have him around in the cut-throat world of Hollywood. Taking to Instagram, Tiffani Thiessen recalled, "He welcomed me on my very first day of #90210 with open arms." Thiessen joined the cast after they had already been working together for four years, and she felt like an intruder. Perry helped fix that. "This man took me under his wing and made me feel at home. Made me feel like I belonged in his TV family," she gushed. "He was sincere, sweet, warm, kind, professional, and funny as all heck."

While she called him a "gentleman," Dean Cain thought of him as a "sweetheart." Speaking with TODAY, he shared a similar experience to Thiessen's as he recalled the first time he had to meet the show's entire cast after shooting a few episodes with Shannen Doherty. "It's sort of territorial," he remembered. "And [Perry] came marching right up to me and said, 'Hey, Dean. I'm Luke — nice to meet you. It's a pleasure.'" That gesture went a long way and had a lasting impact on Cain. "I felt so welcomed and part of the crew that I started doing that when I had my own show," he said.