Just last week, fans of Fox’s beloved teen soap “Beverly Hills, 90210” were thrilled by the announcement that a long-rumored revival was official in the works. That same day, actor and original star Luke Perry suffered a massive stroke, a medical emergency that led to his untimely death five days later. Even though the actor had not signed on to be a part of the series, there was still hope that he’d participate, as the new take on the beloved series was still in the early stages of development. After all, the revival has a twist that seemed perfect for Perry’s sensibilities: The actors are playing themselves.
In the revival, original stars Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, and Tori Spelling will return — not to reprise their roles on the primetime soap that made them famous — but to play irreverent, heightened versions of their real-life selves. Per Fox’s official description: “Having gone their separate ways since the original series ended 19 years ago, Jason, Jennie, Ian, Gabrielle, Brian and Tori reunite when one of them suggests it’s time to get a ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ reboot up and running. But getting it going may make for an even more delicious soap than the reboot itself. What will happen when first loves, old romances, friends and frenemies come back together, as this iconic cast – whom the whole world watched grow up together – attempts to continue from where they left off?”
Even at the relatively young age of 52, Perry had racked up an impressive resume for himself, one that extended far beyond his breakout role in “90210.” He was a working actor who plied his craft every year since he landed his first official acting credits on the soaps “Loving” and “Another World” in 1988. But even though his diehard fans can cite his roles in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “8 Seconds,” “Oz,” “John From Cincinnati,” and more, he will always be remembered and loved for playing the impossibly cool, good-looking, and sideburns-sporting Dylan McKay on “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
The actor once said about his role, “I’m going to be linked with him until I die, but that’s actually just fine. I created Dylan McKay. He’s mine.” And Perry not only embraced being known as the “Beverly Hills, 90210” hunk, but also the heartthrob legacy that came with it. In honor of the actor’s fun-loving spirit, here’s a salute to the many times Luke Perry spoofed himself or a version of himself.
“The Simpsons” episode “Krusty Gets Kancelled” (1993)
Perry pokes fun at his good looks on this episode by appearing shirtless as Sideshow Luke Perry, Krusty’s “worthless” half-brother, who attempts to save the clown’s flagging career with a telethon. The clip concludes with Perry getting shot out of a cannon and flying through sandpaper and acid, which causes him to exclaim, “My face, my valuable face!”
“Vacanze di Natale ’95” (1995)
Thought of as one of Neri Parenti’s series of cinepanettoni, this Italian Christmas comedy features Perry playing his handsome self, the object of an Italian teenage girl’s affections. Watch the trailer:
“Johnny Bravo” episode “Luke Perry’s Guide to Love” (2000)
Perry obviously didn’t need help with the ladies, but here he plays himself, at one point dressed in a giant hot dog costume, to offer romantic advice to Johnny Bravo.
“Community” episode “Conventions of Space and Time” (2013)
Although “Inspector Spacetime” is the “Community” version of “Doctor Who” that is beloved by Abed and Troy, it is still British… until Pierce got involved with a focus group on how to fix it — and make it American. This leads to the surprise cameo of Perry playing the American version of Inspector Spacetime, and his ensign is none other than fellow “90210” star Jennie Garth, which is a clever poke at the sometimes-illogical stunt-casting so often used to tap into nostalgia.
“Love in Paradise” (2016)
This Hallmark movie may not seem like a reference to Perry initially, but the plot plays off of his reputation as a Hollywood actor who can’t possibly live up to his on-screen persona. In the rom-com, he plays popular Western actor Avery Ford, who is supposed to rustle up business at a Montana dude ranch, though it soon becomes clear that he knows more about yoga and kombucha than he does chili and chopping wood. Perry not only starred in the movie, but he also created the characters and executive produced it. There’s even a reference to “8 Seconds,” his 1994 bull riding movie.