Luke Perry

Why Luke Perry Was Television's Coolest Kid In The 90s

By GQ Staff
05 March 2019
With his smouldering movie star looks and affable personality, the actor came to embody coolness.

Luke Perry’s sudden death at 52 following a “massive” stroke came as a huge shock to fans and those close to the actor.

With audiences across the world having grown up watching Perry play the charming, albeit troubled, Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210, his passing was indeed tragic and left many reeling from the loss of such a talent and enigmatic force gone too soon.



Born with looks that can only rival that of James Dean, Perry became a household name over six of the show’s 10 seasons of 90210.

McKay was certainly the show’s most complex character, displaying all the outward attributes of the classic loner jerk, but equally proving to have more depth.

This was in large part due to Perry’s ability to play the character with a balance of nonchalance and generosity that came to influence a generation of watchers who saw Perry as the very embodiment of ‘cool’.

90210 was hugely successful, particularly adored by teens who suddenly found their angst validated, whilst the same archetypes seen in school portrayed on the screen.

Dylan McKay also became the coolest, and most stylish, high-schooler that many sought to emulate. There was the squint. The Chuck Taylors worn with no socks. Then there was the hair that seemed to defy gravity.

But despite becoming synonymous with the show, Perry’s talent surpassed that of his co-stars and he went on to star in films like Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and more recently, the hit Netflix show Riverdale.


Getty Images

Perry was undergoing something of a career renaissance before his passing, just days after suffering a stroke.

The actor will be seen in theatres later this year in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as Lancer’s Scott Lancer, aka actor Wayne Maunder.

Tarantino is known for using talent whose star power may be considered dormant and then placing them in roles that thrust them back into the consciousness of audiences and Hollywood’s spotlight.


It’s a devastating loss, but Perry will continue to be immortalised through his work on the screen with his energy and charisma continuing to influence audiences and provide a blueprint for cool.


Via GQ Australia