There was a time when Luke Perry was considered his generation’s James Dean. Perhaps, tragically, he was fated to also die (somewhat) young.
Perry, of course, made it to middle age, dying from a massive stroke at age 52 on March 4, 2019. However, that’s too young to go. He had so much life left to live. So much creativity left to offer. He had a family that loved him. He had fans who wanted to see what else he would accomplish on the small screen. He had transitioned from 90210 to Riverdale, entrancing a new generation.
Perry has left some lasting quotes. Here are some of the best Luke Perry quotes about James Dean, Riverdale, Beverly Hills 90210 and more.
On James Dean
One fan wrote on Twitter: “I’m truly sorry to hear that Luke Perry had passed away today. So young, handsome and talented. I always referred to him as the Modern Day James Dean of The 90’s, due to his Dylan character on Beverly Hills 90210. Me and my daughter loved that show.”
Others, of course, also made the James Dean/Luke Perry comparison, and the actor was asked about it. Here’s what he said:
“At one point or another, everybody gets called ‘the new James Dean.’”
Well, not everyone. It was typical Perry, though – full of humility – and it’s arguably his best quote. He also said this, though, perhaps topping himself quote-wise:
“I’m not James Dean. And no one else is, either.”
Some sites give the fuller version of that quote: “I’m not James Dean. And no one else is either. There’s always someone being called the next James Dean. But there was only one. And he’s dead.”
Being on the Outside
“I’m lucky: I always wanted to be an actor. But I never felt the need to be in with the crowd. I didn’t mind being on the outside. I was always looking forward or upwards, not in,” Perry said.
Feeling like an outsider was a refrain that Perry frequently returned to in interviews. “I always felt like something of an outsider,” Perry told Geocities in 1993. “But I identified with people up on the screen. That made me feel like I wanted to be up on the screen too. I felt like eventually I would get there.”
Keeping it Humble
“Porsches are glorified Volkswagens, man,” Perry said, perhaps revealing his humble Midwestern roots.
“I go four- wheeling in my truck. I also like to fish, cook, do stuff around my house. I even studied fencing for awhile,” Perry said, according to Brainy Quote.
On 90210 & Dylan McKay
“It’s not me they’re coming out to see, it’s this character I play,” Perry told ET of Beverly Hills 90210. “I’m very flattered that it’s gone over as well as it has.”
“I’m going to be linked with him until I die, but that’s actually just fine. I created Dylan McKay. He’s mine,” he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Riverdale introduced Luke Perry to a new generation of audiences. This is what he said about that show, according to THR: “I like playing the dad because I like being a dad, and I think it’s a great character in the milieu of this show that I’m the grounded one, and I’m the guy who really cares about K.J., who cares about doing a good job and being a good construction worker. I love that.”
On the Pressures of Fame
Perry spoke in interviews about how it felt to go from a small-town Ohio boy to a famous actor. “It’s hard and sometimes it’s scary,” he said, according to EOnline. “It still amazes my mother. I went home for Christmas one year and there were fans all over the front lawn, hoping to see me.”
On What He Was Like In High School
Perry gave a lengthy interview to Geocities. In it, he explained: “My high school was nothing like West Beverly High, let me tell you. I grew up in Fredericktown, Ohio. It was a small town [population 2,300]. I didn’t do that well in school, although I was voted ‘The Biggest Flirt.’ I played sports I was on the tennis team and also the baseball team. But the coolest thing I did was that I dressed up as our school mascot, Freddie Bird, for all of the football games. My step-father had a helicopter and I got the helicopter to drop me onto the football field. It was cool.”