When Luke Perry passed away, the world was shocked. The former 90210 and present-day Riverdale star suffered a massive stroke and never recovered. He passed away on March 4, 2019, and the cast of Riverdale was left with a massive hole in their cast.
Perry played the father of Archie Andrews, and according to most of the young actors on set, he also acted a father figure to most of them since he was one of the older cast members on set. The show films in Vancouver, Canada, so everyone is always far away from home.
KJ Apa, who played Perry’s son on the show, didn’t say much when the news of Perry’s passing broke. He posted a photo on Instagram that just said “Rest in Love bro.” It was kind of odd, considering how close the two were on set, but everyone processes their grief in different ways.
This week, however, Apa appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and spoke about his relationship with Perry. This week’s episode of Riverdale was the last one that Perry had filmed. While speaking with Fallon about his former co-star, it was very clear that he and Apa were close. The New Zealand actor had to stop himself from crying multiple times as he explained just exactly what Perry meant to him.
“It’s not every day you come across a guy like Luke,” he said. “Luke is the kind of person who did everything he can to make whoever you are, no matter how big or small you are, feel comfortable and feel welcome. It’s hard to kind of put into words how that makes me feel.”
Apa also discussed how Perry’s parental instincts kicked in all the time, and he would even call Apa’s parents to give them updates.
“He would call my parents every week and keep them updated on how I’m doing,” he laughed. If I had a cold or something he’d be like, ‘I got him, I brought some Gatorade to his apartment the other day.’ Him and my dad were always texting each other and stuff.”
Apa’s co-stars Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes spoke similar sentiments about Perry right after his passing.
“I’m finding it hard to grasp that he will no longer be around to give long hugs and share his wisdom and kindness with all of us,” Reinhart tweeted. “I’m thinking of his family. His children. I pray for them to heal and find peace in this devastating loss.”
Mendes spoke about Perry’s kindness and wisdom, as well as his “healing” presence.
he took care of us all. an authentic man who took pleasure in offering us his guidance and wisdom. his presence was healing; he had the ability to make you feel comfortable and at ease within seconds of seeing him.
i will never forget the collective shock and distress we experienced when the news broke on set. we lost a dear friend. my heart hurts for his family and anybody who had the pleasure of knowing him. rest in peace, luke.
although you’re no longer around to wrap me in the warmth of your hug, i can still remember what it felt like. whenever i think of you, i will remember that feeling.
Though most of us never had the chance to meet Luke Perry, his passing confirmed what we already knew: he was a kind, gentle soul who changed the lives of everyone and anyone around him.