Riverdale actor Luke Perry died unexpectedly following a stroke earlier this year, just months before the premiere of his final film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Ahead of its Friday July 26 release, the film's star, Leonardo DiCaprio, revealed that the late actor was one of the reasons he was so excited to come to set.
Speaking to Extra, DiCaprio — who plays a down-on-his-luck television star in the new Quentin Tarantino movie — admitted he was enamored with Perry, who played bad boy Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210 for nearly a decade, cementing his status as pop culture icon.
“I grew up with him on [Beverly Hills] 90210, looking up to him as literally the coolest dude on Earth and honestly when I was on set, I was starstruck,” said DiCaprio of Perry while walking the carpet at the film's Los Angeles premiere. “We got to sit down and chat. He couldn’t have been a more amazing human being. It’s a real tragic loss.”
Perry’s death was mourned by Hollywood — both those who knew him well, like his Riverdale family and Beverly Hills, 90210 co-stars, and those who had only the briefest of run-ins with the star.
Director Tarantino also opened up about Perry’s time on set. He told Entertainment Weekly that Perry was very enthusiastic to play his Western star character.
“It was really fun," Tarantino told the outlet of Perry joining the cast. "I had a couple of different roles I could have put Luke in. Luke was like, ‘I want to be on the Western show!’ Because he’s just a really great rider and he loves doing Westerns. When we did one of his big horse scenes, Luke slides the horse to the front of the saloon and all the other riders fall in alongside him. I was like, ‘Luke, do you want us to help you out? Do you want me to put a mark on the ground?’ He was like, ‘Quentin? You could take a dime and throw it in the dirt and I will land on that dime. The take you’ll use is when everyone else gets it right.’"