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Actor Luke Perry remembered as ‘friend to the LGBT community’

Sofia Lotto Persio March 4, 2019
Actor Luke Perry arrives for the press line of "Riverdale" at Comic Con in San Diego, July 21, 2018.

Actor Luke Perry has died aged 52 on March 4, 2019. (Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty)

Actor Luke Perry has died on Monday (March 4), less than a week after suffering a stroke.

The death of the Riverdale star was announced in a statement to Variety.

“[Perry] was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, step-father Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and other close family and friends,” the statement from the actor’s representative read.

The actor first shot to fame in the 90s playing Dylan McKay in the hit TV series Beverly Hills, 90210.

Actor Luke Perry speaks onstage during the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
Actor Luke Perry speaks onstage during the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in LA at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 1, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Emma McIntyre/Getty for GLAAD)

Throughout his career, he played a gay character in a 1997 episode of Spin City and also appeared as Jack’s crush on a 2005 episode of Will & Grace. Since 2016, he starred as Fred Andrews in The CW’s Riverdale.

Among the hundreds of messages honouring Perry, LGBT+ media monitoring organisation GLAAD remembered the actor as a “friend to the LGBT+ community.”

“The news of Luke Perry’s death is absolutely devastating. He was a friend to our organization and to the LGBTQ community. Our hearts go out to his loved ones,” GLAAD wrote in a Facebook post, sharing a picture of the actor attending the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2017.

Luke Perry was a close friend of transgender activist Alexis Arquette

In 2017, the award ceremony paid tribute to Alexis Arquette, a transgender activist who died in September 2016 following complications from HIV at 47, and a close friend of Perry’s.

As seen in a video of the GLAAD ceremony posted online at the time, Perry was visibly emotional on stage, while a video introducing the Vanguard Award to Alexis’ sister Patricia Arquette played in the background.

In an interview to ET, Patricia recalled that Perry and Alexis’ close friendship had been the source of rumours.

“He and Lex were friends since they were kids and I remember many years ago, the height of the 90210 craze, they all said, ‘Alexis Arquette is dating Luke. Luke is secretly gay,'” the actor recalled. “And Luke said, ‘I’m not going to say that’s not true, even though Alexis and I are just best friends because that would be to say there’s nothing wrong with it, and there’s nothing wrong with it.'”

“Luke Perry – Irreplaceable beautiful and kind human being.”

— Patricia Arquette

Perry told ET: “I loved Lex and Lex loved me, and I don’t need to explain that to anybody. That’s how love works, and that’s what’s so special about the message Patricia spreads.”

He then praised Alexis’ advocacy on transgender issues: “When you can get that love out there and bring that love into your work place, and you can hire them and look past all that stuff and get to the person that’s inside, that’s what Alexis was about,” he was quoted as saying.

Patricia was among the many who paid tribute to Perry on Monday.

“Luke Perry – Irreplaceable beautiful and kind human being, incredible friend, generous actor and adoring father to Jack and Sophie and loving partner to Madison we are all heartbroken. You are the love and you are the light,” she wrote in a post on Twitter.

More: alexis arquette, GLAAD, Luke Perry, patricia arquette, Riverdale

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