“I got a letter the other day from a girl who mentioned the show we did on
parental drug abuse. She wrote about catching her father freebasing in the
basement. I get letters like that all the time, from people all over the
country.” Luke Perry
American actor Luke Perry, born Coy Luther Perry III, became famous while
portraying the brooding, but sensitive, Dylan McCay in the worldwide hit series
“Beverly Hills, 90210” (1990-95, 1998-2000). The slim, powerful, smoky-voiced
actor also had roles in such series as “Oz” (2001-02), “Jeremiah” (2002) and
“What I Like About You” (2005). He currently stars as the father of two and
devoted husband Peter in NBC’s “Windfall” (2006). As a movie actor, Perry has
played roles in countless vehicles but has not transformed his small screen
success to movie stardom. His most praised work is the John G. Avildsen-helmed
biopic 8 Seconds (1994), where he starred as the real-life rodeo champion Lane
Frost. In 2006, he will costar with Bruce Davison, Louis Gossett Jr. and Paul
Sorvino in the thriller The Real Catch.
Off screen, one of TV Guide’s “25 Greatest Teen Idols” (2005), Perry was invited
to officially begin the Dodge Charger 500 by waving the green flag at the
Darlington Raceway, which was held on May 13, this year. An animal lover, he
keeps two boxers named Mack and Chuck, as well as a potbellied pig named Jerry
Lee. As for his romantic life, Perry was married to former model Minnie Sharp
(born in 1969) from 1993-2003 and has two children with her. He was also
involved with actress Yasmine Bleeth (born in 1968), who lived with him in New
York. The relationship ended shortly after Perry moved back to Los Angeles.
Childhood and Family:
Son of Coy Luther Perry (died of a heart attack in 1980) and Ann Perry Bennett
(homemaker), Coy Luther Perry III, who is most-famous as Luke Perry, was born on
October 11, 1966, in Mansfield, Ohio. His parents split up when Luke was six and
his mother later married construction worker Steve Bennett in 1978. He has an
older brother named Thomas, a navy recruiter who was born in 1965, and his
younger sister is Amy, a secretary who is four years his junior. Additionally,
Luke is a step-brother to Emily Bennett (born in 1976).
Luke was educated in Fredericktown High School in Fredericktown, where he was
named “Biggest Flirt” by his school peers. He graduated in 1984. After
completing his studies, he relocated to Los Angeles.
As for his private life, 5’ 9” Luke married Minnie Sharp, a former model and
daughter of screenwriter Alan Sharp, on November 20, 1993. The two met at a
dinner party in 1991 and moved in together shortly after they began dating. Luke
and Minnie welcomed their first son, Jack Perry, on June 15, 1997, and their
daughter, Sophie, was born in June 2000. The couple divorced in April 2003.
A native of Ohio, Luke Perry moved to Los Angeles after graduating high school.
He worked odd jobs (worked at a doorknob factory and laying asphalt) while also
making the audition circuits. After attending a total of 217 auditions, he
finally kicked off his acting career by nabbing a regular role as country boy
Ned Bates in the daytime soap “Loving” (1987), a role he stayed with for a year,
before moving to another daytime series, “Another World,” (1988-89), where he
With limited acting experience, Perry hit the big time when he won the role of
Dylan McKay on the Fox series “Beverly Hills, 90210” in 1990. The series became
an international hit and Perry rose to fame with its phenomenal success. Despite
the success, he left the Dylan role five years later, in 1995.
While enjoying his triumphant TV role, Perry appeared in several independent
films and major studio productions. Making his film debut with a small part in
the comedy Scorchers (1991, not released till 1992), he then starred with Tim
Owen in the teen drama Terminal Bliss and had a supporting turn in the
horror/comedy Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both 1992). Perry then received some
good reviews for playing rodeo legend Lane Frost in the biopic 8 Seconds (1994),
for director John G. Avildsen. Wanting to give his all, he spent 18 months
working on the techniques of bull riding so he could perform many of his own
Perry made several other films such as the crime/drama Normal Life (1996,
starred with Ashley Judd), the action/comedy American Strays (1996), Riot (1997,
TV), Invasion (1997, TV), the box office hit The Fifth Element (1997) and
Lifebreath (1997) before returning to the cast of “90210” in November 1998 where
he reprised his Dylan McKay role until the series came to an end in 2000. During
the 1998-2000 periods, Perry also took on roles in Indiscreet (1998, TV), The
Heist (1999), The Florentine (1999, costarred with Michael Madsen, Chris Penn
and Mary Stuart Masterson), Storm (1999), the animated The Night of the Headless
Horseman (1999, TV), The Last Buckaroo (2000, TV) and Attention Shoppers (2000).
Perry next starred with Olivia d’Abo and Roger Moore in the spy thriller The
Enemy (2001), was featured as an attorney in the Michael Covert-directed comedy
Dirt (2001, starred Tracy Fraim, Covert and Jack Kehler), played Stu Sheridan in
the TBS thriller The Triangle (2001), starred as Bob in the drama Fogbound
(2002) and costarred in the Western television film Johnson County War (2002).
He returned to TV series with the role of Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier on ten
episodes of the Tom Fontana-created prison series “Oz” (2001-02) and was seen in
the title character in the Showtime sci-fi series “Jeremiah” (2002), in which he
costarred with Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Aside from TV and film appearances, Perry
tasted the waters of Broadway with the revival of “The Rocky Horror Show,”
(2001) where he replaced Jarod Emick as the priggish Brad Majors. In 2004, he
reemerged on stage as New York neurotic Harry in an adaptation of “When Harry
Met Sally…,” along with Alyson Hannigan. Performed at the Theatre Royal
Haymarket, the production also marked Perry’s West End debut.
Vanishing from the wide screen for a few years, the actor made his comeback with
a supporting turn as Tony in Mikey Hilb’s action Dishdogz (2005). The same year,
he also did a spot on an episode of “Will & Grace,” joined the cast of the WB
comedy “What I Like About You” in the recurring role of Todd, starred with
Natalie Brown as Dr. Jake Rollins in the sci-fi television movie Descent, and
played Dr. Chris Richardson in the miniseries “Supernova,” opposite Tia Carrere
and Peter Fonda.
The actor now stars as Peter, the faithful husband and father of two, in the NBC
drama “Windfall” (2006). The series also stars Jason Gedrick and Lana Parrilla
(“Boomtown”) and Sarah Wynter (“24”). Perry is set to play Timothy Carter in
Benjamin Louis’ thriller The Real Catch (2006), alongside Bruce Davison, Louis
Gossett Jr. and Paul Sorvino.