Doherty and fellow ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ costar Jason Priestley reflected on their late castmate’s impact during a panel at the Orlando event
Doherty, 52, became visibly emotional onstage when Priestley, 54, mentioned Perry. Upon hearing his name, the Charmed actress immediately teared up, at first wiping away tears with her left hand before leaving her seat to grab a tissue to wipe away more tears.
“It was shocking,” said Doherty, whose 90210 character, Brenda, shared a romance with Dylan, played by Perry. “I have a very visceral reaction whenever someone brings up Luke because as someone with cancer — and a really horrible cancer at stage 4 — I thought I would be the first to go. So when it was Luke, it really just sent me for a tailspin.”
Doherty revealed to PEOPLE in 2015 that she had breast cancer, which went into remission in 2017 but returned in 2019 at stage 4. In a 2023 PEOPLE cover story, Doherty said the cancer had spread to her bones.
Onstage at MegaCon, Doherty explained that she and Perry were close while filming the ’90s teen drama but admitted “there were moments where we were not so close” in the years after the show ended in 2000.
“But later we became extremely close,” she added. “So to lose him as our relationship was just sort of flourishing as friends, and our respect and admiration for each other was coming to its fullest potential … it was just very hard.”
In the episode, Fred was struck by a car and dies after pulling over to help a mystery woman fix her flat tire. Doherty’s character later tells Fred’s son that she was that woman and that Fred died a hero after he pushed her out of the way of the car.
“I think it continues to be hard for all of us, and when we do cons or any signings and it’s all of us there, Luke’s presence is missed,” she said at MegaCon. “There’s a hole, for sure.”
Meanwhile, Priestley reflected on Perry’s impact on the 90120 cast.
“Luke was a huge part of our show,” he said. “He was a total joker. He would come to work, and always break the tension, and make everybody laugh. But then he was also incredibly professional, and always there, and always committed to what he was doing.”
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Priestley went on to call Perry a “big-hearted guy” with a special relationship with each of his costars.
“We were all close as a group, but Luke was close with everybody within the group,” Priestley recalled. “He was incredibly kind and considerate and a lot of things that I think when people think about TV stars or movie stars or heartthrobs wouldn’t pair those two up.”
“He was beautiful,” he concluded. ”We all miss him very much, to this day.”
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