I was sitting with two colleagues under the age of 25 when one of them delivered the news: Dylan McKay Luke Perry died following a massive stroke last week. It hit me like a gut punch. “I think I'm going to cry,” I said genuinely, but also embarrassingly dramatic. “We're so sorry,” they offered, simultaneously Googling to pull up pics for reference.
He was 52, remember? My coworkers—God love them—were actual toddlers when we first saw Dylan pull up in his Porsche and breeze through the doors of West Beverly High. Le sigh.
But that's the thing: When I first met Luke Perry (via my TV set, of course), he was a heartthrob. He was a modern day James Dean circa Rebel Without a Cause. He was the guy courting Brenda, then Kelly, then Brenda again. (OK, they didn't get back together, but remember that epic afternoon fishing on the pier?)
Dylan—via Luke—represented a high school experience, unfolding before my eyes.