American actor Luke Perry was born on October 11, 1966 in Mansfield, Ohio. Raised in nearby Fredericktown, he started acting in 1986, playing small roles in the daytime soaps Loving and Another World. He got his big break, however, in 1990, when he joined the cast of the teen series Beverly Hills 90210. He took on the role of Dylan McKay, the mistreated son of a business tycoon. Cast as the show’s anti-hero, fighting numerous personal demons, he was introduced as a dangerous loner, who eventually starts a relationship with Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) against her father’s wishes.
Perry left the show in 1995, in an attempt to look for more mature roles. By this time, he was already a household name, and his screen performances—notably in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer—turn him into a teen idol. After playing a considerably dramatic role in the 1994 sports drama 8 Seconds, he took on more mature roles, starring in films such as Normal Life, American Strays and The Fifth Element. However, despite saying his years at 90210 were behind him, he suddenly returned to the program, staying until the series ended in 2000 as a “special guest stars.”
After the show, Perry continued playing more serious roles on screen. In 2001, he joined the cast of the acclaimed prison drama Oz. He played the role of Jeremiah Cloutier, a Protestant pastor who gets involved in a “competition of souls” and dies after being killed by a gang after disagreeing with one of his converts. In 2002, he starred in the science fiction series Jeremiah, where he played the title character; he also served as the show’s executive producer. In 2006, he joined the cast of the short-lived drama Windfall, which circled around a group of friends who won the lottery. In 2007, he landed a part in the drama John from Cincinnati, playing surf talent scout Linc Stark. Since then, he has appeared in Alice Upside Down, A Gunfighter’s Pledge and on episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Minds.