Luke Perry was, by all accounts, a lovely human being and a true gentleman.
The actor died on Monday after suffering a massive stroke, and the outpouring from fans and celebs alike has proven how beloved Perry really was. And since his death, a common theme has emerged from many people's recollections of him -- that the Beverly Hills, 90210 star was wonderfully generous and kind.
Perhaps the most viral story belongs to Colin Hanks, who Instagrammed about once running into Perry during a flight. Hanks remembered two young brothers fighting on the plane, and what Perry did to get them to stop.
"My wife and I are on a plane back from Mexico. Couple of rows ahead of us, these two brothers, young kids, are beating the hell out of each other," Hanks recalled. "Their poor parents are powerless to stop the crying, yelling and screaming. If you're a parent you understand. Sometimes there's nothing you can do. It was like this for close to two hours."
"Then about 10 minutes before landing it starts to get real bad," he continued. "Out of nowhere, a man comes from first class. Hat, beard, sunglasses, blowing up a balloon. He ties it off, hands it off like he's holding out a sword to a king. Kneeling, Head down, arms up. Kids calm down in milliseconds. Plane damn near bursts into applause. 15 minutes longer and it probably would have started WWIII, but we landed before that could happen. We get off the plane, are waiting on line in customs. Finally get a good look at the guy and I say to my wife 'Holy sh*t. I think that balloon man/hero is Luke Perry.'"
Hanks' suspicion was later confirmed.
"As luck would have it we end up standing next to each other," he shared. "Out of the blue he turns to me and says some kind words about Fargo, which kinda blew my mind. I start singing his praises about how long I've admired him and also about the move with the balloon. 'That's a pro move! You can't teach that!' I say. He tells me he always flies with a couple of balloons for that very reason, to give to screaming kids. Don't know if that's true, but have no reason to believe it wasn't. Guy seemed like a true gent. Gone way too damn soon. Also, I'll be damned if I don't start traveling with some spare balloons. #promove #rip #lukeperry #truegent."
Hanks, of course, isn't the only one who has a great story about Perry's caring nature. Erin Ziering -- the wife of Perry's 90210 co-star, Ian Ziering -- shared a story on Monday about Perry once doing construction on their home to make it safer for her and her 2-year-old daughter while she was also pregnant at the time. Perry previously paved asphalt before hitting it big on 90210.
"Luke welcomed me into Hollywood with the biggest bear hug ever," she wrote on Instagram. "He was a man’s man and a true gentleman. He always called our house line, just to check in when Ian was away and only referred to himself when he called as Uncle Lukey to our girls. We shared our love of farm life and chatted about living in Ohio. When I was pregnant with Penna he didn’t think our hillside was safe enough for our then 2 year old so he went to work laying the foundation for our picket fence. (We even took our maternity photos that day and he of course jumped in)."
"If you ever come to our home and enjoy our backyard I hope it makes you remember the love and kindness that this man had to give," she added.
A number of stars tweeted about their heartwarming interactions with him, like Gabrielle Union, who ran into him on a plane while she was with Kimora Lee Simmons, and Alexandra Daddario, who encountered Perry while she was still a waitress.
Hey @OfficialKimora remember when we were on that flight w/ #LukePerry & we fangirled so hard & asked him EVERY 90210 question? He was the perfect gentleman & heartthrob. He was kind when he probably just wanted to sleep. And he switched seats so we could sit together. 💔 #RIP— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) March 5, 2019
Luke Perry used to come into the restaurant I worked in over a decade ago and he was always so kind to me and friendly in an industry where most people would just dismiss me. Always remembered that. RIP. And be kind and compassionate to those around you y’all.— Alexandra Daddario (@AADaddario) March 5, 2019
Meanwhile, Heather Matarazzo recalled Perry asking her to hang out with him and his friends at an after-party at the first premiere she attended when she was 13 years old, just so she could feel included.
"He was my first real lesson in kindness and peer to peer generosity," she wrote, sharing an adorable throwback of the two together. "He went out of his way to make sure that I was included. He didn't have to; he chose to and that will stay with me forever. Thank you, bud. Your kindness lives on."
In 1996, I was just starting to experience the first measures of "fame" and "success". It was hard for me to take in as a 13-year-old. Hell, it can still be hard in moments as a 36-year-old. Shout out to social anxiety!! However, I remember going— Heather Matarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) March 4, 2019
to my first premiere, which was for Jackie Chan's newest film at the time and then heading to the after-party, which I believe was at Planet Hollywood (it was massive back in the 90's). Sylvester Stalone was there (shakes hands like a fish), Wade Boggs was there— Heather Matarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) March 4, 2019
(the only time I'd ever seen my dad truly impressed with my success😂😂😂) and the protagonist of this story, Luke Perry. Since then, I've met quite a few well-known people, but Luke Perry will always stand out.— Heather Matarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) March 4, 2019
He had just come off 90210, and for those that don't know, that show was a FRENZY!!! People were obsessed, including me. However, I didn't want to be with Dylan McKay, I wanted to be him, so I could get with Brenda....but I digress. He had recognized me from Dollhouse and asked— Heather Matarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) March 4, 2019
if I'd sit with him and his friends, which I did, all evening. However, inside, I was gobsmacked. I couldn't believe that he A: recognized me and B: asked me to hang with HIM and HIS FRIENDS!. My inner 13 year old is still screaming.— Heather Matarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) March 4, 2019
He was my first real lesson in kindness and peer to peer generosity. He went out of his way to make sure that I was included. He didn't have to; he chose to and that will stay with me forever. Thank you, bud. Your kindness lives on. #RIPLukePerrypic.twitter.com/nCzk98pL2S— Heather Matarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) March 4, 2019
Professional wrestler Joey Ryan remembered Perry as a supportive father to his 21-year-old son, Jack.
Terrible news today. Not only was 90210 a staple of my youth but Luke Perry was a stellar human being and incredibly supportive father who I got to talk to on multiple occasions when he’d come watch his son wrestle. My heart breaks for @boy_myth_legend today. pic.twitter.com/5AOd112HxB— Joey Ryan (@JoeyRyanOnline) March 4, 2019
Non-celebs also took to social media to share their stories of Perry's kindness.
"I knew Luke Perry as my 92yo father's very kind and helpful neighbor," one Twitter user wrote. "He changed lightbulbs, took out trash cans and was an all around great guy. So sorry for his family!"
I knew Luke Perry as my 92yo father's very kind and helpful neighbor. He changed lightbulbs, took out trash cans and was an all around great guy. So sorry for his family!— Leslie Crabtree (@MadameBunyip) March 4, 2019
Filmmaker Josh Raby shared photos of Perry giving bags of food to people during a storm.
"Y’all might know Luke Perry had some land here in Tennessee," the post reads. "Maybe you don’t know that during the flood of 2010, he was out there bringing people food, bottles of water, and shoes. Just a humble, decent dude."
Y’all might know Luke Perry had some land here in Tennessee. Maybe you don’t know that during the flood of 2010, he was out there bringing people food, bottles of water, and shoes. Just a humble, decent dude. pic.twitter.com/BEefrMYfM2— Josh Raby (@JoshRaby) March 5, 2019
Others noted Perry's lack of an ego.
I met Luke Perry in ‘06 - he came home to Ohio to campaign for Sherrod Brown (Sherrod’s father, a Mansfield doctor, delivered Luke).— Michael O'Neil (@abefromanohio) March 4, 2019
Luke did events across Ohio. We offered a driver, but his high school buddy drove him in a beat up car. Zero ego.
I’m very sorry for his family. pic.twitter.com/42dF4EvS5B
ET got a taste of Perry's kindness when we spoke to the actor and Patricia Arquette at the 28th Annual GLAAD Awards in April 2017. Arquette talked about Perry's 30-year friendship with her late sister, Patricia Arquette, who died in September 2016 due to complications related to HIV/AIDS.
"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,'" Patricia told ET. "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 something wrong with it, and there's nothing wrong with it.'"
"Look, when you love somebody, you love them. Bottom line," Perry explained. "And 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."
In ET's first interview with Perry in 1991, he talked about not letting fame get to his head even after 90210 became a massive hit.
"It's real good to know that, yeah, a year ago I was shoveling asphalt, and a year from now, I could be doing it again," he said at the time. "I think it keeps a good perspective on things as long as you remember that."
"It's not me they're coming out to see, it's this character I play," Perry also humbly said about his portrayal of iconic bad boy, Dylan McKay. "I'm very flattered that it's gone over as well as it has."
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