Fans of Beverly Hills, 90210 will definitely remember Jason Priestley – alongside his late co-star Luke Perry, Priestley was one of the biggest heart throbs of the 1990s.
Priestley and Perry became firm friends on the set of the teen drama and remained close for over 29 years. Perry tragically died of a stroke on 4th March, and it seems as though his ex co-star is still struggling to come to terms with the shocking news.
In fact, Priestley has just penned a touching tribute to the late actor after days of silence on social media.
Writing on Instagram, Priestley stated: “It’s taken me a couple of days to figure out how to write this … My dear friend of 29 years, Luke Perry, was one of those truly special people who really cared.”
He then added: “Luke was not only a star, he was an incredibly bright light that was extinguished far too soon… and that is why I, and so many others, are in so much pain today… if you had the good fortune to know Luke, or to have ever crossed his path, I know you are sad today as well.”
Fans of 90210 will remember that Priestley played Brandon Walsh on the series, while Perry brought the character of Dylan McKay to life. On-screen the characters were inseparable, and it looks as though the actors playing them were equally as close.
Jason’s heartfelt tribute comes hot on the heels of Riverdale honouring Perry after resuming production earlier this week. The programme’s Wednesday night episode featured a touching ‘In Memoriam’ tribute to the actor. The show’s producer referred to Perry as being “Our heart, always.”
Priestley echoed this sentiment with the final words of his tribute: “The candle that burns twice as bright only burns for half as long…. you burned oh, so brightly Luke… Goodnight Sweet Prince.”
What do you think about Priestley’s tribute? Let us know in the comments section!
Beverly Hills, 90210 was the pop culture sensation of the 90s. The world was introduced to teen heart throbs Luke Perry and Jason Priestly, while the likes of Shannen Doherty, Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth all became household names thanks to the show’s success.
The series centred around a group of high school students living on the West Coast as they transitioned from school to adult life. Despite the relatively superficial premise, 90210 wasn’t afraid to address some serious issues over the course of the series, with storylines involving date rape, drug abuse and AIDS all featuring prominently.
Tragically, lead actor Luke Perry recently passed away from a stroke at the age of 52 years old. To celebrate his amazing performance as Luke McKay – and also revisit some of our other favourite characters – in the article below, we’ve brought you 10 things you didn’t know about Beverly Hills, 90210. Enjoy!
10. One of the actors thought the series was completely superficial
It was a programme about a bunch of entitled rich kids…
…and apparently that premise didn’t go over the heads of some of the actors who were involved in the series! In fact, Ian Ziering had to think twice about appearing in the programme because he was seriously unimpressed by the subject matter.
Ziering had already moved back to New Jersey (his home state) when he received a call from his agent about a lead role in Beverly Hills, 90210.
As soon as he got the script, Ziering realised that some aspects of the shower were a little bit…shallow, to say the least: “When I read the script for 90210, I thought, ‘Boy, this is very superficial,’ and it was.”
Ziering told Entertainment Weekly:“I mean, the pilot was all about the glitz and the glamour of Beverly Hills, the obnoxious kids, and the fish-out-of-water story of Brenda and Brandon Walsh.
“I couldn’t discern from that first script that the show would become very issue-oriented.”
9. Shannen Doherty’s audition went badly wrong
Shannen Doherty was one of the main stars in 90210.
She played Brenda Walsh, the female lead for the first four seasons of the show and moved from being a fish out of water on the West Coast to being a confident member of the popular clique at West Beverly High.
However, Doherty nearly ruined her own chances of bagging the lead role of Brenda after a horrible audition which left her convinced that she was never going to be hired.
Doherty explained in an interview with The New York Times: “My audition was horrible. I actually remember walking out and saying: ‘I lost that job. I blew it.’
“And the casting director came out and sort of winked at me and said, ‘I wouldn’t count yourself out yet, kiddo.’ And I was like, ‘O.K., whatever.’”
Wow! Seems like they were really keen to get Doherty on board (they just had no idea about her lateness or bad attitude at that point…).
8. Dylan McKay was never supposed to be a recurring character
Luke Perry was one of the biggest heart throbs of the 90s.
He was cool, good-looking and definitely had a James Dean vibe about him. So fans of the series might be surprised to learn that Perry’s on-screen character Dylan McKay was only supposed to be a guest star on the show.
Producers had originally only intended for McKay to be a minor character in the series – his story arc was only supposed to last a few episodes.
However, Aaron Spelling loved Perry’s performance so much that he immediately expanded the role. Perry told The Hollywood Reporter: “I was a guest star, and Aaron wanted to make me a regular. The studio didn’t want to pick up the deal, and he used that instance to illustrate an important principle: He gets to pick who’s on the show.
“He didn’t want me to have to go in the room with the network, but he calmly looked at me and said, ‘Go get ’em, kid.’” Aww! Spelling definitely had the right instinct when it came to Perry’s rising popularity.
Funnily enough, executives were already familiar with Perry as he had previously auditioned for the role of Steve Sanders.
7. Aaron Spelling tried to control his daughter Tori’s storylines
Aaron Spelling was naturally very protective about what happened to his daughter Tori’s on-screen character Donna.
Executive producer Larry Mollin once revealed the full extent of this concern to Vulture: “The thing that was always at play in the Donna story was that Donna was played by the daughter of Aaron Spelling. The minute we’d go in to pitch stories about an episode, he’d ask, ‘What’s Donna doing this week?’
“Even though Donna wasn’t one of the main characters in the inner-circle—she was a supporting character, really, in the beginning—you always had to start what the episode was about with, ‘What was Donna doing?’
“That’s what the old man wanted to hear. It was sweet. It was actually very endearing, his admiration for her. Tori was really out there. She was just enjoying herself. So even though the old man couldn’t control her, he could control Donna Martin.”
Spelling agreed that her father had been quite mindful of what happened to her character on-screen, stating: “When I was first cast, Donna was a just a smaller side character. She was a friend of Kelly and Brenda’s.
“So there was never a discussion about her character staying a virgin. I think she stayed a virgin because once we established that she was a fan favourite, people really started relating to her. Teens constantly would approach me and tell me that they were virgins and they had times where they were scared that being a virgin would make them seem uncool, but then Donna made it okay.”
6. Gabrielle Carteris was 29 years old when she was cast to play Andrea Zuckerman
Gabrielle Carteris is well-known to fans of the series as bespectacled Andrea Zuckerman.
Although it’s common knowledge that not many of the actors who played their characters were teenagers anymore, Carteris was actually 29 years old when she won the part of Andrea! The actress herself admitted she was worried about producers finding out…
The actress stated: “They didn’t know, I lied. I actually talked to a lawyer about how could I sign these contracts and lie about my age and still be able to do the show. ‘Is it OK?’ And, ‘Yes it is, as long as you just say you’re over 21.’”
Eventually Carteris’ real age caught up with her when a journalist managed to find out the truth: “Then a magazine—that I won’t say—did an interview on the show with somebody else and they went and asked my agent [my age], I said, ‘I don’t talk about my age,’ or whatever, they found it in the DMV, illegally.
“So, then they were printing it and I thought, ‘This is it! I’m gonna lose the job, there’s no way.’ By that time, the show had been on long enough, so it was OK.” It also turns out that Ziering was only one year younger than Carteris!
The actor told EW: “I was 28 years old playing a 16-year-old. I just kept my mouth shut. I never talked about it. And I wasn’t the oldest in the cast either. I just thought, if they’re going to buy, I’m going to sell it.”
5. Beverly Hills High wanted nothing to do with the series
As you can imagine, Beverly Hills High didn’t want anything to do with 90210.
We all know that West Beverly High is a fictional school, but many of its scenes had to be filmed around a real-life location. Executives quickly approached Beverly Hills High – but they weren’t keen on the idea at all.
Instead, filming for all of the school scenes took place at Torrance High School, 20 miles away from Beverly Hills High. Apparently Beverly Hills High wouldn’t allow use of its name or its location.
Any 90s kids will probably think that the high school set we see on screen looks suspiciously familiar…and that’s because Torrance High has played host to a number of classic shows over the years.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, She’s All That and the 90210 reboot were all filmed within its confines, so the building definitely boasts a lot of TV history within its walls.
The photo below shows the fictional ‘Sunnydale High’ set at Torrance in a scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
4. There was plenty of in-fighting between the main cast members
It’s ironic that 90210 was all about a bunch of high school kids, because apparently that’s how all of the main actors behaved away from the cameras.
There was plenty of drama amongst the actors, and actress Jennie Garth has previously spoken out about just how bad things got in an interview with The New York Times.
The actress explained: “There were times when it was worse than high school. The environment there was like: Are you kidding me? There was a lot of tension and unnecessary drama on the set, a certain amount of competition, and a certain—probably—anger about different salaries as the years progressed.
“People would find out how much someone was making, and then they’d be angry and want that, or if you got days off in your contract, they’d want that. Nobody was brave enough to step in and set us straight, and have a serious talk with us about it.”
However, there was also a lot of love (or loving) going on behind the scenes too. Jason Priestly once wrote in his memoir: “Various combinations of people slept with each other over the years.
He also confessed that his first adult relationship was with his co-star Christine Elise (who played Emily Valentine).
3. Tiffani Thiessen needed a hand double in her very first episode
Tiffani Thiessen joined the cast in season five after Shannen Doherty’s departure.
She quickly became a fan favourite, playing the lead role of Valerie Malone aka West Beverly’s bad girl. Fans were instantly introduced to her rebellious character when they were shown a scene depicted Valerie smoking a joint. Naughty!
Funnily enough, actress Thiessen wasn’t actually able to roll up the joint herself, despite several attempts to do so. This led producers with a bit of a problem!
They really wanted to include the scene, so were forced to bring in a ‘hand model’ to show Valerie rolling a joint with one hand.
Thiessen explained to EW: “They wanted me to roll a joint with one hand so I looked like some kind of pro. I couldn’t do it. The person you see is actually somebody else’s hand rolling a joint.”
Aww! Luckily that was the only time anybody needed to come in and help Thiessen with her character – she went on to make Valerie completely her own.
2. None of the cast members were allowed to cut their hair or wear sunglasses
Aaron Spelling was apparently very strict when it came to his 90210 stars.
Sources from behind the scenes have revealed that Spelling used to grow infuriated when one of his actors would come back from a holiday with a haircut – one of the producers on the show has revealed the full extent of Spelling’s paranoia about hairstyles.
Publicist Kevin Sasaki once told The Hollywood Reporter: “If someone came back after hiatus with a completely different haircut, Aaron would go crazy.”
This particular quirk was confirmed by none other than his daughter Tori, who didn’t dare venture out to the salon during her time on the show: “Hair was very important to my dad. And if you watch, there are never sunglasses on 90210.
“He’d always say, ‘Let them see it in your eyes before they hear it in your words.’ Luke Perry’s famous squint was probably because my dad wouldn’t let him wear sunglasses.”
Wow! So Perry had Spelling to thank for that brooding look then.
1. Hilary Swank was fired from the series
Most people might not realise that double Oscar-winner Hilary Swank once had a main role on 90210!
Swank appeared on the show as Carly Reynolds from 1997 to 1998. Her character was slightly different – Carly was a single mother who played Sander’s love interest on the eighth season. But despite being contracted for two years, Swank was fired after only 16 episodes on the series.
In a 2014 interview with Conan O’Brien, Swank admitted that as a young actress she had been devastated over leaving the hit show. However, it turned out to be a fateful move for Swank…
After being fired from the show, she went on to star was Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry (1999) – and won her first Oscar!
Did you know all of these facts about Beverly Hills, 90210? Let us know in the comments section!