Luke Perry and Drug Abuse – Actor Luke Perry, the teen idol who was best known for his portrayal of Dylan McKay in the popular television series Beverly Hills, 90210, died last week at age 52. According to reports, he suffered from a “massive stroke” and was hospitalized in the days before he died.
Only 25% of stroke victims are under age 65, and many survive them (10-20% are fatal). Many risk factors cannot be controlled, such as being male or having a family history of strokes. However, many risk factors are very preventable such as being overweight, physically inactive, smoking, excessive drinking, and drug abuse (particularly illicit stimulants).
In fact, according to Health Day, cocaine, meth, and other stimulants can cause a stroke to occur in two ways. For one, stimulant drugs increase blood pressure, and these drugs also have a direct effect on blood vessel walls. Ultimately, increased pressure can cause them to burst and leak blood into the brain. This is referred to as a hemorrhagic stroke.
Secondly, stimulant street drugs cause blood vessels to narrow. This can prevent blood flow to parts of the brain and destroy brain tissue, resulting in what is known as an ischemic stroke.
So far, there hasn’t been much talk regarding past or present drug use or alcohol having been somehow involved in Perry’s passing. Earlier this week, however, for reasons unknown talk show host Wendy Williams compared herself to him and said that she wondered if he had substance abuse problems as she herself once did.
Until now, no one seems to have heard anything about Perry doing illicit drugs or drinking excessively. Unless Williams knows something others do not, her associations don’t really make much sense and are potentially hurtful to the family.
To be fair, other than being male Perry definitely didn’t fit the profile of someone who was at high risk for a stroke, let alone not surviving one. In lieu of a post-mortem toxicology report that indicates substance abuse of some sort, however, it’s not a speculation that should be given much credibility.
Unfortunately, his untimely death isn’t the only tragedy to befall the original cast. Rather, they have experienced more than their fair share of suffering and trauma.
Luke Perry: Health Problems and Tragic Early Death
Luke, who is the father of two, has been divorced from his first wife whom he married in 1993. He spent much of the ’90s played Dylan on 90210 and moved onto to other projects in the 2000s, including being cast as a reverend on HBO’s Oz.
Luke began campaigning in 2015 for colon cancer testing after he lost a friend to the disease. Later that year, he underwent a colonoscopy exam that identified pre-cancerous growths, which he promptly had removed.
Most recently, Perry was featured in the Netflix drama Riverdale. He also played a role in Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood—a hugely-anticipated movie with a star-studded cast, including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsh, and Dakota Fanning, among others.
Shannen Doherty: Alcohol Abuse and Breast Cancer
On the TV series 90210, Doherty played Brenda Walsh, a girl who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She was let go in 1994 after cast members broke up a physical altercation between her and then co-star Jennie Garth.
A short engagement to Dean Jay Factor (Max Factor heir) ended in reciprocal claims of abuse and Factor filing a restraining order in 1993. He said she tried to run over him with a car, and she claimed he threw her into a pool.
Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and then again in 2015, but is now reported to be in remission.
In 1996, she was forced to undergo anger counseling after smashing a beer bottle on a car. In 2001, she received three years’ probation for drunk driving. In 1998, Shannen joined the TV series Charmed but then left in 2001, reportedly over disputes with a co-star.
In 2001, she received three years’ probation for drunk driving. In 2011, she married her third husband Kurt Iswarienko, a photographer.
Jason Priestley: Alcohol Abuse and a Near Fatal Car Accident
According to his memoirs, Canadian-born actor Jason Priestley, who played sweetheart Brandon Walsh, was frequently mobbed by hoards of screaming girls but struggled with fame and admittedly would “smoke and get drunk during every press interview.”
Priestly partied hard apparently “to prove he was nothing like sanctimonious Brandon.” But, in 1998, he was caught drinking and driving after crashing his Porsche into a pole, had his license suspended for a year and was ordered to take alcohol management classes.
After trying to start a career as a race car driver, in 2002 he experienced a 180 mph crash that nearly cost him his life. According to the actor, as a result of this accident, he was left with two broken feet, a broken back, and had his nose ripped from his face.
He has been married since 2005 to make-up artist Naomi Lowde and has two children.
Gabrielle Carteris: Partial Paralyzation
Carteris played the nerdy Andrea Zuckerman on the series from 1990-1995. After leaving 90210, she had her own talk show, but it lasted only one season.
She married stockbroker Charles Isaacs in 1992, and they have two children together. She has since been cast in several TV movies, and during the filming of one in 2006, she was reportedly injured while doing a stunt.
As a result, her face was partially paralyzed, and she suffered from painful spasms—a condition that she now controls with acupuncture. Carteris claims the stunt was not properly rehearsed and that she complained during several hours of filming that the actor who played an intruder was putting excessive pressure on her neck:
“A couple of days later, my face started to become paralyzed. I knew something had happened since I had lost feeling in my hands right away. But when I became paralyzed, I knew everything was connected…I started to spasm.”
Tori Spelling: Rich Father Yet Financial Troubles
Donna Martin was Tori’s first significant role, thanks in large part to her dad Aaron being 90210’s producer. Despite the fact that her father was worth around $600 million at the time of his death in 2006, the younger Spelling has had some financial trouble.
Tori was married to actor Charlie Shanian when she was caught cheating in 2004 with co-star Dean McDermott. A month after her divorce from Shanian was finalized, Tori married Dean, and they went on to have five kids together.
Rumors have it that she wasn’t given a bigger inheritance due to her crazy spending sprees. Tori, now 45, said in 2013: “Just because I’m on TV doesn’t mean that I don’t make bad financial choices.” She reportedly owed $282,655 in taxes in 2015.
Ian Ziering and others seem to have had fewer problems, although Ian’s ex-wife, former Playboy Playmate and actress might disagree.
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