KJ Apa's Luke Perry Story Demonstrates How Strong The 'Riverdale' Stars' Bond Was Off-Screen — VIDEO
The Andrews men didn't just have a strong bond on television — they're also incredibly close in real life. During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, KJ Apa described his close relationship with his Riverdale dad Luke Perry, telling the talk show host that the late actor called his parents every week to give them updates, so they would be sure Apa was looked after.
Apa opened up about Perry's sudden death in February, after suffering a stroke at the age of 52, sharing an emotional story about how close Perry had become with the cast of the CW drama. "It's not every day that you come across someone like Luke," Apa said, his voice cracking. "Luke is the kind of person who did everything he can to make — no who you are, matter how big you are or how small you are — feel welcome. It's hard to kind of put into words how [losing him] makes me feel."
To illustrate just how caring Perry was, Apa recalled that he took on a very parental role offscreen as well, saying, "We had a really close relationship. He would call my parents every week and keep them updated of how I’m doing." And that include looking after his onscreen son when he was sick, too: "If I had a cold or something, he’d be like, 'I took some Gatorade to his apartment the other day.'"
"Him and my dad were always texting each other. He always made such a huge effort from the very beginning. I wish I could be like that," the actor explained. Knowing how much of a father figure he was to Apa offscreen as well will make rewatching Perry's final episode on the show even more emotional.
Fallon also brought up Apa's touching tribute to his onscreen father on Instagram, asking why he chose the particular snap of Perry for the post. "That's my favorite photo of him," Apa said of the image, which he captioned with "Rest in love, bro." "I just think he's a complete and utter piece in that photo. Look at him ... living the dream."
Season 3 of Riverdale is nearing its end, and though production shut down temporarily after Perry's tragic death, the show's creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa reveled that his character, Fred Andrews, still appeared in several episodes throughout the season. In addition, Aguirre-Sacasa noted on Twitter that every episode of the show from here on out will be dedicated to the man behind the Riverdale patriarch. His final episode, titled "Don't Fear the Reaper," aired on Wednesday, April 24
"This week’s #Riverdale is the last episode Luke filmed," Aguirre-Sacasa tweeted the weekend before the episode aired. "As always, Fred’s imparting words of wisdom to Archie. A beautiful, true moment between a father and his son. Wish these scenes could go on forever." The showrunner talked about how the Riverdale writers would handle Perry's tragic passing back in March, telling Entertainment Tonight that everyone was "still in shock."
"We know that we have to address it in some way, but we’re giving ourselves a little bit of time and space before we figure out the best way to honor him," Aguirre-Sacasa said at the time. "His spirit — which was so generous and wise and vivacious — we hope will infuse every episode, so in my mind, every episode for the rest of time on Riverdale will have a bit of Luke in it."
Clearly, Perry's time working on Riverdale made a major impact on the cast and crew, and their love of the late actor can be seen through the ways they will pay tribute to him both on the show and in real life. And while it's heartbreaking to know that he is no longer with us, at least fans can rewatch the scenes between Fred and Archie Andrews and know that their bond was just as strong off screen as it was on the show.