STORIES HVD BEEN PERCOLATING since summer that Luke Perry, 27, the dangerously sexy Dylan McKay on Fox’s school drama Beverly Hills, 90210, was getting ready to do the un-Dylan thing: settle down and marry his sweetheart, Minnie Sharp, 24, a onetime furniture saleswoman who, according to tabloid reports, caught his attention two years ago when she mailed him her lace bra. He reportedly popped the question in August after he finished shooting his upcoming rodeo movie, Eight Seconds to Glory. There were rumors that they’d wanted to elope to Las Vegas but canceled when they feared that the media had been alerted to their plans.
Then, of course, all hullabaloo broke loose on Sept. 24, when Perry’s 90210 costar (and on-again, off-again little-screen love) Shannen Doherty married George Hamilton’s 19-year-old son Ashley in a last-minute backyard ceremony. The idea of a Luke Perry wedding was momentarily lost from view, a dinghy in a tsunami.
But Saturday evening, Nov. 20, was the big moment for Luke—formally, Coy Luther Perry III—though it would be a couple of days before his publicist would confirm that what had transpired at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills had indeed been a wedding. At any rate, the auburn-haired bride wore an ivory-colored dress and a choker, and the very private ceremony was reportedly attended only by a few friends and family, including Perry’s mother and stepfather, Ann and Steve Bennett, and Sharp’s parents. (Minnie’s father, Alan Sharp, wrote the screenplay for the 1983 Mel Gibson-Sigourney Weaver movie The Year of Living Dangerously.) Among the 50 guests feasting on fish, chicken and champagne at a reception at trendy Pinot Bistro in the San Fernando alley: 90210 costars Jason Priestley (Brandon Walsh), James Eck-house (Jim Walsh) and Brian Austin Green (David Silver). Invited, but not present: 90210 executive producer Aaron Spelling, who was at home, celebrating his 25th anniversary with wife Candy and daughter Tori (90210’s Donna).
At about 10 p.m., the couple slipped out the back door (by then, the paparazzi had assembled out front) and into the limo. They then headed to the Los Angeles International Airport, the media in pursuit all the way, as the limo raced along at up to 80 mph. Once at their destination, they remained in the car until minutes before an 11:10 p.m. flight to San Francisco and a honeymoon at an undisclosed destination.
Thus ended the day that ended Perry’s reign as one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors. In the past the teen heartthrob had been a smooth operator who listed among his exes former soap actress Yasmine Bleeth (she was on Ryan’s Hope, he was on Loving) and among his admirers Madonna (they were cohosts of an AIDS benefit in 1992). The woman who finally won his heart “will be good for Luke,” Aaron Spelling told USA Today. “She’s not in show business. Her head is on really straight.-‘ Asked last year how they got together, Perry made no mention of mailed lingerie and said they had met in a restaurant. “It’s about that simple,” he declared.
For the past year the two have lived together (with his three Vietnamese potbellied pigs) in what he has described as his “old house on one acre” in the San Fernando Valley. She remained behind this summer when he went off to San Antonio to shoot Eight Seconds. The idea of having the woman who’d roped his heart watching him film difficult bronco-busting scenes was too much, he explained. “I want to be sure I ride every bull as well as I can. I don’t want to be thinking about something else.”
Commendably single-minded of him, but where does that leave the rest of American womanhood? Well, it may turn out that this was the right time for Perry, with 90210 rapidly maturing, to allow the public to see him behaving like a sensible grownup and slop thinking of him as a snake-hipped Beverly Hills boy with bedroom eyes. The days of mall mobbings, when a Perry appearance could produce a squealing sea of girls, are gone. “It is over,” says Stacey Fleck, an editor for teenage fanzines Bop and Big Bopper. “Luke still has his die-hard fans, and I’m sure some girls will go, ‘Oh, I can’t believe it!’ But they’re a little more jaded these days. They’ll also say, ‘Oh, perhaps he’ll get divorced.’ ”
Congratulations, Luke. Looks as if you’ve graduated.
CRAIG TOMASHOFF in Beverly Hills