Leonardo DiCaprio worked with Luke Perry on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Perry's final role before he died at age 52 after a massive stroke in March

By Jen Juneau
July 23, 2019 09:20 AM
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It’s hard to imagine Hollywood veteran Leonardo DiCaprio freezing up around anyone, but there was at least one exception in his professional life: Luke Perry.

The late Riverdale actor worked with DiCaprio, 44, on the set of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the ninth film by Quentin Tarantino that’s set to premiere this Friday.

“I grew up with him on [Beverly Hills] 90210, looking up to him as literally the coolest dude on Earth and honestly when I was on set, I was starstruck,” DiCaprio told Extra at the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Monday night.

“We got to sit down and chat. He couldn’t have been a more amazing human being,” he added of his late costar. “It’s a real tragic loss.”

Jack Perry sitting atop a billboard for dad Luke’s character in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
| Credit: Jack Perry/Instagram
Leonardo DiCaprio
| Credit: CraSH/imageSPACE/MediaPunch

This isn’t the first time DiCaprio has spoken out about Perry. Following the news of his death on March 4, the Titanic actor shared a touching tribute on social media in honor of the star.

“Luke Perry was a kindhearted and incredibly talented artist,” the Oscar winner’s tweet began. “It was an honor to be able to work with him. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his loved ones.”

Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty; JB Lacroix/WireImage

In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Perry plays Wayne Maunder, an actor who appeared as Scott Lancer in the TV show Lancer that ran on CBS from 1968 to 1970. It was his final film role before he died at age 52 after suffering a massive stroke in March.

During his chat with Extra, DiCaprio went on to refer to Perry as “the kindest, sweetest human being you could every encounter.”

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In May, both DiCaprio (who plays Rick Dalton, the former star of a western TV series) and Brad Pitt (who plays his longtime stunt double, Cliff Booth) raved about how over the moon they were to work with Perry on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is set in 1969 Los Angeles.

In an interview with Esquire, DiCaprio recalled having a “butterfly moment of like, ‘Oh my God, that’s Luke Perry over there!’ ” the first time he saw him on set — and Pitt, 55, agreed, saying, ” ‘That’s Luke f—ing Perry!’ We were like kids in the candy shop because I remember going to the studios and [Beverly Hills, 90210] was going on, and he was that icon of coolness for us as teenagers.”

“It was this strange burst of excitement that I had, to be able to act with him,” Pitt continued. “Man, he was so incredibly humble and amazing and absolutely committed. He couldn’t have been a more friendly, wonderful guy to spend time with. I got to sit down and have some wonderful conversations with him. It was really special.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens Friday in theaters nationwide.