Luke Perry, the TV icon and heartthrob who rose to fame on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” has died after suffering a massive stroke. Born and raised in Ohio, Perry was tapped for heartthrob status along with Jason Priestley on “Beverly Hills 90210,” which ran from 1990 to 2000.

Here is a story by Julia Keller that ran in the Columbus Dispatch on Nov. 8, 1990:

Luke Perry bears a brooding resemblance to James Dean, but if you tell him so, he just might sic Jerry Lee on your case.

Jerry Lee, by the way, is Perry’s pig.

No kidding. The oinks were audible during a recent phone interview with Perry, star of the Fox Network series Beverly Hills 90210.

And what this reporter assumed was just another attention-grabbing publicity stunt by a spoiled, self-obsessed TV star was revealed, by a series of grunts and squeals, to be an actual fact: Perry sleeps with a pet pig named Jerry Lee.

“He’s right here with me in bed,” Perry said.

No jokes, please, about bizarre Hollywood lifestyles, OK? Perry isn’t like that. He’s from Ohio, after all. Born and reared in Mansfield. And the bed reference wasn’t intended as a coy innuendo; Perry was nursing a bad cold.

“Hey, I think about Ohio a lot. I grew up watching WBNS,” he said, in between slurps on a cough drop. “I’d like to film something in Ohio. My career won’t have come full circle until I do.”

In Beverly Hills 90210, a drama about a Midwestern family that moves to the sunny paradise of southern California, Perry plays Dylan McKay. He’s a mysterious loner, a rich kid who surfs, reads poetry, tools around in a Porsche and picks fights with just about anybody.

Inexplicably, though, Dylan befriends Brandon (Jason Priestley), the new kid in town. Tonight’s episode includes some heavy-duty male bonding over surfboards and cheeseburgers.

Perry’s family moved from Mansfield to Fredericktown, Ohio, near Mount Vernon, when he was 12. He and his sister and brother grew up there. His father is a construction worker, and most of the family still lives in Ohio.

Perry, though, had other ideas. He left for Los Angeles right after high school, then on to New York for roles on Loving and Another World.

He returned to Los Angeles when he was cast in the feature films Terminal Bliss and Scorchers. Both are scheduled for release early next year.

And then Perry auditioned for Beverly Hills 90210, a show produced by the legendary Aaron Spelling. Spelling took a shine to Perry, and the phrase “James Dean look-alike” began to be bandied about.

But not within Perry’s hearing: “I hate that. I’ve heard that since I was 13 years old, even in school back on Ohio. James Dean is compelling on the screen. But who wants a career knowing you got somewhere because you look like somebody?”

Life for a struggling young actor can be tough, Perry acknowledged. “I don’t want to discourage anybody, but I also don’t want to paint a rosy picture.”

Before landing any major acting jobs, Perry paid the rent by working in a doorknob factory and for an asphalt paving company. His car was stolen. He contracted meningitis and almost died; his parents flew in from Ohio and urged him to come home.

Perry, though, had a dream. And he had friends supporting him: High school buddies Damon Henwood, Dave Stewart and Eric Lanese accompanied him to Los Angeles for a couple of years before moving back to Columbus, Perry said.

And don’t forget Jerry Lee, the porker who shares his pillow.

But can a small-town Ohio boy find happiness in the land of blue skies and black hearts?

Maybe so: Perry drives a 1981 Datsun pickup, wouldn’t be caught dead in a sports car, and talks like a down-to-earth person who does more thinking than primping.

“Money and fame will come and go. You have to know who you are and be true to that.”

Jerry Lee seemed to agree; Perry’s remark was seconded by a cheerful snort in the background.